How to beat the blockers in this new age of mobile

Daniel Joseph, The App Business
Daniel Joseph, The App Business

Personal, always on and with payment just a tap away, today's most creative and effective advertising opportunities can be found in mobile apps - and yet one of the biggest mistakes many brands make is to treat mobile merely as another digital advertising channel.

Part of the problem is a "one-size-fits-all" approach when it comes to mobile. In most apps, advertising is integrated in the same way as it is on the web. This generic approach can detrimentally affect the user experience.

And, while ad-blocking hasn’t yet proven to be a major issue (ads are increasingly native or within Facebook, and so not block-able, and most mobile traffic is over Wi-Fi), it is clear that users are getting frustrated.

As a result, there is an increasing expectation for products to be ad-free – or at least to have this option.

Ultimately, though, there is a much bigger shift occurring in the way companies advertise products and services via mobile. The smartest brands understand that we have moved beyond app placement and targeted ads. 

Mobile is enabling innovators to create better ways to help customers fulfil their needs, right in the situation that they are in – and this creates powerful advertising opportunities, competitive advantage and benefits to the bottom line. These disruptors understand that innovation, and revenue growth, is happening where the line blurs between what is advertising and simply a more useful service for your customers.

Effective advertising on mobile needs to enhance, and not detract from, the user experience. Think about Citymapper and that handy Uber icon that appears on the journey search results – great for users, and a great example of actionable, integrated advertising for Uber. 

Today, more and more, it is the app itself that is the product – or a key interface to a service – that the business is selling. Consider the "Uberisation" of services – from odd jobs and laundry, to food delivery, car maintenance, money management… you name it.

The tour operator TUI sends a mobile travel checklist to its customers as soon as they check in. The list is tailored to a user’s personal profile and destination. When they pack their bag, customers can tick off the list, or order items to collect at the airport.

What matters most – today and in the future – is whose services are integrated into which interfaces. Driving this is a rapidly expanding marketplace of application programming interfaces, or APIs, that enable one service to link with another – as Citymapper does with Uber.

This emerging landscape is the new frontier of advertising on mobile. So get ready to join the API economy – or risk getting left behind.

Daniel Joseph is the strategy director and founder of The App Business

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