The Mobile Landscape
While the rest of the country focuses on the election results, I decided to write my blog on something different – mobile marketing. Coming from a digital marketing background, mobile marketing or promotional activities through smartphones or other mobile devices like tablets has been top of mind for me for the past few years. Since about 2010, there have been many predictions that mobile will be the “next big thing” or this year will be “the Year of Mobile,” yet most companies have remained hesitant about investing heavily into this medium until recently. Moreover, many companies and marketers still view mobile as a sub-category of digital media and most do not customize customer experiences for mobile devices. This is an interesting phenomenon, however, because of mobile’s staggering statistics and growth predictions.
Currently, over 2/3 of Americans own a smartphone. A typical US Adult spends over 3 hours daily on mobile devices and that number is steadily increasing. Additionally, more than half of all web searches are occurring through a mobile device and consumers are spending more time with mobile apps than television. By the end of 2016, there will be 4.8 billion individuals worldwide that own a mobile phone and smartphones will be used by 46% of the global population. Thus, it is no surprise that mobile advertising has continued to increase rapidly since its inception and is considered one of the fastest growing media channels in history.” It is predicted to surpass desktop’s advertising spend this year and continue to have double-digit growth for the foreseeable future.
In terms of mobile advertising spending, in 2015 mobile display was the highest out of all categories at $14.67 billion; however, mobile search was not far behind at $12.85 billion. In the next three years, both are expected to increase at a similar rate, but mobile app spending is predicted to make up the majority of the display growth. Major reasons for this are because in-app advertising gives brands a unique opportunity to use engaging ad formats like video and rich media to get in front of captive audiences. Additionally, it allows them to be where the customers are since consumers are spending an increasing amount of time on mobile apps. Mobile web and search are also predicted to increase in the coming years, as well as the other category, but mobile messaging is expected to slowly decline.
Loyalty programs, apps, and social media also make up the mobile marketing landscape. These, in addition to advertising and websites, are important aspects of a consumer’s mobile journey. Many companies have moved their traditional stamp loyalty program to mobile apps. This change has increased customer convenience, but also allowed companies the ability to track and gather more information about customers who are using the app. Moreover, it gives companies another channel to engage and interact with its customers. However, it also increases customers’ expectations of the speed and level of attention they should be getting from brands.
Best Practices for Brands
So, with all of these different options, what should marketers do to create an effective mobile strategy? First, and most important, it is essential for them to fully integrate mobile into their marketing strategies and not just treat it as a sub-category.
Second, in our new data driven world, consumers crave personalization and customization. Currently, mobile experiences fall short of expectations. Brands need to improve these mobile experiences and serve consumers where they currently are – not where it is convenient for brands. Marketers need to utilize storytelling through multiple mobile ad formats. It is important to make sure a clear story is woven through each format. Additionally, it is imperative that marketers not only embrace these, but they also develop creative assets and content specifically for each format. For example, in-stream Facebook and Instagram ads should differ from display and video ads or streaming ads on Pandora.
Third, a brand’s mobile engagement and automation is essential for mobile integration success. As consumers are using their phone as their primary device, it gives brands a great opportunity to capture consumers’ attention at the right moment. Marketers need to take advantage of this opportunity by tailoring the context and personalization of their communications, giving the right consumers the right information exactly when they need it. A few ways marketers can execute this tactic is by mobilizing coupons, instituting loyalty programs, allowing mobile pay in stores, and using beacons to observe how people navigate store. This customization will not only produce better return on investment, but also improve the overall consumer experience.
Fourth, mobile web and apps are distinctive and it is important for marketers to understand their differences and utilize them effectively. Currently, consumers spend 78% of their mobile time in app and 22% in the web.[i] While apps have many advantages like the ability to send push notifications and customize user experience, the mobile web has its benefits as well. Most users search the web to find apps and modern technologies are helping to make the web browsing process faster and more streamlined. Marketers should embrace apps for engagement and the web for acquisition. Utilizing each differently will help brands capture the most value from each format.
Lastly, to fully integrate mobile into a brand’s marketing strategy, marketers must increase their mobile investment. The ideal amount brands should be allocating to mobile ranges from 8% to 20%, with more strategic brands planning to invest about 20% of their budgets.[ii] It is important to make sure mobile is positioned to help major business objectives, but its impact should also be measured across the broader marketing mix of TV, Radio, Print, Outdoor, etc.