It's hard to believe that 2018 is already here— dust off those resolutions and get ready for what's in store! Last year proved to be a big one for mobile: most ad spending growth worldwide was driven by mobile; Alibaba's Singles' Day saw roughly 1.5 billion payments processed through Alipay, 90% of which were through smartphones; Cyber Monday saw record sales on mobile, reaching $2 billion for the day and dominating over desktop for the first time; and one study even found that consumers spend five hours per day on their smartphones. You get the gist...

As we dive into the new year, we wanted to take a fresh look at the mobile space and what to expect. So, who better to ask than our partners and friends in the industry that are on the frontlines everyday? From travel to digital media, marketing to mobile retail, we chatted with a few experts in various industries to gather their insights and expertise on what we'll see in 2018.


Today's travel industry has been— and will continue to be— influenced by mobile devices. In fact, eMarketer forecasts that mobile will account for almost $110 billion in travel spend by 2021, representing nearly half of all digital travel sales. Whether it's the growing list of on-demand services, better booking experiences, or go-to apps for discovering the latest and greatest, mobile has proven to have a heavy hand in how we travel. So what changes will this year bring?

Simon Lejeune, Head of User Acquisition at Hopper, expects users to shift their behavior when it comes to booking travel:

"So far, the travel industry has viewed mobile as a channel for the top of the funnel. The common saying is that users browse and discover on mobile but end up booking on their laptop where they're more comfortable with forms and credit cards. I think the opposite is happening and we'll see this trend grow in 2018: users start searching on laptops then book on mobile where it's actually faster, more convenient and safer."

Adam Miller, Mobile Marketing & Analytics at Turo, sees language barriers being broken down thanks to mobile:

"With respect to travel and transportation trends, I'm most excited to see translation services take center stage, especially as it relates to the sharing economy. With native mobile and in-app messaging being as ubiquitous as it is, we have a real opportunity to make any language barrier between two parties completely disappear."


Beyond the travel industry, it's no secret that mobile shopping is skyrocketing— and with no real end in sight. Companies have taken note, making it even easier for consumers shop on their mobile devices, but what services will make a real difference?

Bryan Leach, Founder and CEO of Ibotta, sees increased adoption of technology influencing the consumers' point-of-purchase:

"Mobile payments will continue to be an interesting space to watch in 2018. While consumer adoption remains relatively low (just 29% of US shoppers made in-store payments with a mobile device in 2017), the use of mobile payments is up nearly 50% from 2016, according to Deloitte's 2017 annual consumer Internet use survey. Challenges to greater adoption include security concerns, point of sale hardware, and providing an experience that actually improves how consumer swipe or dip their credit card."


Mobile payments aren't the only influence to the way brands interact with users, especially as consumers have become smarter and more sensitive to their overall experience. Traditional strategies to drive spending and acquisition aren't converting; in fact, in a recent report with App Annie we found that 64% of consumers "never" or "rarely" intentionally click on a mobile ad. And apps are leading the charge over mobile web, so how will companies take advantage?

At retail giant Groupon, Ruairi Fitzpatrick, Head of Media Marketing International, expects a shift in approach and focus by advertisers:

"I personally feel the two strongest trends to develop in 2018 will be (1) a continued focus on personalization and (2) driving customers into an app experience. On the personalization front— whether using localization data or push notifications, etc— expect advertisers to tailor their advertising at an even more granular level, treating shoppers as individuals to drive conversion. CLTV trends on mobile/app are more encouraging compared to desktop, which is why the move to being a mobile-first company is so important. A big part of the conversion story is the experience, so driving downloads & activations in-app will also be a key focus of most ecommerce companies in 2018. If you believe that people look at their phones 70 to 150 times per day, apps can play a huge part in helping to drive frequency with consumers."

Aaron Weigum, Associate Director of Affiliates & Partnerships at &, sees non-traditional revenue streams taking precedence:

"Providing value to the end user is the way forward for all forms of digital media, but particularly on mobile where traditional ad units are even more invasive, annoying, and where engagement with ads can often be unintentional. In 2018, our team foresees more publishers and advertisers moving towards non-traditional revenue streams focused on delivering a better experience to the customer, rooted in concepts like content, commerce, and convenience rather than just advertising, as evidenced by our recent partnership with Buzzfeed's Tasty."

We asked our own Mike Dudas, Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer here at Button, to chime in as well, where he expects mobile marketers to hone in on their search for new users:

"Mobile e-commerce companies have found that the concentrated duopoly power of Google and Facebook is leading to ever-increasing cost of user acquisition— and making it more difficult to acquire users on an ROI-positive basis. This has hurt many e-commerce businesses, as reflected in both the public and private markets. As a result, these marketers continue to look for new environments to find mobile users with intent to purchase— such as "actionable content" on Wirecutter and Buzzfeed, shopping apps such as Ibotta, Shopkick and Ebates and mobile travel properties like TripAdvisor. Mobile marketers will accelerate their search for new and existing non-duopoly sourced users who will purchase— their breakeven economics and profitable growth depend on it!"

We're excited to see how these trends unfold in 2018— if we know anything, we're certain things can change and the future will look different from today. If you're interested in how Button can make your 2018 mobile marketing plans come to life, check us out and be sure to drop us line!