SINGAPORE: Marketers frustrated in their efforts to take advantage of the rapid advance of mobile across Asia-Pacific can look forward to the year ahead as the industry moves beyond the disjointed experiences of the past.

"Mobile is still a developing and highly fragmented space that still has room to grow," according to Vikas Gulati, managing director/Asia at Opera Mediaworks, the mobile advertising platform that only launched in Asia Pacific in 2014.

But he told Campaign Asia-Pacific that "The biggest change I've seen is the fact that in the last year or so, the entire ecosystem is really starting to come together for the first time."

The shift is being driven on all fronts, with marketers having to respond to growing mobile penetration – "in emerging economies like Indonesia, Thailand and India the usage statistics are shooting through the roof and are starting to create real impact," Gulati noted – while ad tech companies are offering better solutions and agencies and advertisers are restructuring operations to take account of mobile.

"Everyone is convinced that mobile is the future today," Gulati said. "Now the only question is around 'how', and there are many types of advertisers at different stages."

For example, advertisers in the mass-market CPG category, have been slower than telecoms businesses to embrace mobile, preferring to stick with traditional media such as television.

That is also an easier option than dealing with the millions of apps that have been developed for mobile. The desire of the creators to see a return on their investment via advertising can often result in an unsatisfactory user experience which has the potential to reflect badly on the brands involved.

But Gulati was optimistic that "the ecosystem will find that balance [between monetisation and user experience] quickly," pointing out that new, flexible ad formats were being introduced and that there was now greater awareness about the importance of the user experience on mobile.

"We've come a long way from SMS-based stuff in the early days," he said, citing Opera Mediaworks' own developments in video, with a solution that it says allows video ads to play with the same quality and viewing experience as television regardless of connection strength of device type.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff