But often the best way to understand what's around the corner is to take a peek back at where you came from, what direction you're going, and how fast you're traveling.
Last week our parent company, Opera Software, released a report that does just that. It looks back on the biggest moments and trends from the year, leveraging the data from its mobile ad platform of 10,000 sites and apps which serves 40 billion impressions a month. So we're not talking about a casual, subjective glance; this is a deep dive into what actually happened in the last 12 months.
Several of these trends are no doubt going to continue in 2013, and likely build even more momentum:
iPhone and iOS will enjoy the view from the top
The Samsung Galaxy III is definitely a huge hit among many -- about 30 million have sold since it's mid-year launch. But the iPhone 5, which launched about four months later, now accounts for 16.1% of all iPhone device traffic compared to the S III's 8% of Android traffic. And nearly half (44.4%) of all impressions are served on iOS-based devices, compared to 29% on Android devices. To top it off, iOS 6 is now at a 65% adoption rate, and as we've noted, is providing solutions to a lot of problems we had been facing this year.
Music, video and entertainment content will continue to dominate mobile
Mobile music powerhouse Pandora was in the news a lot this year for its success in monetizing mobile, and Shazam and Slacker Radio made huge strides too. But mobile consumers are devouring video and entertainment content as well. Nearly one in four (23.8%) mobile impressions in 2012 was served on a site or app in the Music, Video and Media category. Together with Entertainment, these publishers generated 30% of total revenue for the year.
Targeting will only get better
To say we're exciting about the targeting possibilities in 2013 would be a grand understatement. Apple has led the way with a simple privacy-compliant unique identifer called the IDFA built into iOS 6, and we hope Google will follow suit.
Innovative ad units will kill the boring banner
We're already seeing cool campaigns like Kia's Build a Car, which uses a tap-to-expand ad unit that allows users to see various colors and 360-degree views, leading to a more sophisticated mobile site with customization options, video content and car-shopping tools. Look for more engaging experiences like this one in the coming year.
The Hispanic segment will explode
With publishers like Univision catering to the Latino community -- and being named one of Opera's notable publishers of the year -- many brand advertisers are finally seeing clear opportunities to hone in on this segment. About halfway through the year, a study confirmed that Hispanics outpace non-Hispanics in smartphone adoption, and use them to research and make purchases more often. The demographic is more likely to remember brands advertised on mobile devices, and they are motivated to visit brand sites and/or retail stores as a result of digital advertising and social posts.