The Mobile Marketplace in 2015
Late last year, on the heels of the Adobe Digital Index Holiday Report, I wrote a piece on the rapid growth of the mobile marketplace. The takeaway was pretty clear: the increasing shift to mobile shopping only encourages the deepening accessibility and heightened content demands of our customers. To that end, I suggested a recommitment to the mobile presence and new investment in the myriad ways we engage with mobile customers—not just as a way to differentiate our brand and grow our businesses, but also to ensure there’s no failing to match the rising expectations of contemporary customers.
But we can get much more specific than that. Right now, I’d like to offer some thoughts and observations for the next 12 months and explore how we can adjust and expand our mobile strategies to adapt to the coming trends.
The first consideration to make is awareness of the mobile arms race. Market leaders in industries across the globe are keenly aware of the explosion of the mobile market, and to that end, there’s been unprecedented investment in the mobile experience, with companies such as Home Depot dedicating $1.5 billion to improvement of ‘interconnected retail’, the supply chain and systems that integrate the brand’s tens of thousands of brick-and-mortar offerings with their hundreds of thousands of online goods.
As business owners and marketers, we must recognize this sea change. Investments like this are a sign of the growing shift towards the “mobile only” experience as well as a way to highlight the general fear that many companies have already fallen behind in implementation of a sound mobile presence. In this instance, a rising tide does not lift all boats—if your mobile house is out of order, the growing availability of premium mobile experiences will threaten your engagement with an increasingly large segment of the consumer base. Just the same, a wise investment in this realm can grant better access to this widening market than ever before. Forrester’s research on the subject revealed only one in three marketing leaders has adequate funding for their mobile endeavours.
But shopping is only a single facet of the new mobile order. The coming years look set to be favourable to mobile advertising in particular due to a combination of larger, more powerful devices and broadening access to 4G networks. Forrester predicts the market for mobile display ads will top €2 billion by 2015’s end and more than double that within the next five years. This increased spending comes as part of the growing acceptance of the new mobile standard: brands are learning that they may necessarily interact with many of their consumers through mobile mediums alone. All this is setting the table for an infusion of creative, effective advertisement not just accessible by the mobile user, but also tailored specifically for them. And what this demands from us as marketers and developers is that we consider user experience far beyond simple metrics like CTR.
As part of any mobile content strategy, apps must be considered, of course. Apps allow businesses to deliver unique features and functionalities to end users wherever they are and have a significant place in the market. But this in itself has meant that consumers are developing a sense of ‘app fatigue’—too many standalone programs to download, organize, and regularly use. Regardless, for the near future, the key to app marketing is internal marketing: using your apps’ functionalities to spread awareness and reach new customers through integration of social/marketing features. But this presents us with something of a problem, as internal marketing such as this demands the app be downloaded and used before it’s truly effective. For apps with functionalities that are critical to your business or brand, this is a challenge that must be overcome.
But forward-thinking businesses are looking to transition whatever features they can out of the walled gardens of mobile apps and onto their mobile-friendly (or mobile-first) web presences.
The takeaway from this may be a little intimidating. No marketers want their outreach to lag behind due to advancing capabilities that their businesses couldn’t predict. But preparation can turn this challenge into opportunity. We can only benefit by identifying which elements of our mobile strategy are the most effective, the most broadly applicable. Clarifying that and then investing in making those features accessible to all comers can uplift our brands and magnify our messages
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