Tech Edge

The future of advertising: Here’s what to expect

This holds the key to the future of advertising
This holds the key to the future of advertising

You probably take your mobile phone wherever you go. It's no wonder then that the future of advertising is focused on mobile devices.

"Anything that is digital and has data attached to it immediately becomes something you can utilize to engage the consumer in a conversation with the brand," says Nico Abbruzzese, director of creative technology at Maxus Global, a media agency network based in Singapore.

(Read more: Mobile shift is happening: Facebook execs)

"That's the biggest shift that we've started to see in the last couple of years," he said.

Spending on global mobile advertising rose more than 100 percent to $18.16 billion last year from 2012 and is expected to rise to $72.3 billion by 2017, according to research firm Gartner.

Lee Woodgate | Ikon Images | Getty Images

In terms of technology, evidence suggests there's a lot of focus on targeting advertising to where a consumer might be at a given point it time or what they might do next.

"Research into micro targeting is very important. Location data is not just about current location but patterns of location," said Stephen Upstone, CEO of social mobile advertising firm LoopMe. "Another area is developing strong brand experiences on mobile devices using video and rich media."

Crystal ball

One thing to expect more of, say experts, is advertising based on what you might do next such as going to the gym or supermarket rather than what you are doing right now.

They add that part of this should come from algorithms studying data based on a consumer's previous activity or spending patterns.

(Read more: Even for hot start-ups, billion dollar paydays are rare)

Some technology allowing advertising on predictive behavior already exists.

HeyStaks, based in Ireland, for instance runs a technology that learns peoples' interests from the search activity on their mobile phones.

"By combining these interest profiles with context information (location, time) it is possible to work out a person's 'intent', i.e. what they intend to do. If you know what a person intends to do, you can present them with ads or offers that are highly relevant to them and likely to get a positive response," said HeyStaks CEO and co-founder Maurice Coyle.

Mobile messaging apps poised for growth
Mobile messaging apps poised for growth

Rob Jonas, global chief revenue officer at PubMatic, which allows websites and media publishers to increase the revenue they generate from advertising through programmatic buying or real-time bidding, said he expects to see more development in this area.

"It's easy to target a piece of advertising when you know someone's at a specific location but some of the really interesting things I've seen is looking at patterns of behavior and movement from a mobile device and using that to predict behavior," said Jonas. "That predictive data could be more powerful than reactive data. There are companies looking at it, has it received main stream adoption? Not yet -- will we get to that point? Absolutely," he said.

Location, location, location

Alongside advertising based on predictive behavior is a focus on developing technology that allows advertising to be targeted at where a person might be at a certain time, at the supermarket for instance.

(Read more: An app that pleases advertisers and consumers)

"Experiences of shopping are not always great or keeping pace with consumer expectations. But if you have a smartphone – that shopping experience can be more tailored, even personalized to deliver a service experience that is relevant to how consumers want to shop today," said Simon Hathaway, global president of RX at Cheil Worldwide, an agency that helped global retailer Tesco set up a virtual store in South Korea. "How people shop with mobile devices, particularly in-store is what we've been testing out. Location based technology will transform the retail experience and it's probably the big story in retail this year."

Hathaway said that another thing he has been testing in South Korean supermarket E-mart is the deployment of wi-fi "balloons" in supermarkets, giving consumers free internet access in certain spots.

Marc Benioff: Mobile the dominant platform today
Marc Benioff: Mobile the dominant platform today

"The only thing that's holding back broad usage of phones in the retail environment is access to the internet…If you give people free wi-fi and free data if gives you an opportunity to do some tracking of what they are doing with their mobile phone when they are in your environment," he said.

William Eccleshare, CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, one of the world's biggest outdoor advertising firms, says mobile technology and outdoor advertising are likely to become increasingly linked.

"Outdoor has proven itself in driving content to mobile, and that's where the connection between mobile and more traditional advertising is becoming more significant," he said.

"We have bus stops in Sydney where you have a small range of impulse buys," he said, referring to bus shelters that in a sense would act like digital vending machines.

"In Copenhagen we have a virtual bookstore where you can directly download a book or order a physical book while waiting for a train. The aim of these campaigns is to drive transactions beyond the outdoor site itself. So, the advertising may encourage people to scan an NFC [near field communication]or QR code to access a sample book chapter, meaning they later venture onto the bookseller's website or go to the retail outlet to buy the book in full."

— By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe; Follow her on Twitter @DharaCNBC