Image: Multi-Generation Indian Family With Digital Tablet

Every year, mobile advertising is evolving and adapting to the changes in audience attitudes and behaviours. There is proof that the classic banner ad is fading. Big publishers like The New York Times recently announcing its plans to rid themselves of banner ads favouring a proprietary format that will look more natural across their site. With this in mind maybe it’s time to look forward to the future to what could possibly be the next big thing in mobile advertising.

Most of these formats have in some way already found their way to users’ mobile devices or to the user by other means. What they have in common is they are all in their infancy, and with improved technology and time, they could end up being as iconic to mobile advertising as the banner ad.

Virtual Reality

2016 has seen virtual reality move on from years of prototypes and demos into a fully fledged consumer product. There are high-end, high-priced headsets such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR which need a powerful PC or PlayStation4 to run successfully. And there is the smaller, more affordable Google Daydream View and Samsung Gear, that just require a smartphone device slipped into the headset. Audiences are warming up to the idea of playing, watching and exploring in VR and advertisers have already started to notice. Brands such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Volvo have started to test out VR campaigns.

With VR headsets becoming more popular and more affordable, providing a unique experience for every single user, more and more brands will attempt to utilise the format in years to come.

Augmented Reality

Unlike Virtual Reality, which places you into another world or location via the headset, Augmented Reality places the action in the world around you at that moment. You could point your phone’s camera at a coffee table and suddenly the table comes alive. Or in the advertising world, you could point the camera at a brands logo, or a specific billboard and it’ll prompt a 3D ad to play in the space around you. Brands have already started to use this format. Starbucks, Nivea and Becks have all used AR to promote their brand.

As almost every smartphone now has a camera, we can expect AR to become an increasingly common marketing strategy for brands in the coming years.

Chat-Based Marketing

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other chat apps are among the biggest apps in the world. WhatsApp gets around 1 billion monthly users around the world. Facebook Messenger also boasts around 800 million monthly users.


The use of chatbots to interact with users is becoming an increasingly popular trend in mobile advertising. Brands like Barbie have created a chatbot that can interact, giving the impression you are talking to Barbie. Über has made it possible to hail a taxi from within the Facebook messenger app. It allows brands to be able to communicate with audiences directly, allowing a more personal, intimate user experience.

Mobile Gaming

Google have recently announced their new type of ad format, they call it Trial Run Ads. Effectively, you get to play a mobile game for a limited time before it locks out unless you make a purchase. Obviously, this format only works with mobile games, but it’s become a popular format and it could pave the way for other game-related ad formats in the future.

In-Store Beacons

Retailers are starting to experiment with ‘beacons’ that locate and target ads at people within the store, usually with offers or promotions. Coca Cola used this technology for a promotion that ran in Norway, which saw customers offered a free Coke promotion as they walked into a Cinema chain. Those who took up the offer had to consent that their data was then stored anonymously to be used for potential later campaigns.

There are lots of new exciting formats, technologies and advances in the world of mobile advertising. As the cost of developing and releasing this technology decreases, the chance one or more of these formats becomes an every day staple for mobile use and mobile advertising is growing.

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Author Daniel

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