5 Things Overheard at MWC: An AppLift Roundup

Mwc Recap

We wrapped up another spectacular edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this year. While Barcelona’s weather turned down the thermostat to a chilly -5 degree (and surprise snow!), inside the Fira, the weather was intense! Of course, like every year, the biggest tech announcements came from the mobile giants, led by Samsung’s release of the S9 and Nokia’s new 8110 — that bends like a banana, which gathered a ton of attention — there was also some cool talk around the concept of smart cities, connected cars, IoT and edge computing.

When it comes to the ad tech space, a lot of action happened on that front too. We have put together our top 5 favorite trends that we witnessed at this year’s conference.

(As told by AppLift’s MD, CRO and MWC-veteran Maor Sadra, and Marketing Trainee and MWC-debutant Pawel Pankowicz)

1. Blockchain

This is something that we have been betting on even before the start of the conference. AppLift’s MD Maor and Tim (our CEO) have had running bets that there would be at least 20 booths featuring the latest buzzword, “Blockchain.” No prizes for guessing who won this bet 😉

While Maor didn’t really come back with the photos, the buzzword could be heard loud and clear! From small startups trying to ICO and startups launching solutions backed by cryptocurrency, to the various blockchains (especially Etherium), it definitely earned the top spot as one of the biggest trends to watch out for. Read more about blockchain and ad tech in Maor’s piece here.

2. Ad Tech Consolidation

This is one trend we have been predicting long now. And at this year’s MWC it was more visible than ever — less mobile app developers looking for new media vendors, less publishers looking for new monetization methods, fewer ad tech companies’ booths altogether (and more meeting rooms for closed existing partnerships to conduct meetings!). The current state of fragmentation breeds inefficiency and negatively affects campaign performance. In 2018, we are more likely to see this consolidation fastening.

3. Programmatic and RTB Strengthen

Programmatic RTB monetization & trading continues to grow in our industry. Until now, a lot of ad networks operated on both the demand-and supply-side, selling directly to advertisers, and/or letting publishers monetize directly using an SDK. These have shifted to become either a DSP or SSP, pivoting their businesses to trade via RTB. This also means there is an abundance of innovations in programmatic, some of which we witnessed at the conference at some of the exhibiting booths.


GDPR is putting noticeable pressure on the industry as all stakeholders work towards getting ready for the new guidelines around data and privacy. Several companies including AppLift are already starting to prepare their position and understanding of the GDPR laws and compliance ahead of the May deadline. At MWC, the focus around helping the industry be GDPR-ready couldn’t be missed. This year’s conference focused on the topic with several workshops aimed to help industry colleagues prepare for GDPR regulations as well as issues of privacy and data security.

5. AI, 5G and the Next Frontiers in Mobile Advertising

5G and its implementation was definitely the hottest topic seen throughout the conference. There has been a lot of talk last year around AI and its capabilities in mobile ad tech, but with the emergence of 5G connectivity and innovations in AI-powered phones, we are likely to see improved user experience as well as new ways of user engagement. The big announcements in mobile hardware and tech made it evident at MWC that we are about to find new and exciting ways of advertising on mobile.

Have some interesting takeaways from the conference to share? Let us know in the Comments section!