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2019 Mobile Data Monetization Trends: Growing Value of Enterprise Data for In-App Advertising

Matt Kaplan
Content Strategist
5 min read
Posted on December 17, 2018

Of all of the mobile data monetization trends likely to take off in 2019, none will be as transformative to every business function as the growing value of all data collected. In the new year, all viable business models will hinge on the rising revenue opportunity presented by all data types. This is especially the case in advertising, with brands increasingly pushing forward data-led mobile app campaigns.

Brands: if you don’t take a smarter approach to data usage and data management, then your advertising campaigns are going to fall flat in 2019. Considering less than 10 percent of companies monetize their data completely effectively, a lot of businesses may be looking at failed efforts and wasted spend in the new year - unless they change their approach to data, of course.

Note: This is the fourth in our series on top trends for 2019. Our first post was on transparency, the second predictions post focused on OTT and our third post talked about in-app header bidding. Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts all about what leading figures in the mobile advertising and marketing space think will become pervasive in the new year.

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The Growing Global Data Monetization Market

In 2017, The Economist now famously proclaimed that the “world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” Huge firms like Facebook and Amazon use data to fuel their growth, most notably using data collection and analysis to better understand and further optimize the customer experience.

Even older, pre-digital businesses like Siemens and General Electric (to name just a few) now have at least one steady revenue stream coming in from data. For example, AT&T’s 2018 acquisition of AppNexus (and newly created advertising branch Xandr) shows how it is moving beyond traditional telco offerings.

To what extent is data affecting all businesses across economic sectors? Chris Sharp, CTO and Executive Vice President of Service Innovation at Digital Realty, cited in Forbes, more than “4 percent of all jobs in the U.S., along with over 5 percent of national output, come from the contribution that data makes to the economy.”

And yet, considering that an estimated 90 percent of the world’s data is only around two years old, this may be just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In a world where “big data” has gone from being a buzzword to becoming an industry norm - truly a given in most business - data has become increasingly central to every business venture. This trend shows no sign of slowing down in 2019 either.

Increasing Market Growth from Mobile, IoT and AI

So where is this data coming from? Increasingly, it’s coming from these two sources:

  • Mobile data is growing in importance, especially among advertisers. Mobile operators know this, which is why deals like InMobi’s recent acquisition of Pinsight Media may well be a harbinger of changes to come in that industry. For today’s telcos, their data is by far their most valuable asset.
  • As the Internet of Things (IoT) explodes and millions of new connected endpoints are coming online, new applications will emerge to mine these data sources. The use cases are endless - from data on on everything from what people put in their refrigerators to when they drive their car to work. With data pouring in from billions of newly connected endpoints, businesses in any industry now have brand new sources of potential insights to mine.

Much of this data growth is coming on the heels of further investment in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), like how Sky used its vast telco data reserves to power an AI initiative that boosted sales among existing customers by over 50 percent.

We’ll leave further details on AI and ML to another upcoming 2019 trends blog post, as we believe AI and ML are a huge, rising trend in their own right.

The Role of Customer Data in Advertising

Who is monetizing the data to greater degrees? While this trend is prevalent in just about every possible business venture today, it’s especially prevalent in advertising and marketing.

“When you know the time, place and devices people are using to consume your ads, you can make data-backed decisions to optimize on the fly and improve future campaigns,” says Kedar Gavane, VP of India, Australia and New Zealand for ComScore.

The velocity at which advertisers and marketers gain data from mobile devices is staggering in its own right as well. In close to real time, brands gain unique insights on where their target customers are located, what they are interested in and how they spend their time - all over any potential forecast period too.

Downsides to Mobile Data Monetization?

Of course, all is not rosy on the data monetization front. Increasingly, many people are concerned about how data - including personally identifiable data like dates of birth and Social Security numbers, among other examples - on them is used by companies for their gain. As a result, governments have stepped in with regulation - recent examples include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the state-level California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

“I expect that consumers will continue to demand more transparency and control over adtech use of their data,” eMarketer analyst Yory Wurmser said. “Many U.S. companies already have adopted much more transparent data policies and easier opt-outs in response to the requirements of GDPR. Companies that move slowly in creating clear opt-outs and that are opaque with their data policies will run into problems. Industry-wide, I expect more regulations (CCPA is next up), but in the long-run, it will be good for the ad industry and will force them to provide more clear value for their data use, either by providing direct incentives for data, or by making data-sharing transparently worthwhile for consumers.”

This has caused companies - especially mobile in-app advertisers and their partners - to rethink how they use data and where it’s coming from. In the past, many businesses were open to obtaining data from a wide variety of sources, including various third parties. But, that attitude is already shifting.

“The move away from third party data standard segments will continue,” predicts Anne Frisbie, senior vice president of global programmatic and North America at InMobi. “Clients will increase their use of their own first party data, and leverage third party high quality data sources to create more custom audience segments to ensure that they are seeing the return on investment in terms of data.”

Calculating the Growing Value of Data

In the realms of advertising and marketing, data has become increasingly critical. Today’s campaigns cannot run effectively without it, and this will be further apparent in 2019. Next year, expect advertisers and marketers - and end users and governments - to place an even higher premium on data.

Do you see data as being a key 2019 trend, or do you think it’s already arrived? How will data usage and attitudes around data optimization change in the new year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or on social media.

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