Tangredi’s Top Ten Takeaways from Mobile World Congress

by Mari Tangredi, SVP of Partnerships and Alliances, 4INFO 5G, advertising, identity, mobile, "mobile world congress", privacy, trends
Tangredi’s Top Ten Takeaways from Mobile World Congress

As you know, Mobile World Congress is THE big event in mobile, attended by top brands, various mobile organizations, mobile operators, major inventory partners, and all manner of industries touched by the mobile market. So if you missed this year’s Barcelona event, then don’t miss my top 10 takeaways! 

#1 All Things Mobile

The show has changed its focus from operators to include all things mobile, including IoT, Robots, Self-driving cars, Virtual Reality, etc.    

#2 Monetizing Data Assets

A hot topic was how mobile carriers are looking into monetizing their data assets while balancing privacy with that monetization.  Two compelling discussion on the topic occurred at Neustar — 
• How mobile identity is no longer just the property of the carrier,  visible in many mobile apps (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) now asking for your phone number as a secondary authentication mechanism 
• Who is the more trusted party to protect your privacy: the carrier or the Mobile App ecosystem

#3 Privacy Clash With Cookies 

The fact that the event was held in Spain demonstrated one of the challenges of cookie tracking when faced with strict privacy requirements. Every single site I surfed at the event popped up a warning: “This site uses cookies as described in our Cookie Policy. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, if you agree to our use of cookies, please continue to use our site.”

Similarly, the cookie was called on the carpet for its weaknesses compared to other methods in cross-device identification. The general assumption is that 2017 will be the year of deterministic and similar methodologies. 

#4 Capturing a Common ID is Key!

One recurring theme of discussions and presentations was how the holy grail is to achieve a common identity across all communications, including web/mobile, IoT and communications. 

#5 No Longer Where It’s App, Man!

Where’s the action? For mobile device users, is it the Mobile Web or Mobile App?  Being a European-based show, the belief is that the tide is turning to end users spending more time on Mobile Web rather than In-App, due mainly to App churn and clutter, plus improvements in mobile web interfaces.

#6 Walled Gardens Assumptions

Assumptions presented regarding the competitive world of Walled Gardens:
• Amazon, with its hands in so many different pies, is easily the biggest threat to Walled Gardens.
• Amazon remains by far Google’s biggest threat.
• We will see Facebook take on Google in Search.
• SNAP will impact Facebook the most, but must figure out measurement to prove effectiveness of their ad platform for investors. 

#7: Words of WPP

Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP was possibly the most engaging speaker of the week. Takeaways:
• WPP is seeing 40 percent of revenues now coming from Digital.
• To keep growing in Digital, they’ll improve in Measurement, Brand Safety/Protection and Viewability.
• One of the biggest priorities of big brands they work with is media investment, and thus there’s an imperative to ensure ROAS.
• Trends in disruption: Expect further Tech Disruption (eg: Uber and Airbnb), zero-based budgeting and activist investors. All impact the digital arena.

#8: Global Mobile Video Viewing Burgeoning

Global mobile video viewing is growing significantly. Q3 2016 showed more video views on mobile devices than on any other, passing 50 percent share for the first time. And longer-form content (video over five minutes in length) now makes up 48 percent of all viewing on smartphones — more than double last year!

#9 Timing on the Shift to 5G

The talk of 5G by network operators is all about planning for 2020. Expect a solid three more years of 4G. 

#10 Quote of the Week

Analyst Robert Strickland delivered a memorable statement on mobile, that “Where you go is who you are.”  While memorable, and eye-catching, we respectfully disagree.  We would say that, even more significant to mobile ad targeting is, “What you buy is who you are.” Because better than identifying an audience by a history of where they go (which requires a certain measure of inferring or guesswork of who they are) is to actually map a device to a real person, and then use data to know exactly who they are and how they think, spend and act. That truth is at the heart of our phenomenal growth in customers at 4INFO.

Footnote: Look for the launch of MWC Americas this September in San Francisco! It is expected to be about a third of the size of their main stage event.