April 22, 2016
It seems like it was just last year that the mobile revolution hit us. Thought leaders wrote about the need for marketers to become mobile friendly – and fast. Search algorithms were about to change, social platforms were about to start emphasizing touchscreen-friendly types of interaction, and websites needed to be able to look good on small screens.
Today,we are firmly planted in the mobile age, and yet marketers are still trying to figure out what it all means – and what trends to capitalize on next. Mobile devices create an altogether different experience, because people use them differently than they would standard desktop computer. As such, we are seeing a shift to more mobile-first product development.
So, if you want to get in on the future of mobile marketing, it is time to get familiar with these three trends.
1. Smarter Social Messaging Apps
Gone are the days of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) being the top platform for instant messaging. Now we have a vast choice of social messaging apps, including Snapchat, Kik, Peach, WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger.
It’s where the younger generation is chatting and even where they are shopping. By the end of the year, about half of mobile phone users in the United States will use mobile messaging. In China, 91 percent of Internet users rely on instant messaging more than search, so we can see how social messaging apps are evolving.
These platforms allow us to make payments, send multimedia messages, or chat face to face with a video call. They also serve as interfaces for bot-driven interaction, whereby chat lines become command prompts.
For example, WeChat alone has a user base of nearly 700 million. It’s a multi-functional app, developed in China and originally intended for that market. The app provides free options for calling, content browsing, texting and more. It includes video and voice messaging, mobile payment options, games, taxi booking and e-commerce shopping.
2. The Rise of Branded Keyboards
You can find a huge variety of branded keyboards in your mobile device’s app store. These products are perfect branding vehicles for the mobile experience, as they allow companies to remain in front of eyeballs in a non-interruptive, organic way. People use keyboards with all of their apps, so the branded engagement spans the entire mobile experience.
Research from Kibo, a leading platform for mobile branded keyboards, found that the average mobile device user uses the keyboard over 100 times a day. Because their user bases are self-selected to be fans, Kibo-powered products have an average rating of 4.6 in the Google Play app store, and they are used hundreds of millions of times every day. They have seen millions of downloads every month in the company’s first year of operation. All this is a clear indication on the importance of keyboards within smartphone usage.
3. The Need for Advertising Viewability Standards
Ad viewability verification measures the likelihood that a person saw a display ad, using tracking pixels to determine how long the ad was on screen. Banner ads have been the norm on desktop computers for about 20 years now, so the industry is relatively established. With mobile, however, things get a bit more complex.
Because of the size of mobile screens and how users navigate with mobile devices, different publishers and ad networks measure viewability differently, which means that the industry can’t agree on the value of an ad impression. Mobile users tend to scroll up and down quickly, so if an ad does not load fast enough, the user may move past it before it is even shown.
Still, studies have shown that ad viewability on mobile may actually be higher than it is on desktop. However, without standards in place for viewability, advertisers are wary, and mobile ads. Advertisers and media buyers are demanding better viewability reporting, but networks and publishers need to establish standards if they’re going to adhere to them.
Until the Media Rating Counsel, the advertising industry’s leading measurement authority, lays down the law, it is likely that we will remain in this stalemate, which has the mobile marketing ecosystem enraptured.
Mobile devices are definitely here to stay, and while they may continue to evolve, marketers need to keep themselves abreast of current and future trends. Those that invest in audience engagement with transparently measured display ads, automated social messaging apps and branded keyboards will likely be in the best position to thrive as mobile matures.
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