Mobile advertising is growing at a rapid pace and looks set to outstrip traditional advertising spend while raking in a large portion of total digital advertising expenditure in the coming years. And marketers surprised by this trend really haven’t done their homework.

With the increased affordability of smart phones, the practically nominal prices paid for regular cellular phones and a new-found affluence have driven consumers to storm the markets with massively enlarged purchase volumes. In fact, over 60% of the world’s population now has access to cellular communication devices. 

Little wonder then that marketers view mobiles as an effective portal through which to deliver marketing missives, especially given the extremely high open rates for mobile campaigns. 

Here I’ve compiled a short list of upcoming trends in mobile marketing to help you keep pace with this rapidly evolving medium.

Interactive media – Rich media ads provide both interactivity and superior animation, and represent the future of mobile browser display advertising. With steadily rising bandwidth and improving browser display capabilities, rich media is set to bring a new generation of ads to consumer mobile screens.

Geo location – Advertisers are making heavy use of the fact that location-based mobile marketing can drive local sales using tightly focused targeting criteria. Integrating geographic information into your marketing campaign is particularly useful when trying to drive consumer traffic to your real world stores or (in the case of B2B marketing) when attempting to boost attendance rates at an event.

Social Gaming – Developers are coming to the fore with new smartphone gaming apps being released every week, and similarly, games on social networks are adapting and reconfiguring themselves to be accessible to mobile audiences as well. And it’s about time considering that over 40% of all activity on social networks like Facebook and Twitter comes from mobile browsers and apps.Gaming apps and the intense focus they command from users are a compelling medium for marketers to advertise within and I predict that 2012 will only enhance this trend.

Real-time bidding – A relatively new concept, but one that is quickly gaining cachet among marketers is real-time bidding (RTB). RTB is an effort to rejuvenate dying PPC campaigns by creating more value for the advertiser and affiliate alike. The system takes into account the greater user activity monitoring capabilities of affiliate networks to allow marketers to bid for individual impressions in real-time, using automated algorithmic functions to correlate user activity and value, subsequently generating correspondingly high or low bids. RTB is on its way to replacing existing PPC advertising models like Adwords among mobile internet users.

Video – Advertisers who haven’t taken video seriously enough to consider it a viable form of mobile advertising had better rethink their strategies. Mobile users are a far cry from the early days of mobile internet usage and now have access to 4G bandwidth and some truly excellent hardware. As smartphones users overtake the number of regular phone users out there, video is likely to establish a strong presence among future mobile marketing media.