The mobile space continues to see growth and innovation as 2014 winds to a close. What can marketers expect to see in 2015?
"Mobile is the front door of Target." That's what the senior vice president of Target.com and mobile said when he announced the company's enhanced mobile offerings, which include a two-tap checkout process and new pharmacy app. It's a sentiment that might have been expressed in any major brand headquarters over the course of this year. Now more than ever, mobile strategy is at the forefront of marketers' minds.
According to Target, mobile accounts for about two-thirds of the retailer's digital traffic - and rising. This isn't particularly uncommon. ESPN, the BBC, CNN, and Facebook have all seen their traffic swing from desktop to mobile. ComScore reports that 60 percent of all time spent with digital media now occurs on smartphones and tablets.
This year will mark the launch of Connection Day, an event devised by Verizon to give holiday travelers access to audiobooks, music, and apps from brands like Amazon, Audible, Pandora, and Apple. Companies everywhere are acknowledging and preparing for this revolution in the way that we consume media, work, play, and shop online. But what can we expect from the year to come?
One of the trends we're likely to see is a move toward creating "micro-moments" - customized mobile experiences that deliver in seconds flat. Earlier this month Forrester research released areport encompassing its mobile predictions for 2015 that was subtitled "Experience Creation Trumps App Creation." Those experiences are expected to incorporate contextual relevance and personalization. According to Forrester, though, brands shouldn't just plan to deliver micro-moments to their customers, but "extend them to wearable devices" as well.
Location-Based Marketing and Maps
Geo-location and geo-fencing that pinpoint users wherever they are, along with beacons and retailer-specific maps, are also likely to see an uptick in popularity among brands. Starwood Hotels and Resorts has begun experimenting with beacons to pre-identify hotel guests. Dairy Queen is testing an app that provides users with geo-targeted coupons. Among Target's mobile updates are "enhanced navigation," for which the company partnered with mapping technology provider Point Inside. Interactive store maps, including a Black Friday version, guide shoppers to their desired items.
On the advertising front, video is still going strong, but increasingly those videos are being watched on mobile devices. Americans now spend some 33 minutes per day watching videos on their phones, and 62 percent of smartphone users are "OK with 15- to 30-second ads" in exchange for video content. The Mobile Marketing Association reports that non-skippable ads ranging from 15 to 30 seconds in length receive high completion rates, and that "excessive" mobile video ad frequency can drastically reduce completion and click-through rates.
Mobile Shopping, Holiday and Beyond
According to Juniper Research, more than 2 billion mobile users will make a mobile commerce transaction by the end of 2017. You can bet they plan to start this holiday season. A recent survey by shopping discovery company Wanderful Media found that 77 percent of shoppers now use their smartphones to help them compare prices, find nearby stores, and locate sales. Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation says that more than half of consumers will use their smartphones while shopping during the holidays, and about 63 percent of tablet owners will do the same.
Black Friday and holiday-specific mobile apps represent opportunities for retailers to connect with eager buyers and ease reluctant consumers into the mobile world. Mobile promotions, like a text-to-win sweepstakes launched by Old Navy that customers can play while waiting in line in-store, can offer inspiration for year-round campaigns.