2015 was an exciting year for mobile in Asia Pacific, as more consumers tapped away on their mobile phones to do anything from socialising to banking and from planning their travels to purchasing their groceries. Mobile, in short, has become a catalyst for transformation in the way we live our lives.
This momentum is only set to grow in 2016, and as technology and innovation continue to drive the way forward, here are seven key predictions that I believe will define the state of mobile marketing in the coming year.
1. Deeper understanding of consumers’ needs
Given the immediacy of mobile and its proximity to each individual consumer, mobile technology is making it easier than ever to recognise what consumers need at every step of their journey. As such, in addition to traditional methods of obtaining consumer insights, like focus groups and surveys, consumers’ own behavioural data on mobile will now form a much stronger input to any marketing and advertising strategy.
Marketers will start looking at how and when customers want to be reached, especially with the myriad of communication channels mobile offers—be it text, voice, video, email, apps, or mobile sites. They will work to understand consumer behaviour trends through localised lens and look at what is driving the use of mobile in each country, whether it’s for gaming, messaging or shopping, sharing videos, photos or news. This allows the brands to identify how they can add value to consumers’ lives.
2. More innovative and creative content to come
With greater focus on consumer needs, it follows that brands and marketers are held to a much higher standard of creativity and innovation. Forward thinking firms will continue to benefit from running mobile-first campaigns that embrace mobile capabilities to share content and stories that resonate with consumers in new ways.
For example, in 2016, innovative content about sustainable lifestyle and real-time tracking of carbon consumption could prove more appealing, especially in the aftermath of the widely acclaimed United Nations climate change summit recently concluded in Paris. Marketers will thus be expected to devise novel approaches to roll out mobile content that drives stronger engagement, recall and purchase intent.
3. Location technology will take off
With geolocation capabilities, mobile allows brands and marketers to locate consumers within specific contexts, then speak in their language and engage with them on a one-on-one basis with a targeted message. IP address is used as a standard source of location data within the ad tech industry today, but that’s just the beginning. We have marketers using beacon technology to collect location-based data, a tool that is particularly useful within the hotel industry. With beacon technology, hotels can check in a visitor, automatically open doors and figure out where people are within the hotel.
Context has never been more vital, and mobile marketers will embrace increasingly location-based targeting and deploy precise location as a tool in their audience segmentation mix. Marketers will be able to tailor a consumer experience based on their proximity to a particular event or establishment and as such, increase the relevance of their mobile output.
4. Programmatic buying will gain prominence
The advancement of geolocation technology on mobile platforms opens up new ways to unlock real-time, insight-driven points in the consumer purchase funnel. This pool of data has provided valuable fodder for the steady rise in the adoption of programmatic this year, with nine out of 10 programmatic users in APAC now using programmatic for mobile advertising.
Programmatic will also play a greater role in strategically delivering targeted ads to platforms like mobile apps where users can continue to access relevant ads even if they have installed ad blocking capabilities to sift out the chaff.
5. Gap between e-commerce and m-commerce will diminish
As more mobile transactions take place, the divide between digital and physical commerce will diminish, and mobile will be increasingly positioned as an influencer in the retail funnel. This is especially because consumers continue to rely on their phones to browse, research, and purchase from their mobile phones alongside an expanding number of mobile payment options.
In China and Korea, m-commerce is already forming a significant proportion of all online purchases, and more are investing in setting up app shopping experiences in emerging markets like Indonesia and Vietnam. These trends hint at a future where m-commerce sales will one day dominate e-commerce sales. As customers slowly change decades of ingrained payment behaviour, brands will plan to heavily invest in on-the-spot mobile payments and connect coupons, rewards, loyalty points to mobile wallets in order to drive more sales.
6. Mobile video to go into overdrive
We expect mobile video spend, which has already shown strong growth this year, to go into overdrive now that the industry has made great strides towards measuring viewability. ComScore introduced vCE for mobile in June this year, giving brands and agencies access to the same metrics presented on desktop and an deduped view of digital campaign performance. Of course, consumers themselves are keen to watch more video as smartphones and tablets gradually become a norm.
7. Mobile-friendly websites and apps will be more crucial
With more consumers visiting sites from mobile versus desktop, it is no surprise that companies are making dramatic shifts to create a better mobile experience. Websites that are not mobile-friendly are likely to experience a significant drop in their search-engine rankings and total web traffic. In order to retain traffic, some have re-designed their sites, while others have migrated to more responsive sites.
Brands will also invest more strategically in the app ecosystem to tailor experiences that allow them to deliver maximum value for their targeted consumers. The apps are especially important for optimising functions like photo-taking and social media sharing capabilities. Of course, apps also allow brands to ensure that their stories are conveyed meaningfully to consumers, without being interrupted by ad blockers.
With the advancement of technology and strong embrace of mobile by consumers, 2016 is shaping up to be a year of decisive actions—growing capabilities, driving creative inspiration, and enhancing measurement—that will propel mobile marketing to a whole new level.
Rohit Dadwal is the managing director of the Mobile Marketing Association, Asia-Pacific