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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