Mobile marketing predictions for 2017 from 11 industry veterans
What's in store for mobile marketers in the new year? Columnist Aaron Strout asks mobile-savvy colleagues and clients to share their forecasts for 2017.
Yes, it’s time to look forward to 2017 and take a stab at predicting what important events and developments will impact mobile and location-based marketing. And while I have several thoughts of my own in terms of what will move the needle, I find it’s always helpful to get some outside perspective, particularly from smart people both inside and outside the industry.
To that end, I asked about 20 friends, colleagues and clients for their input. From that group, I received 11 responses. Of course, I would have liked a few more female voices represented (my initial list was split pretty evenly between men and women) but c’est la vie.
Before we dive in, I always find it helpful to set the stage with some current statistics:
- According to eMarketer, there are nearly two billion smartphones worldwide, with 200 million or so of those in the US (nearly 65 percent of the population). The growth here is slowing in mature markets but continues to be strong in developing countries like India, Brazil and Russia.
- Nearly 50 percent of all time spent consuming digital media is done through a smartphone, according to ComScore.
- Cisco’s Global Mobile Traffic Report tells us, “Mobile data traffic has grown 4,000-fold over the past 10 years and almost 400 million-fold over the past 15 years.” That is a lot of growth and will only skyrocket as mobile video continues to consume bandwidth.
- In Mary Meeker’s well-respected “Internet Trends report in 2016,” she points out that in the US alone, 25 percent of users’ time in 2016 was spent on mobile, but only 12 percent of ad budgets went toward mobile advertising. To that end, Meeker estimates that creates $21 billion in untapped advertising opportunity for mobile.
- For location-based marketing, no one technology has emerged. Bluetooth Low Energy, RFID, geofences and so on have had moderate success in providing data and opportunities to engage with customers down to the shelf level, but scale and adoption continue to hinder the real unlocking of this space.
With that as a backdrop, let’s get on with the predictions:
Mobile marketing is going to make way for even better mobile product experiences. You’ll know how valuable your product experience is by how little you’re able to get away with spending on marketing.
Having to spend less on mobile marketing should be the new goal.
Nearly every lower tier of Maslow’s pyramid is being provided via mobile devices and apps: physiological, belonging, esteem and, to some degree, safety — from food to transportation to social approval to banking. The next generation of apps will provide bigger meaning, purpose and perhaps even self-actualization to help humans be their best selves.
As automakers continue to keep up with the fast pace of innovation and disruption, we’ll continue to see more conversation about mobility. That is, where mobile technology and automotive technology meet — and it will extend beyond the vehicle itself as consumers adopt new ways to move around and connect.
2017 will be the year when forward-thinking marketers move from their historical “checkbox” approach to mobile towards an omnichannel strategy. The goal is to reach consumers with a consistent brand experience regardless of platform, and to leverage usage data across those platforms to continually customize and improve that experience.
Mobile marketing will take a backseat to mobile service in industries ranging from health care to retail. Medical providers will invest more into app-based well-care programs as they attempt to contain costs.
Meanwhile, in retail, Amazon Go demonstrates how stores are moving toward frictionless service via apps rather than using mobile just for offers.
The future of mobile marketing will be grounded in understanding the dynamic between loving our connection to our mobile devices and a deep human need to disconnect. More and more, I see people taking a break from the onslaught of information in their feeds.
The rise in popularity of wellness and meditation apps shows what a true struggle this is. How can marketers be 100 percent accessible and also show respect for the consumer need for balance in our mobile life?
One of the major initiatives that we, at Phunware, are advancing in 2017 is the application of deep learning and artificial neural nets across our audience building and monetization stack. The continued worldwide adoption and usage of mobile devices are driving a corresponding explosion in big data.
Smart mobile marketers will move to create intelligent algorithms that connect to and ingest any data, learn to predict desired outcomes, and automate decision-making systems. This, in turn, will enable intelligent bid optimization, hyper-targeted and dynamic content delivery, and help to uncover niche audience segmentations based on rich behavioral and location data.
In 2017, we will witness the maturity of the indoor sensor market. This is not just about beacons, but the engagement of sensors of all types: beacons, WiFi, smart lighting, magnetic and more. This will be driven not by the sensors themselves, but by the integration of these platforms with existing software systems that manage CRM, POS and loyalty platforms within the same enterprises seeking these sensors.
Failure by emerging hardware providers to enable this integration will lead to many failed companies, but also present larger software providers like Adobe, IBM, Oracle and others to pounce on the market.
Our desktop experience is truly shifting to a mobile-first perspective. In fact, mobile has finally caught up to where desktops will become secondary. Computers in our hands will start to shift via true AI and voice recognition to provide a higher level of digital assistance that understands our human context and can deliver the right information when we need it.
Visual mobile content, notably video, will rise in relative importance. Emergence of more integrated mobile advertising options in our apps will get stronger, specifically in H2H (human to human) marketplaces (e.g., retail and travel apps). The challenge remains in mobile delivering quality as brands use storytelling with an educational and entertainment approach vs. straight sales.
Given the rise of fake news at the same time that consumers continue to express confusion about native advertising terminology, I think we’re going to see trust labels popping up on content. On mobile, these will be shorthand and may end up color-coded: red for fake news, green for fact-checked publications like The New York Times, and yellow for sponsored content or native advertising.
As trust labeling evolves, I’m hoping there will be a modified green (lime?) rating for branded content from sources that have proven themselves to observe the highest values of editorial.
2017 will be about leveraging the context of the user and unique device capabilities, which is a big opportunity for brands. Very few have done this well thus far.
I think we’ll see increasing sophistication in “mobile first” or “customer first” campaigns in 2017. The landscape is still ripe with opportunity for agencies and brands to do groundbreaking creative that leverages the context of the user and capabilities of mobile devices to drive engagement and distribution.
So there you have it. Eleven smart insights from 11 very intelligent business people. And while I didn’t provide any of my own insights here, stay tuned for a post I’m working on about key mobile and location-based trends for 2017.