This past year saw an explosion in the number of smartphones and tablets and the results are everywhere. On the train, in restaurants, and even while walking down the street: eyes are glued to the device in front of them. But if you look up past your iPhone, you can instantly see the opportunity and potential for mobile marketing. And while 2011 may have been the year of the boom, we think 2012 could be the year we get the marketing aspect right. Or at least begin to.
Let’s look at the numbers:
- Spike in smart phone users- In 2011 we saw a growing number of mobile phone subscribers switch over to the smart phone world. Nielsen’s third quarter survey revealed that 62 percent of mobile users ages 25-34 own smartphones, and in the final week of 2011 alone, consumers activated a record 20 million Apple iOS and Google Android devices.
- Tablet sales increase – In 2011 we also saw a record increase in tablet sales. From mid-December 2011 to early January 2012, tablet and e-reader sales nearly doubled, increasing the percentage of adults that own a tablet or e-reader to 29 percent.
- Usage reports growing rapidly – With the growing amount of smart phone users, we are also seeing an increased interest in mobile application downloads, as well as mobile website visits. The share of adult cell phone owners who have downloaded an app to their phone nearly doubled in the past two years, and the percentage of website visitors via mobile search has increased from 2.5 percent to 10 percent in the past year.
Where 2011 Missed the Mark:
1. Mobile models that aren’t mobile.
2011 was undeniably a booming year for tablet and smart phone sales, but many mobile applications aren’t providing the user with the optimized on-the-go experience that they desire. The smart phone has a nature and function that is more active than the traditional web, but mobile designs often don’t reflect this distinction.
The potential for mobile optimization exists, but many companies have not capitalized on this feature. Analytics company Kissmetrics compiled an infographic that indicated a 25 percent increase in mobile browsing which is a huge opportunity for brands, especially online retailers. Mobile websites are estimated to increase engagement by up to 85 percent, but a mere 4.5 percent of online retailers have mobile sites. Inactive mobile models are not fulfilling the consumer’s needs even though the technological capability to do so exists. Mobile users value on-the-go access to content, but marketing strategies continue to assume that users are stationary, limiting the realm of opportunities to engage customers and personalize their experience.
2. Lack of contextual relevance
Mobile users are presented with an overwhelming amount of branded digital mobile features. Branding attempts can suffer a loss of engagement because the message and functionality don’t match the nature of the brand. We saw this with Pepsi’s “AMP UP Before You Score” application that gave men lines to pick up women. This branding attempt failed because the function of the application had no concrete connection to the brand. It is important that users receive a brand message that is unique and contextually relevant to their device or platform, and failure to make this connection usually is unsuccessful.
3. Lack of consumer value
Mobile phones by nature are extremely personal devices, and because of this, mobile marketing needs to offer the user real value or it feels invasive and useless. If a consumer scans a QR code, they are giving their time and information to the brand. If the consumer is not given something of value in exchange for this, it can negatively affect their perception of the brand. Lancôme Make-Up Company made this mistake in creating an application that failed to give any sort of makeup advice that would be of value to the user. Consumers want to know that they are gaining something from the brand, rather than feeling spammed.
How will we fix this in 2012?
This year predicts more explosive growth for the mobile experience, including the evolution of mobile marketing strategies. Here are some of the trends we are seeing in 2012:
1. Increased Mobile Spending
Recent predictions indicate that mobile as a marketing medium is becoming more and more prevalent. Mobile ad spending is expected to increase by 80 percent in U.S. to over $2.6 billion.In addition to this increase in spending, Woodford also predicts that The Olympics “paperless” mobile marketing initiative will “act as a catalyst for the mass adoption of location based mobile marketing and arrival of m-sites.” This mobile shift of both funds and attention is predicted to produce more effective branding.
2. Location based marketing
In 2011 many mobile marketing strategies fell short in their attempt to effectively engage their audience, but as Mobile Media’s SMART Report outlines, advertisers are using location tracking technology to effectively reach local customers. Mobile Media reported that “49 percent of all targeted audience campaigns used local market audience targeting,” This strategy adds value to the consumer’s experience by providing them with personalized content based on their unique location. This makes for a more engaging and useful approach to mobile marketing.
3. Near Field Communication
Near Field Communication (NFC), the technology enabling content to be exchanged between devices separated by a few inches. This communication technology uses radio frequency waves to exchange information such as the transfer of pictures or applications from one device to another. NFC powers new technology efforts including Google Wallet and is certainly a trend to be on the lookout for.