It is obvious that the mobile environment is changing the way we do almost everything: shopping, banking and even communicating are now often performed through the prism of that little screen in our pockets.


Advertising is, naturally, no different. Mobile is fundamentally shifting previously static forms of media in ways that are exciting and full of potential.


The most conspicuous changes are in terms of ad content. Whatever the original format/s in an advertising campaign, whether digital or not, content is (or at least should be) designed to at some point pass through the mobile nexus. The content should be, in creative terms, as shareable as possible. It has become the case that mobile is a part of media plans whether it is included as a primary format or not.


There are, however, bigger changes happening beneath the surface.


One that stands out is the opt-in location panel used by organisations like Placed. With Placed users give permission for a constantly working background app to track their location. Incentives are offered to the user and their information is kept anonymous, and Placed get to play with the data secured.


By tracking continuously. the data shows where out of home ads have been passed or where clustering has occurred (a visit to a retail outlet for example). It also allows the company to make far more scientific inferences on the efficacy of out of home. Previously, not all of our digital actions could be measured by click throughs and not all of our real world actions can be easily attributed to any specific out of home ad. This location driven data, however, provides exactly this kind of insight. It quantifies the impact of out of home campaigns and ties (digital or physical) ad exposure to offline behaviour.


There are privacy issues that may make this a harder sell in Europe than in the US, but the fact remains that areas like this represent a tectonic shift in the way the ad world operates across formats. Mobile is fundamentally changing the ad world, it is just doing it out of view.


By Oliver Brown