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Entering 2015, about 2 billion people on earth have smartphones, but we’re on our way to a day when 3.5 – 4 billion people have these devices.

Mobile is the first platform to allow companies to serve the whole world. On the back of this mobile revolution, we see companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Kabam rocketing to multibillion-dollar valuations.

That’s why we’re inviting 180 executives to gather at Cavallo Point, the picturesque resort just north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, for our Mobile Summit on February 23 & 24. New technologies, standards and metrics are converging to help the largest brand-name companies also make bigger investments in mobile so that they won’t lose out on this bonanza. Still, challenges loom across significant areas of the mobile economy, and they could hold companies back.

At the Mobile Summit, we’re inviting leading mobile executives of some of the biggest companies to discuss these topics, which include mobile retail, targeting, multi-channel strategies, advertising tech, analytics dashboards, and programmatic and brand advertising.

We have high level speakers and attendees confirmed from platform companies like Facebook and Google, digital agencies, as well as brands like Office Depot, Visa, Farmer’s Insurance, Kabam, Intel, Hilton, Clorox, Expedia, and Salesforce.

This year’s Summit theme can be summarized as the “Customer Journey.” We’ll feature compelling cases of how smart companies grow by engaging their customers on their phones through one or multiple points of their overall buying journey — from discovery to interest, purchase, loyalty, and advocacy.

We’ll address how, despite the exponential growth of smartphones, many large companies still aren’t making significant increases in their mobile investments year-over-year. Mobile represents only five percent of brands’ total advertising budget, according to Forrester. One reason is because, until now, it’s been hard for companies to track the effectiveness of advertising on mobile. Once you show a mobile ad to someone, how do you know the ad led to a purchase down the line?

Gaming companies have led the charge on mobile, because they’re advertising online games, and attribution tracking from digital ad to digital buy is more straightforward.

Advances in advertising technology, however, could let mobile begin to close the loop on attribution for other areas too — including for offline retailers. But even if gaps remain there, mobile brings other benefits — of personal identification, location awareness, enhanced targeting based on demographics and other
behavioral information, and the ability to push ads within apps as they run, making the likelihood of a successful conversion higher for many advertisers, investment bank Woodside Capital Partners notes in a report. That’s why mobile advertising is seeing the strongest growth in digital advertising.

Eventually, though, the bank says, solving the attribution problem is the “Holy Grail” opportunity. It continues:

Modern cloud and mobile technologies are enabling the ability to tie households to specific devices, track offers and acknowledgements, and finally, via integration with POS systems and data from firms such as Nielsen Catalina, to tie directly back to household purchases. While today there are services that can offer this closed loop for online purchasing (representing less than 6% of consumer commerce), we are in the early innings of tying together all of the required disparate databases necessary to close the loop from a mobile ad impression to a brick and mortar purchase.

In recent months, we’ve seen bigger companies scramble to increase their leverage in the attribution game. Last month, Oracle acquired Datalogix, in what was clearly an attempt to bolster its ownership of data about what ads are successful on Facebook — which has the largest mobile app — and other social networks.

Meanwhile, Yahoo acquired video advertising company Brightroll for $640 million in November, at a time when video advertising is poised to explode on mobile. Sophisticated mobile targeting and measurement has finally arrived, allowing advertisers to target and measure on mobile in the same ways they have on desktop devices, says Brightroll’s founder Tod Sacerdoti:

Significant progress on device ID mapping will enable cross-screen targeting and measurement, while more precise geo-targeting capabilities will also emerge. These advances will generate more premium inventory, causing average mobile video CPMs to rise. … By the end of 2015, there’s a real possibility that advertisers will spend more on mobile video ads than desktop.

All the signs suggest this year will be another huge year in mobile, which is why I’m looking forward to the thought-leadership conversations at this year’s Mobile Summit. While the event is invite-only, and seats are extremely limited, we’ve reserved a few seats to consider outside applicants. Apply for a seat today!

 

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