Email will soon be designed primarily for mobile devices, mobile native ads are the way to go and Mobile Real Time Bidding (RTB) of ads will reach nearly half of all mobile ad buys by next year. Those are just some of the mobile trends and advice offered in a new guide to mobile marketing, which also includes a directory of traffic sources. 

The report from mobile marketing platform provider TapSense, “A Complete Guide to Mobile Marketing for 2014,” is a one-stop publication for marketers to get up-to-date on mobile.

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The speed with which mobile marketing is moving is shown by the rapid adoption of Real Time Bidding for mobile. Gregory Kennedy, vice president of marketing for TapSense and one of the authors of the report, told “it took the PC advertising space years” to reach the level of RTB that mobile has now achieved.

Another trend noted in the report is the continued consolidation in the mobile ad network space, as large- and medium-sized mobile ad networks are forced to compete against RTB platforms and direct ad sales by big publishers.

Email’s evolution into a “mobile-first channel” by next year, according to the report, will mean that marketers design their email campaigns first for use on mobile devices, with desktops and laptops occupying a secondary target position — a reverse of the years past. Currently, over half of all email is opened on a mobile device.

New mobile ad formats are also expected to emerge, such as five-second mobile video spots and various kinds of “native ads,” including Promoted Tweets on Twitter. “The days of simply repurposing a 30 second spot for mobile and web, just to increase reach,” the report said, “are over.” TapSense also sees more Twitter ads appearing on third-party Twitter clients, as Twitter focuses on increasing revenue, and Facebook Exchange, which offers ads tailored to a Facebook user, becoming a big player for mobile.

Advice Sections

The Guide also offers a variety of advice sections, including “How to Hire a Freelance App Developer,” which advises that companies not “trust reviews or portfolios” to choose developers, but instead create a small sample project for them to code. An ideal sample project, the report advises, can be completed in less than two hours and should be reviewed by an expert developer.

A section on “Why Mobile Marketers Should Focus on Smartphone Apps” instead of the mobile Web points out the reasons behind this shift. They include the fact that the average smartphone user now spends more than two hours daily using apps, an upwards trend that has not yet reached the amount of time online (173 minutes), but it’s getting close.

The section on Hybrid Apps vs. Native Apps recommends native apps, although the buzz has been about HTML5 hybrid apps that can work across platforms. The report states “the perceived benefits of developing an HTML5 hybrid app are vastly outweighed by the real benefits of the native app experience,” including monetization, performance, user experience and security.

KPIs, App Downloads

On the key subjects of maintaining native apps across platforms, the report points out that Android and iOS account for more than 90 percent of the market. iOS, it noted, is the “platform of choice for affluent customers,” adding that the costs of also developing and maintaining an app for Android are decreasing.

This unusually comprehensive guide also addresses Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for mobile marketing, the key things marketers and product managers need to know about Apple’s iOS 7 and new iPhones 5S and 5C, tips for maximizing your app downloads from free channels and why mobile marketers need unbiased third-party marketing measurement.

The report concludes with an extensive Traffic Source Directory, broken down by continents. Kennedy told us that TapSense wanted to get this first Mobile Marketing Guide out before Black Friday, and it intends to update it quarterly. One can expect it will become a critical publication for marketers trying to stay ahead of the mobile transformation.