For years, digital soothsayers have predicted the second screen – mobile – would become the primary screen. And last year it finally happened. Time spent on mobile overtook PC, accounting for more than two hours each day. What’s more, mobile will become the main point of internet access for Generation Z within two years.

The stats are adding up to one conclusion: the mobile takeover is here and advertisers need to take action now, or risk getting swept up by the tide. In 2016, there are three core areas that providers must perfect to ensure they’re ready to go mobile-first:

Balancing automation with personalisation

Programmatic has transformed the digital advertising landscape and mobile adoption is set to soar – rising to 56% of programmatic ad spend. But while advertising technology and automation offers advertisers greater reach and speed, it can result in a negative experience if ads are not delivered in the right format. Creative must therefore be ideally matched to every device to ensure maximum relevance and impact.

Advertisers do not need to spend hours building multiple creative formats. Ad tech development continues apace, and providers such as wayve now offer platforms that can adapt ad formats for any device in minutes. By using creative platforms to ensure relevance, advertisers can harness the efficiency of programmatic without losing the interest of the mobile audience.

Making the most of mobile apps

If advertisers want to reach consumers at their most engaged, apps are the place. Consumers spend 85% of their time on smartphones within apps, which makes them a prime space to gain exposure and boost brand awareness. While many brands are yet to realise the monetisation potential of their apps, more will open up their platforms to advertisers as the opportunity to drive revenue increases.

For example, Snapchat recently announced its plans to offer an API that will accommodate a wider range of ad formats – boosting advertising appeal and profit margins. The market may be nascent, but advertisers that begin building in-app presence now, will be ahead of the curve before the competition heats up. 

Achieving cross-device attribution

As UK mobile ad spend skyrockets to over $7 billion, it will be more important than ever to measure the exact impact of ad campaigns. The difficultly of cross-device attribution was a key priority last year, with the ad tech world abandoning the cookie due to its inability to track users effectively within apps and on the mobile web.

In 2016, the need to trace the success of digital ads will spur the industry on to develop better standards of digital measurement that translate across devices. Advertisers should also be careful to choose publishers that can offer detailed campaign analysis options where the impact on every device is made clear.

The long-awaited mobile takeover may have only just arrived, but the pace of change is rapid in adland. To stay ahead of the game, advertisers must start adapting their digital strategy to be mobile-first. By developing their creative dexterity, optimising in-app presence and fine tuning-cross-device attribution, advertisers can ensure they are prepared before the tide hits in full force.