By Kimber Johnson
There is no denying that 2015 has been a huge year for mobile. Mobile has increasingly become a more important part of our everyday lives than ever before, and as any savvy marketer can tell you, your brand needs to be where its customers are. A quick look at a few statistics shows just how important mobile has become:
- In a study by Smart Insights earlier this year, it was found that in the United States, mobile digital media time is now much higher (51%) than desktop digital time (42%).
- Practically two-thirds (64%) of Americans now own a smartphone [Pew Internet Project].
- Of those in the United States with smartphones, 46% say they can’t live without their smartphone [Pew Research Center].
Clearly mobile has become deeply ingrained into our lives. Because of this, users have started demanding more from their experiences with mobile applications and websites. Much of what is driving the industry as we are moving into 2016 centers on creating more personal engagement with consumers. In 2016, brands must engage and interact with users on the user’s terms. Because of this, context will be a key factor in 2016.
1. Consumer Focus
Rather than just marketing their products, businesses must now consider the complete experience a customer has with their brand. From initial contact to first sale and beyond, brands are evaluating the experience that customers have with their brand and working to improve that experience at multiple points along the path.
Creating a more consumer focused experience will be the goal of many businesses in 2016. Mobile has changed the way we shop and interact with information; businesses need to adjust their mobile apps and websites to reflect this shift in consumer behavior. Mobile apps and websites should be viewed from their place in the customer’s purchase path and their experience should cater to the customer’s needs. Don’t just assume you know what your customers are doing, track and analyze the relevant data. This is important, as you will need to create a user experience that caters to how your customer’s are actually using your application and how they would like to be using it if features are lacking.
However you end up creating your app to assist your customers, remember that you need to provide a cohesive experience with your brand that is unified across the multiple touch points. From your mobile app to your retail outlets to online banner ads, a seamless experience is a must.
2. Push Notifications
2016 will see improvement when it comes to push notification strategies. More and more this handy tool is becoming important when it not only comes to retaining customers but also for engaging them. In fact, push notifications are often how mobile customer interactions are started these days. For businesses, they should focus on developing intelligent push notification programs that are more personalized and offer improved contextual relevance.
3. Content Driven
Many marketers have found that the methods that used to work for them previously weren’t effective when used on mobile devices. Mobile marketing requires its own strategy. Consumers tend to be turned off by overly overt marketing on mobile devices so a more content driven approach has become very important to businesses.
A key factor in future mobile success will be your ability to personalize your mobile offerings and the content within. By creating an opt-in program to track data associated with how users use your app you will be able to start delivering content specific to that user’s interests. Many marketers have found that nothing improves their marketing programs like enhancing the relevance of their messaging.
Mobile makes this easier than ever to do as many users are more than willing to opt-in to data programs and provide demographic information to help improve their user experience. Combined with systems to analyze activity and adjust accordingly, truly powerful marketing can be done via the mobile devices that are in your customers’ hands much of the day.
4. Ad Targeting
As businesses improve their ability to create data-driven experiences for their customers, the targeting of ads will greatly improve and consequently become much more effective. To enhance the effectiveness of your ads you can rely on data from many sources. Once your customers have opted-in to you data program they will often provide a great deal of information regarding their preferences, as well as demographic information that can be quite useful.
By developing a data program you will be able to leverage their behavior within the app to refine their experience with ads that are more relevant. When you add to this the context of their location, your advertising programs can become exceptionally powerful.
Refinements need to be made in not only your creative, but also how you approach your creative when it will be displayed on mobile devices. Your mobile ad program needs to go beyond targeting to develop advertising that is carefully crafted for the mobile experience.
5. Deep Linking
Deep linking will increase as businesses look to have their content more discoverable.
Both Google and Apple have created opportunities using APIs to allow mobile app content to be found via mobile search. Businesses are able to deep link to app content from their mobile advertising programs or websites. Other apps can help enhance the consumer journey by deep linking into content in your app.
Users will see more and more app content in mobile searches and have the ability to see mobile-exclusive content that is not available for other devices. This will improve the opportunities a brand has to engage with customers and create conversions.
6. Mobile Video
About anywhere you look on mobile, video is there and because of this, businesses are eager to capitalize on this trend. According to a recent study by IAB, 58% of the people they surveyed confirmed that they watched videos on a daily basis from their mobile device. Clearly, quality video production intended for the small screen can be truly effective in reaching this sizable and growing audience.
This growth in mobile users’ interest is most likely the result of many consumers now owning high quality mobile devices. Remember, when it comes to mobile video, apps are clearly the consumers’ choice for viewing them. 48% of the respondents to IAB’s study confirmed they access video content via applications rather than visiting a mobile website. While only 18% indicated they would rather view video via mobile website.