Just a week ago I was reading an article which was regurgitating the same old line – is this the year of the mobile? For those working in the industry, we all know that mobile internet has received strong enough penetration to consider it an important digital channel – one which cannot be ignored.
In fact in a recent report from Mark Meeker’s, from Morgan Stanley it was declared that by 2014 mobile will become the primary device for accessing the internet reinforcing just how big a role mobile will play in our digital strategy in the coming years. However just like social media the mobile space is moving rapidly and organisations are beginning to innovate in the space. So what are some of the trends emerging beyond those that we have already witnessed like Augmented Reality. 5 of the most interesting I have come across are detailed below.
Comparison Shopping – Mobile Style
The introduction of applications like ShopSavvy will provide consumers with new ways to compare and shop on the move. Named a potential game charger – comparsion apps combine location with traditional comparison technology to enable consumers to do online research out in the field. By scanning bar codes users can compare prices of the products in the area simplifying the process of “shopping around”.
Jeffrey Grau a senior analyst from eMarketer recently said “Until now, researching online and buying in a store have been sequential activities that take place hours, days or even weeks apart. But customers who bring their Web-enabled mobile phones with them into a store can do online research at the point of a purchase decision.”
Gartner analysts are predicting an explosion in mobile transactions this year, with the number of such purchases likely to increase by over 50%. The data, compiled by Gartner, showed the Asia-Pacific region to be the leader in mobile transactions, with 41.8 million users in 2009 – a number which is expected to rise to 62.8 million by the end of 2010. However with Australian retailers behind on the general commerce front it will be interesting to see how quickly retailers will embrace mobile commerce opportunities.
Location Based Marketing & CRM for Mobile
Globally in markets such as the US and UK, mobile is providing a key tool to drive traffic and sales to traditional bricks and mortar retailers – bridging the gap between online and in-store purchases. Mobile coupons are one of the key ways in which retailers such as Subway and Target are using mobile to drive consumers in-store. This presents a significant opportunity for Australian retailers who are yet to be convinced about the value driven through investment in online channels to drive sales in-store.
A newer opportunity is also surfacing and could also revolutionise mobile marketing and that is Geo-fencing. A geo-fence is a virtual field around a location that is used to shoot a mobile message to a user when they come into or leave that area through applications. For brands who have engaged consumers in the mobile space, geo-fencing presents an opportunity to communicate to their audience in a timely, relevant manner – based on their location. By doing so retailers will be able to drive repeat patronage in store and potentially increase share of wallet from its consumer base.
Both Google (AdMob) and Apple (iAds) are heavily investing in networks to monetise the increasing number of applications being loaded into app stores. Unlike other forms of advertising networks, mobile networks can combine location based data with user profiles to deliver a new targeting capability. And whilst statistics of mobile advertising vs other forms show market share is still relatively small the opportunity is significant. The Apple iStore alone has experienced over 4 billion downloads for free apps – and this sheer volume of consumer usage and engagement is one which many marketers will be looking to leverage – particularly early on. Like any newer form of media, consumer interaction is high partly due to lower advertiser saturation rates and noise. Statistics currently show that that appvertising campaigns are delivering response rates of between .3% – 6%.
Location Based Social Media
Location based social media is one other area that is significantly on the rise. FourSquare, Gowalla, Google Latitude and others are rapidly innovating and consumer take up is rapidly increasing. A month ago I provided a full overview of these networks and how they are changing the mobile and social landscape along with the opportunities they will present to marketers.
What other trends do you see emerging in the mobile space? Share them below.