Mobile growth is exponential with no change in sight. In fact, mobile use grew 58% in 2015. But we don’t have to convince you how big of a deal mobile use is. The key factor is honing in on what is driving the explosive growth of mobile markets — and that’s video.
How Much Video Content Are Mobile Users Watching?
In 2015 the amount of video consumption on the small screen increased by 35%. Projections put mobile devices as the screen of choice for 58% of online videos by next year. In the meantime, TV is struggling for the first time in, well, ever. So far, 2016 figures make it appear that this will be the first year since the invention of TV that the number of viewers declines.
Why People Are Switching to Digital Mobile Markets
You can do everything on your phone. Social media? Check. Shopping? Check. Make a phone call? Not many of us do that anymore, but that one gets a checkmark, too. Why not stick around to watch the gobs of mobile videos that are available—from screaming goats to the latest movie trailers.
And while people are watching all of those videos, they also see mobile ads. That’s because mobile ad spending exceeds more than $10 million per year. YouTube has even simplified the process. Tired of having people skip your 30-second video just 5 seconds in? No problem. Simply create 6-second videos that are “unskippable.”
Creating a Journey for the Consumer
Mobile videos grab and hold the viewer’s attention. In 2015, one study revealed that more than a third of people with smartphones watch a 5-minute (or longer) video every single day. So you don’t really have to cut videos to just seconds…but you do have to tell a story that will captivate the viewer.
This is a great opportunity to confirm loyalty toward your brand. Smartphones now get the second most video ad views, and the ever-present device shouldn’t stay number two for long. Yes, mobile markets rule the world right now, and a big part of the reason is video.
Does it seem to you like most marketers today are more focused on the actual mobile devices—rather than the people who carry them? This is a new trend, and while the mobile-first movement isn’t necessarily a bad thing for advertisers, treating consumers like machines isn’t going to work. Here are a couple of ways to fix the mobile ad industry.
The Right Way to Use Cross-Device Tactics
The problem with cross-device campaigns is that most marketers are merely using this as a means to interact with users on as many different devices as possible without paying enough attention to the behavioral data. Sometimes it comes across as annoying or just plain creepy, rather than as a good sales pitch.
You should use cross-device campaigns to find your customer at the moment he or she is ready to buy. A consumer may be on a laptop at one moment and a phone the next. Meeting up with your ad on both may give a more negative impression than positive. But if you can tell the difference between research and looking to make a purchase, you can find a consumer in the right place, at the right time, with the right offer.
Think About Consumers, Not Mobile Devices
You get a lot of information about how consumers use their devices. Put that information to work for you. If someone does research on a mobile device but likes to make purchases in a store, provide them with in-store coupons through a mobile device. If someone likes to shop at a desk and buy from a tablet, provide education on the benefits of your product when the consumer is on a desktop computer, then go for sale when he picks up his iPad. Paying attention to behavior is key to closing the deal.
The fact is that mobile advertising is about more than just going where the people are. Yes, people are on smartphones more than ever before, but we still have to be smart about the way we interact with a consumer, especially on a mobile device.
You know what I’m talking about. A customer is shopping in your brick-and-mortar store. Your sales clerk on the floor moves in to ask if he can help, but the customer waves him away or doesn’t even notice him. Why? Because the consumer is looking up product reviews and pricing on her smartphone.
The Trend of Self-Sufficiency
It’s a new world thanks to mobile devices, and one of the big challenges for companies is that consumers are becoming self-sufficient. In other words, they do not need or want someone trying to help them select a product. At least, they don’t want a live person to help. Apparently, the people posting reviews online are entirely acceptable.
According to one recent report, well over half of consumers who are using their cell phone to research products while shopping in a store said they don’t want to talk with store employees. The trend is much stronger among men than women. It is also at its highest in the 25-to-44 age group.
So how do you sell to these people when they walk into your establishment if they don’t even want your help?
One Brand’s Solution to the Smartphone
The fact is that there is no simple, across-the-board solution for every business. However, consider the group that is the prime self-shopper. We’re talking about men between 25 and 44. They are likely to frequent stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, True Value, and the like. What are these stores doing to guide consumers?
Lowe’s is focusing on their mobile app to give consumers a place to go while on their phone that will provide similar assistance to what an in-store employee would offer. The sales people are also being trained to use the app to help people.
Obviously, each company will need to take a look at their business model in the upcoming year and see how they can reach mobile-dependent users, especially as this trend becomes stronger and stronger. After all, with more people than ever buying their smartphones online rather in a store, it is clear that consumers desire self-sufficiency.
More than ever, we need to engage consumers on their mobile devices. After all, that’s where people are. They are even picking up their phones to check social media while million dollar ads are running on the TV screen across the room. So how can you stay ahead in the mobile innovation race?
What’s so great about getting there first?
After all, Myspace wasn’t the world’s social networking giant just because it existed before Facebook. Sometimes it pays off to be the second or third company to the party. Then you can see where someone else with a genuinely good idea has gone slightly awry in presenting it and do the same thing, only better. One of the most important things to build for your brand in the mobile arena is credibility. That doesn’t always come from being the first brand to do something new.
True, some of the world’s largest companies are innovators such as Apple and Amazon. We rely on Apple to wow us with release news. We know that Amazon will always be ahead when it comes to running the world’s largest online superstore (even if federal law kills some of their big plans – like drone deliveries). So where does that leave your brand?
You have to focus on a few solid goals with your team’s mobile innovations:
With certain forms of innovation, getting there first can make the difference between selling your app to Facebook for billions of dollars or not even making the featured page on the app store. At other times, arriving late to the party but doing it better may be the difference between actually being the next Facebook or drifting off into obscurity. It is important to understand what true innovation is.
Sometimes innovation means having the idea first. Sometimes it means seeing someone else’s idea and seeing how to improve on it.
Wearables, or wearable technology, are being heralded as the future of technology. No one wants to be without his or her smart devices, so why not make them part of our wardrobe? It is an elegant solution, and one that will change the world of digital marketing for certain. What should we expect, as wearable devices become more commonplace? Here are four effects to watch out for over the next couple of years.
Mobile Applications. Wearables need apps to connect them to other devices which allow us to access the data. Some devices can run the apps themselves such as the Apple Watch. Either way, you can expect a glut of them to hit the market once such wearable products price drop enough to become mainstream.
Metrics. We love analyzing data. At first we developed metrics for our websites, email campaigns, and PPC marketing. Then metrics went mobile. You can bet there will be plenty of ways to track usage of wearable devices and gather data on your customers.
Geo-Tagged Advertising. We love to use mobile devices to send a coupon to consumers as they pass our brick and mortar stores. Now we can see when they approach even more easily when they are wearing a smart device on their person at all times. Tracking location and buying habits will be a great tool for drawing consumers in rather than letting them walk on by.
Social Media Implications. Every time a new device is developed, people use it to connect to their social networking accounts. You can bet people will expect the same from wearable devices. Whether it is the ability to check your Twitter from a watch or a shirt that automatically updates your Facebook status when you break a record on your morning jog, expect social media to be impacted heavily by wearable devices.
As digital marketing experts, we love data. In 2014, we were concerned with collecting as much of it as we possibly could. Of course, bigger does not always equal better. One thing that needs to be focused on during 2015 is relevant data. We are not just talking about information. We need to spot the most meaningful indicators within that information.
Now is the time to put all of that data to good use. We have been collecting information on consumers for years. Focus in 2015 needs to switch from how we use that data to target customers to how we can use that data to create a better UX (user experience). Consumers are all about engagement. If UX is not being improved by data collection, then the company is either wasting resources or collecting the wrong data.
People no longer expect just their phone to be smart. Now they want their entire home to get involved. That actually means even more collection of data. Just think about projects such as Amazon Echo. Everything a person says is going through the system to provide up-to-date information for the user. That data flows both ways, however. Is your business ready to become integrated into the smart homes of consumers?
2014 was the year that programmatic advertising became a buzzword. It was a great way to get every company into the digital marketing world, but it certainly is not the future of the industry. Expect companies to reevaluate how their digital ad dollars were spent in 2014. Digital campaigns in 2015 will be more targeted, as businesses are becoming savvier when it comes to digital marketing.
Finally, while a few companies have hit it big over the last few years with real-time marketing, too many have suffered huge failures in an attempt to jump on the bandwagon. Timing is everything with real-time marketing, and most companies are not equipped to handle it properly. Plus, there is always a greater degree of risk in real-time marketing. Like with programmatic, expect real-time marketing and other high-risk scenarios taking a back seat to digital marketing methods that are paying off more consitently.
Customer Engagement Through Mobile: How Many Should You Be Reaching?
Many in the business world are saying that a mere six percent is the sweet spot. But, the fact is, this figure only includes consumer engagement and not necessarily a sale. Would you count that kind of a figure a success? If six percent of your customers download your app and none of them even use it to make a purchase through the app, what did you gain? At most, you get a small percentage of in-store sales through a coupon on the app. Or, maybe you sell some advertising space.
It is well known that consumers are doing their research on mobile devices before making purchases. Can you take your customers from the planning phase to the buying stage, right there on their mobile device? Now, that is a far more tangible success. Use your app as the jump point between research and sale.
Take 1-800 Contacts as an example. What do you think holds people back from buying contacts online? Before filling a prescription, contact sellers need to see the prescription. That’s something that has to happen in person, right? I mean, some people will be willing to type in the info, but if they mistype something, or misread the doctor’s handwriting, they are stuck with useless contacts and no recourse. A lot of people are unwilling to take that chance. Enter the 1-800 Contact app, which lets you send in your prescription via taking a photo with your mobile device. This puts the responsibility on the company to get your prescription right. Customers feel more secure and mobile sales ensue. The app isn’t just fluff. It’s a sales device.
The other thing to consider about customer engagement through mobile is when to engage your consumers. Will it be considered a convenience or terrifying if a coupon pops up on their phone when they come within a certain distance of your store? Some people may spend a little extra thanks to the incentive. While I, for one, welcome personalization, others may feel that tracking their location is an invasion of privacy. You have to gauge how your customers will deal with such a mobile solicitation.
Mobile is Rapidly Changing: The World of Technology
Mobile is rapidly changing, almost on a daily basis, and it can be easy for companies to get left in the wake. What are some of the most current trends that you need to keep up with in order to stay relevant?
More people than ever are shopping directly from their smartphone or tablet. Has your company developed a mobile website or an app for mobile users? Did you decide that responsive design is the better option for your company? The fact that people will judge your company based on their experience surfing your site from their mobile devices can be nerve wracking. It is up to you to make sure that online shopping with your company is an enjoyable experience.
Then, there is the collision of the world’s two current great passions: health and fitness and technology. The result has been numerous wearable devices, and now even Apple® has gotten on board with a smart watch. Fitness has become a major concern for people, beyond just New Year’s resolutions. Whether it is the combination of fast food and video games, which has led to an obese world, or, just that people are obsessed with looking like their favorite superhero or Victoria’s Secret model, there is no doubt that fitness is a major fad. Leave it to technology to capitalize on this too. The question is: can your business benefit from this trend?
Finally, mobile usage is almost synonymous with social media. Whether it is Facebook®, Instagram®, Pinterest®, Twitter®, or another networking app, people constantly want to be connected. To reach mobile users, you need to meet them on their turf, and that means providing engaging content across various social media platforms.
It seems the one thing that isn’t going to change is the fact that mobile is rapidly changing—and digital marketing needs to change along with it. It’s time to take stock of your business stands and ensure that you haven’t fallen too far behind in the mobile marketing race.
Have The Tides Finally Turned on Television Advertising?
Television advertising has been on a constant increase in market share for ad spending over the past few decades, all the way through 2013—despite claims that TV ads are dead. Industry forecasters, however, claim that TV is finally about to lose a little ground. Not much, but a little. Should it affect your marketing strategy?
Thirty years ago, TV was struggling to grab one third of advertising spending. Last year, it finally broke the 40 percent mark. Forecasters predict that over the next couple of years, that number will dip back under 40 percent. That still leaves TV advertising as the king of the mountain. It’s just a tiny bit lower on the podium.
So what media is TV losing its share of the pie to? Mobile advertising. No surprises there. But don’t let the shift fool you into thinking that mobile advertising has taken over the industry overnight. Right now, it only holds a hair over two and quarter percent of spending on ads. Predictions claim that this percentage will climb to more than seven and half percent by 2016. That puts mobile advertising in a position to surpass both magazine and radio advertising expenditures in the next couple of years. TV is still sitting atop its throne in the advertising kingdom. Desktop is the closest competitor with an expected increase from 17.9 to 18.9 percent of ad spending between the 2013 and 2016 calendar years.
So what does this mean for your business? Clearly, it’s not time to pull out of TV. This is still the number one way to reach your audience. That having been said, the biggest growth will be in digital advertising, and primarily in the mobile arena, as the world’s eyes become more and more firmly affixed to their smartphones and tablets.
Where Are People Spending Their Money? More Often on Mobile Devices Than Desktops
It’s sad to say, but many businesses are still not sinking their money into mobile advertising – at least not as much as they should be. The fact is that almost everyone has at least one mobile device—if not several. This is where people spend most of their time looking. Mobile devices now make up more than a fifth of all web traffic.
Most people only check their social networking sites on their mobile devices. All of the biggest technology companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and more are focusing on making mobile devices. For many, a mobile device is the first thing they check when they wake up, and the last thing they use before going to bed. The portrait of the American family is no longer one of everyone sitting in front of the TV. It’s everyone sitting in front of their mobile devices.
So here’s the thing: if people are on their mobile devices, and that’s where they’re spending their money, where should your ad campaigns be focused? That’s why two thirds of senior execs that were polled in one survey claimed that they were going to focus more on mobile advertising. But saying it and doing it are two different things. There’s a huge workload involved in the shift to mobile marketing.
In the end, as people become multitasking monsters, the marketing industry has to follow suit. You can’t just go after consumers on one screen and hope you catch them looking. Even the best brands need to keep on top of the current data and respond accordingly. So the key for marketing right now is to engage consumers with whatever format they are currently most active on.