Our use of mobile is overtaking usage of desktop at an ever-increasing rate. As predicted, technology is becoming more sophisticated, and our audience’s demands are changing. According to Emarketer, US mobile will account for 72 per cent of digital ad spend by 2019, boosted by ever-improving mobile coverage and the advent of new technologies.
There are two key factors at play here. More people than ever are using mobile devices. Additionally, each one of us owns more devices than ever, with smartphones and wearables in use alongside tablets. These trends point to a smarter world where our reliance on desktop computers is shrinking. The increase in the usage of Smartphones and tablets will eventually replace our laptops. In addition, the next wave of mobile computing – including the Internet of Things, and wearables – is pushing mobile further and further ahead.
We now spend more time on our mobile devices than we do on other media, including desktop. As far back as 2008, analysts predicted the trend away from desktop usage, and we’re seeing that come to fruition now. Mary Meeker was bang on the money: in 2014, everything changed.
Despite the forewarnings of big change ahead, a chasm has appeared between user trends and marketers’ focus. For example, mobile ad spend still lags behind mobile media consumption by a considerable margin. This presents an opportunity, and an untapped audience: one you’d be crazy to ignore.
Consider also the sheer scale of adoption, and the trends that have brought us to this point. There are now 3.65 billion unique global mobile users. A massive 1.91 billion of these users have smartphones, and this number is set to rise to 2 billion by 2017. By 2018, smartphone owners will represent half the world’s mobile users.
It’s not about the volume of people in isolation. The devices themselves are capable of more functions, and this provides us with another layer of opportunity. For example, there’s an increasing trend towards spoken commands and interactivity, beyond the keyboard and the touchscreen. This is something which Apple pioneered with Siri, and Microsoft has pursued with Cortana. Personal assistants offer hands-free convenience, but they can also aid operation of home automation devices and leverage the Internet of Things to give us much more timely updates about the world around us.
New sensors in mobile devices are integrating them more deeply into our lives. NFC payments are also picking up pace, mainly thanks to Apple finally getting on board with Apple Pay, although Android Pay and Samsung Pay are key alternatives for non-iOS users. According to Gartner, half of consumers will be paying using phones or wearables by 2018.
This new trend in payment is interesting for marketers, because it ties the payment process more tightly with the device. Right now, we can tap to pay in retail stores; this may soon evolve so we can tap an IoT-connected appliance to purchase an upgrade, or book a service for our car using NFC. Achieving a conversion on mobile may look very different by the end of 2016.
From web search and video through payments and voice control, mobile is a transforming force in the marketplace. 2016 is the age of mobile, and all of this technology comes together. Connection speeds are fast enough to continually stream data, and wearable devices are earning their place for the first time. IoT devices are now entering home, workplaces and factories worldwide.
If you want to achieve projected revenues, you’re going to have to take things up a gear, and place renewed effort into mobile this year. All you need is the right strategy to align these new opportunities with your campaigns. Your customers are changing platforms and getting smarter. Are you ready to change your strategy? Watch out this space to get smarter on Mobile Marketing.