Multi-screen advertising isn’t just the future anymore—it’s a necessity—happening at this very moment, here, in the present.

But, just 5 years ago Apple launched the iPhone, you say. And the iPad is only 3 years old. That’s really not that long ago. Could the mobile-apocalypse already be upon us?

Yes. Yes it can.

Phone and tablet proliferation has been so widespread that this year in April we reached a multi-screen majority. More people are now using multiple devices than just a single device. And 57% of the time when we’re using a smartphone, we’re also using another device at the same time.

In the first half of 2013, mobile accounted for 10% of all U.S. digital retail e-commerce. That may sound low, but a whopping 67% of us start shopping on one device and continue on another.

Publishers just have to look at device traffic patterns to see the writing on the wall. Screen agnosticism is the future of digital ad products. Those who can provide solutions for consistent advertising across devices stand to differentiate themselves and break free of the pack.

Multi-screen Implications for Ad Products Teams

HTML5 is replacing Flash for advertising. HTML5 is supported across modern browsers, devices, and apps—unlike Flash. With an already strong foothold online, HTML5 is slated to become the W3C standard in 2014.

If your team doesn’t have a plan for building HTML5 advertising, it’s time to start thinking about it. The longer you postpone adopting a process for creating ads in HTML5, the further your Flash dependency will pull you toward obsolescence.

Interactive media is replacing static banners. The rise in multi-screen media consumption has also heightened user’s sensitivity to simple banner ads—both on and off devices. While banners will achieve some slow growth this decade, the growth of interactive advertising like rich media and video will vastly outpace that growth of banner ads.

Mobile display dollars will already make up 21.7% of all digital display spend this year. But over the next few years, mobile is likely to climb to 48.4% of display spend. It only makes sense that publishers should be growing inventory to occupy those mobile dollars. For premium publishers, having effective multi-screen advertising packages provides a strong value proposition for directly-sold premium inventory.

Agile marketing has gained traction. Agile marketing hit mainstream when Oreo had their dunk in the dark moment. Now brands and agencies are looking for more ways to engage audiences with hyper-topical content. Premium ad product teams should endeavor to find repeatable ways to deliver that kind of real-time relevance to advertisers, who have thus far been restricted primarily to social media for agile marketing initiatives.

Display and social media are developing synergies. In a similar vein to agile marketing opportunities, there is an increasingly interdependent relationship between paid media and social media in display advertising. Brands are looking for ways to generate additional interest in their social content outside of the social network. Having socially enabled ads is one way to do this. Native advertising that with companion sharing buttons is another.

Conclusion: Multi-screen options can apply resistance to programmatic revenue pressure. Like the rise of multi-screen usage, programmatic buying is also slated grow substantially over the next few years, threatening publisher ad revenue. This ups the ante for the need to grow revenue in other areas, like the mobile/tablet inventory.