Why Mobile and Consumers Are the Focal Points of This Year’s NewFronts

Tracking user habits will connect brands with their audience on a deeper level

Innovative, interactive content is here, and many users are accessing it through mobile. Getty Images
Headshot of John DeVine

This year’s NewFronts are making some big changes, including a planned stop on the West Coast, but the biggest change impacting digital content creators and advertisers this year will be the consumer.

The way we watch has transformed, and consumer expectations are higher than ever. It’s time to put the viewer at the center of not just the video experience, but the ad experience as well. That’s why mobile will be at the forefront, new video formats will rise and the trusted relationship between consumers and brands will be paramount at the 2018 NewFronts.

Mobile provides a new way of tuning in

Whether it’s sports, entertainment or news, there’s no denying that mobile devices have completely captivated consumer attention. Traditional TV viewing is on the decline while consumers are increasingly on mobile and other devices watching videos. The proof is in the numbers: Consumers now spend an unprecedented amount of time on their smartphones—more than five hours a day.

It’s time to put the viewer at the center of not just the video experience, but the ad experience as well.

Driving this incredible usage is the widespread availability of high-quality digital video. In fact, video consumption on mobile is growing at a faster rate than on a desktop/laptop. One of our recent studies found 88 percent growth year over year in time spent watching videos on a smartphone. As lines between TV and digital continue to blur, we’re going to see advertisers and brands follow suit with engaging content that reaches the new multi-screen viewer.

Better content equals heightened expectations

Because they’re glued to their devices, consumers have even higher expectations for content on mobile, whether it’s a seamless livestream of an NFL game or on-demand viewing of need-to-know news.

And these expectations for quality don’t just stop with content consumption—consumers are holding advertisers to a higher standard as well. Ads must be relevant and customized yet unobtrusive, complementing the consumer’s experience and not interrupting the moment. Today the goal for brands is more focused on enhancing the viewing experience and providing consumers with a new kind of utility from their phones.

Transformative new ad formats

These heightened expectations for quality content and experiences that put the user first have ushered in a new frontier of ad formats. Those that work well for users and deliver an exceptional experience will, in turn, deliver for brand marketers.

Last year there was much talk about the potential impact of mobile and consumer-first formats like augmented reality, virtual reality and 360-degree video. This year, the era of innovative, interactive content has arrived. Forward-thinking brands like The Home Depot and Pottery Barn are leading the pack by putting AR technology to work in their latest campaigns and bringing their in-store experience to shoppers’ mobile devices and living rooms. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s also about testing shorter video ad lengths and full-screen vertical video on mobile devices.

These immersive advertising experiences perform exceptionally well with consumers and deliver big for advertisers, too. Brand builders are taking notice. With this future-forward content more accessible than ever, expect even more brands to leverage innovative ads in the year ahead to transform the world around you into an exceptional brand content experience.

Brands matter, trust matters

These industry leaps and innovations are juxtaposed with issues of brand trust and safety that are top-of-mind for every marketer. A brand-safe environment matters, but authenticity is critical, too. We’ve pioneered an incredible amount of technology in recent years that has completely metamorphosed digital advertising.

Today, brands know that in order to create a trusted consumer experience, their ads must appear next to content that matches the brand and their consumer’s values.The key now is to go beyond just creating a relevant ad experience for consumers and for marketers to ensure that the content created is representative of their values and customers.

My advice for what marketers should keep top-of-mind throughout the 2018 NewFronts? The consumer. Today’s consumer is rapidly evolving, and it’s paramount for marketers to keep a pulse on consumption habits in order to create meaningful brand experiences.

Brands, publishers and platforms that are consumer-trusted and mobile-capable will flourish in this new digital ecosystem. The future is built on mobile with the consumer at the wheel.


John DeVine is chief revenue officer at Oath.
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