AOL’s Mark Connon On Geo-Data As The Hot Topic At Mobile World Congress

As the AOL Platforms Global Chief Mobile Officer reflects on this past year's Mobile World Congress, he sees a greater role for geo-data.

Over 100,000 brand, agency, and platform executives descended on Barcelona last week for the 30th Mobile World Congress.

As he returned to New York, we asked Mark Connon, AOL Platforms’ global chief mobile officer, what his main takeaways were from a location tech perspective.

Here are some of his thoughts:

Geo-Location Data is Powerful

 “Geo-location data is a powerful tool for an increasingly mobile-centered advertising landscape. We believed this would be a major trend coming into 2017 and the conversations we had at MWC only confirmed this. What is especially exciting, however, for AOL is that, with our parent company, we are uniquely qualified to deliver on this end. We provide an unparalleled combination of mobile data scale and quality. And as geo-location data grows more central to audience development and campaigns, for advertisers, that differentiation will be key.”

Mobile Growth is Surging

“Advertisers we spoke with largely confirmed what everyone knows – that they’re planning on investing more in mobile ads, with video driving most of the growth. The industry is simply trying to keep pace with consumer demand, which is obviously massive right now. On average, 57 percent of consumers globally watch videos on a mobile phone every day, per AOL data. Accordingly, 47 percent of advertisers expect to increase mobile ad spend by at least 25 percent this year.”

Mobile Data Scale & Quality Are Critical

“Among both advertisers and publishers, mobile data quality and scale were hot topics. Quality and scale are essential for buyers and sellers to be successful. For publishers, it helps more effectively merchandize inventory. For advertisers, it means better audience targeting across mobile. For vendors, the best philosophy to deliver here is an open one – offering multiple data sets to help advertisers build powerful brands and publishers make more money.”

Linear TV Dollars Are Going to Mobile

“Dollars for mobile have to come from somewhere. The “where” was a key part of the MWC dialogue. Advertisers are funding their increases in mobile and mobile video by shifting more and more money away from TV budgets. If you look at the data, it supports that. According to eMarketer, 2017 will mark a major milestone for ad spending, as total digital surpasses TV for the first-time. Mobile is driving that, upending traditional ad budgets.”

VR is Poised for Growth

“There were several major VR and 360-degree video launches at this year’s show from brands and platforms. This is fitting since mobile is driving the rise of immersive video. In our own recent global study on VR, 31 percent of all US consumers, for example, expect to watch more videos in VR over the next year. Clearly, mobile is supporting a new, innovative wave of video experiences. At MWC, this was on full display.”

Mobile Transparency & Accountability

“At MWC, transparency continued to be a hot topic. Advertisers want accountability, especially in the mobile ad supply chain, where more dollars are going. And the recent MRC verification announcements by Facebook and Google, just prior to the event, only fueled interest. Advertisers are demanding deeper insight and firmer guarantees on how agency and technology partners are acting on their behalf. That’s not an unreasonable request. Their partners – vendors, agencies, publishers – need to deliver here.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.