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This is going to be a disruptive year for many of the major players in the advertising game.

As we close out January, I’m finally taking a breath to collect my thoughts on the trends and forecasts for 2018 that will impact the mobile advertising industry. Many of these predictions are not big stretches, but I do think they will be continuous themes throughout the year that will dominate the conversations.


GDPR is already a hot topic this year and it’s not limited to Europe. I think that it will also be a wake-up call for many people in the US. If you haven’t read up on this yet, check out these in-depth recaps:

2. Transparency

Transparency will continue to be both a popular buzzword and a necessary reality throughout 2018. Advertisers deserve to know where their dollars are being spent, and publishers want to work with partners that they trust, know and authorize to sell their inventory. I like that way that our CEO, Ragnar Kruse, said it in ExchangeWire’s 2018 viewability predictions forecast: “Viewability will provide a key trust signal to marketers”.

3. Rising eCPMs

Mobile will continue to grow and expand this year as users spend more time in their favorite apps and browsers on all of their mobile devices. In fact, in 2018, time spent in-app will increase by ten minutes per day among smartphone users in the US. As consumers continuously shift their media time to apps, advertisers will likely need to increase their valuation of apps as an advertising medium, which will result in rising eCPMs. According to a recent projection by Goodway Group, mobile eCPMs will rise nearly 4% month over month throughout 2018!

4. Cookie Tracking Disruption

Much like GDPR, Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), ad blockers and initiatives like the “Coalition for Better Ads” will continue to disrupt cookie tracking technology and force advertisers and agencies to rethink how they execute programmatic campaigns. This already began to impact advertisers in Q4 2017, after the rumblings of ITP started back in September  — for example, in Digiday’s article on Apple’s anti-tracking moves.

5. Mobile Video Advertising

Anything that is clean, mobile and video will have all of the necessary ingredients for advertising success in 2018. Okay, I know this one is even lower-hanging fruit than the others, but it bears repeating. Video is in high demand, and consumers’ mobile video consumption will continue to outpace the rest of the market. Over the past year alone, the volume of mobile video ad requests to the Smaato platform increased by over 14X — a remarkable level of growth of which advertisers need to be taking advantage.

My predictions may be a bit biased given that I work at a great mobile SSP that specializes in mobile apps. And while it’s anyone’s guess if 2018 will truly be “the year of the app,” I am certainly happy that here at Smaato we foster direct relationships with our publishers, invest in video growth and deliver quality inventory with precision campaign targeting that doesn’t rely on a cookie.

(Originally posted on the Smaato Blog, January 31, 2018)