Zac Pinkham
Zac Pinkham 10 August 2015
Categories Advertising, Mobile

Three Decades Of Development Has Put Mobile At The Heart Of Everything

Mobile phones are now at the centre of everyone's digital lives, what will the next few years bring?

In the 30 years since mobile phones became a mass market phenomenon they’ve moved from being voice communication devices in the palms of users’ hands to being at the centre of everyone’s digital lives. I believe that in the next 30 years, as usage of mobile technology continues to rocket and what can be achieved becomes less about the core phone functionality, these devices will be rebranded from a smartphone to a name that recognises mobile’s central role as a hub for all our lives.


If you consider how mobile phones have developed in the last thirty years, cast your mind back to 1985. The screen you spent most time engaging with then was your television at home. That made it the predominant channel for advertisers to reach you and traditional advertising relied on acquiring prime spots in the middle of the most popular shows to achieve reach and response among large, yet unknown audiences.

Ten years later, though, the picture began to change. Users now spent most of their day with a desktop PC at the office and the internet soon began to creep into the home. A further ten years on, the internet had matured along with more responsive PCs and laptops and advertising became well-established online. Online, advertisers were able to target users more accurately with more specific campaigns.

Finally we come to now and users’ attention at both work and at home is dominated by mobile. Yet advertising in the mobile world is relatively new. Mobile is a medium that only became mass market for advertisers in 2008 with the launch of app stores. Mobile’s ascent over the last seven years – never mind the last 30 – has been truly remarkable.

Better Mobile Experiences

Mobile is still the new kid on the block. But while it fought to have a presence on media plans in the beginning, in the last 18 months the industry has turned a corner.

This change is being driven by proliferation – smartphone penetration will hit 2.89 billion globally by 2017 according to the GSMA – and by usage – many reports estimate that consumers now look at their mobile screens up to 220 times a day.

As a result, brands are no longer asking ’why?’ but ’how?’ when it comes to mobile.

Mobile At The Heart Of Connectivity

In the next few years, we’ll see technology moving into the background as it gets embedded into products we already own. For example, soon we’ll see fabrics that can react to electric charge to change colour, enabling wearers to control light patterns to match other elements in their outfit or colours in the surrounding environment. It would be relatively easy to make part of this fabric a screen when required.

The wearable itself isn’t necessarily where ads will be displayed but the data that will come from wearables will prove to be most valuable. For example, consumers may not carry their mobile on a run, or wear it in bed, but with wearable and smart clothes, brands will be able to acquire and use the data generated.

This increased connectivity between the different parts of our lives, with mobile at its core, will start to give brands a much more holistic view of their audience. It will mean we no longer target consumers by buying ’off-the-shelf’ audiences, but that every brand audience will be fully bespoke.

Find out more on the future of Technology at our DLUK - Trends Briefing on the 24th September 2015

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