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Wearables are talk of the show at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress

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March 3, 2015

Mobile World Congress day 1

Mobile World Congress day 1

By Stephen Upstone

BARCELONA, Spain – So here we are once again, in the heart of bustling Barcelona. The attendees say it is hot, the locals say it is cold, and judging by the absence of sunbathers on the Barceloneta, they are probably right.

But there are definitely hot stories emanating from Mobile World Congress this year. Everyone loves a good smartphone launch and with Samsung’s recent sales slump, all eyes are on the S6 Edge. Also, wearables are massive – or, rather, they are classic and stylish now. From my mobile advertising tech perspective, I see huge opportunities in both areas.

Native video mobile ads will love Samsung’s S6
First up, Samsung. The S5’s introduction did little to change its failing fortunes as, in an effort to jump-start new revenue, Samsung stuffed the S5 with features, leaving a confused marketplace unsure of where the real stories lay.

This year Samsung’s marketing communications are as sharp as its screens, with a definite focus on the S6’s new display. It has a wonderful clarity, with an innovative curve that wraps around the edges, and which can be used for notifications.

Stephen Upstone is founder/CEO of LoopMe

Stephen Upstone is founder/CEO of LoopMe

If we accept that mobile display advertising drives a large chunk of the mobile ecosystem, then such beautiful, smooth, high-definition, ultra-bright displays have a big part to play in its future. They can only help mobile publishers to integrate the most compelling, engaging ad formats such as native video into their in-application inventory.

And, far from damaging the user experience, these native formats can actually improve it as they readily slot alongside the content.

Meanwhile, these amazing screens will also make users more apt to engage, pushing up click-through rates and benefiting advertisers.

Mobile programmatic delivery will love wearables
The other story is a big hit from small devices.

You cannot move for bumping into a wearable tech stand from the likes of Garmin, GoPro, Fitbit, LG and Huawei, to name just the few I have seen so far.

In the main, they are saying the same thing: wearable tech does not belong on your face – its natural home is on your wrist, from where you can monitor your mobile world and, in most cases, your health and fitness, too. They span the extremes from robust and functional wearables, such as the HTC Grip, produced in a partnership with Under Armour, through to elegant classics such as LG’s Urbane and Huawei’s particularly svelte “Watch.” I covet this, and I just wish I knew how much it is going to cost and when it will become available.

Wearable and connected devices get me excited because they are the ultimate expression of mobile, even more so than phones. This mobility brings into sharp relief the benefits afforded by the huge, rich data sets available to mobile advertising.

MOBILE AD DATA takes over where desktop ends, enabling big brand advertising to travel wherever the user goes. It incorporates data unique to mobile, such as geolocation and specialist datasets including local weather, all of which can be brought together through programmatic buying, artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve targeting. And you thought smartwatches were smart.

Truly, as mobile grows, so do the possibilities and potential for mobile advertising.

Right, time for a quick dip – watch the webcams

Stephen Upstone is founder/CEO of LoopMe, London. He is filing reports for this publication from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

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