5 Key Trends To Watch (And Use) In Mobile/Location-Based Marketing

Mobile is quickly becoming one of the most important (if not the most important) channels for marketers to focus on. As more and more users do more and more on their smart phones and tablets, understanding the needs and wants of prospects and customers is critical. On the heels of mobile/internet analyst extraordinaire Mary Meeker’s now famous […]

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mobile-devices-trendsMobile is quickly becoming one of the most important (if not the most important) channels for marketers to focus on.

As more and more users do more and more on their smart phones and tablets, understanding the needs and wants of prospects and customers is critical.

On the heels of mobile/internet analyst extraordinaire Mary Meeker’s now famous Internet Trends presentation — and with a nod to the fact that we are halfway through 2014 — the timing seems right to take a look at some key trends in mobile and location-based marketing.

The Trends

Within Ms. Meeker’s report, it’s interesting to note that three of her top four “High-Level User/Usage Trends” are mobile focused. Those top four are:

  • Internet Users
    <10% Y/Y growth & slowing… fastest growth in more difficult to monetize developing markets like India / Indonesia / Nigeria
  • Smartphone Subscribers
    +20% strong growth though slowing… fastest growth in underpenetrated markets like China / India / Brazil / Indonesia
  • Tablets
    +52% early stage rapid unit growth
  • Mobile Data Traffic
    +81% accelerating growth… video = strong driver

If we circled one of those trends as the most important, I’d argue that it is the growth of tablets. One of the things that is driving massive mobile adoption — because it is considered a mobile device — is the rapid adoption of tablets. That particular trend is driving at least three and maybe four of the key trends outlined in this post.

Those trends, in no particular order, are:

  1. Omni-channel is king
  2. Video is more important than ever
  3. Everything is aware
  4. Discovery is the new black
  5. Data, data and more data

What Makes For A Good Omni-Channel Experience

I covered this topic back in March in a post titled, It’s Omni-Channel, Stupid! Don’t Adopt Mobile-Focused Marketing.

And while it is not meant to suggest that marketers shouldn’t focus on mobile, it is intended to be a reminder that the full customer journey — whether it is B2C or B2B — must be taken into consideration. A few of the main foci regarding this trend are:

  • Focus on seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available shopping channels
  • Drive responsive design/great user experience (including UI)
  • Well-mapped out journey, including use cases/personas are key

Mobile Video FTW!

The eye opener around this trend was the fact that so many people are engaging and digesting content — especially video content — via the mobile web. This trend is also reinforced by Mary Meeker’s fourth bullet around mobile traffic data. To dive deeper, my most recent post provides tips from three video experts. The most important takeaways around this trend are:

  • 40% of all YouTube views are via mobile; majority usage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest is also mobile
  • Keep it short, make sure audio quality is good and absolutely review on several mobile devices before releasing
  • Take advantage of mobile functionality: touch, connectivity, location and time if possible

With A Plethora Of Sensing Devices, New Possibilities Arise

shutterstock_119724181-mobile-locationThree years ago, I co-authored a Dummies book with Mike Schneider called Location-Based Marketing for Dummies. While writing the book, we realized that location would not only become more passive, but would also be aided by things like Geo-fences and sensors. This was also a topic that came up a few times in my 2014 experts prediction post from December of last year. Notable takeaways surrounding this trend are:

  • Location has moved from active to passive (as mentioned above)
  • New technologies like BLE (low energy blue tooth beacons), use of indoor magnetic fields and geo-fences make for new engagement opportunities
  • Location is the new “cookie”

Location Is Becoming Embedded In Everything We Do; More Discovery

When foursquare announced that it was splitting off the check-in capability from its current app to create a new sub-app called “Swarm,” this signaled a new direction in location-based technologies.

Other than a core group of about a million users, most people using apps like foursquare are wanting to discover cafes, restaurants, print shops etc. This is important for companies that want to be included in customers’ and prospects’ consideration sets moving forward. To that end, companies need to be aware that:

  • Location-based technologies originally focused on active check-ins, rewards, recognition
  • Foursquare recently tacked to be more like Yelp and Google (Swarm is for 1M active checkers-in)
  • New opportunity to leverage paid in conjunction with organic; critical to think about your overall user experience

Data (Especially Mobile) Is The New Currency

It is no secret that digital data is proliferating at a breakneck pace. One of the main drivers of that data is mobile technology. With more and more usage of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube coming from mobile devices and the digesting of content moving from paper and even laptops to tablets, the mobile web is becoming the center of the online universe.

Unlocking the insights from this data should not only be a top priority for marketers, but it also gives them a critical third dimension. Now they know not just the “who” and the “what” but also the “where.” Key takeaways for this trend are:

  • Value exchange is critical; the quid pro quo is more critical than ever
  • Important to be looking at mobile/location-based data separately, but as part of a bigger whole
  • What patterns are emerging? How does behavior differ? How can you drive better experiences and content?

Are you keeping up with these trends? It’s not too late if you aren’t. But just like the early days of social, the marketers that are experimenting and taking advantage of where the mobile and location-aware world is headed are yielding early learnings that give them a competitive advantage.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Aaron Strout
Aaron Strout is Chief Marketing Officer at integrated marketing and communications firm, W2O Group. During his tenure with the company, he has served as President of WCG and head of W2O's technology practice. Aaron has 20 plus years of social media, mobile, online marketing and advertising experience, with a strong background in integrated marketing. Prior to joining W2O, Aaron spent time as the CMO of Powered Inc. (now part of Dachis Group), VP of social media at online community provider, Mzinga, and as director of digital marketing at Fidelity Investments. Aaron is the co-author of Location Based Marketing for Dummies (Wiley) and writes a monthly mobile/location-based marketing column on MarTech.org. He also recently launched the What 2 Know podcast (iTunes) which features industry leaders talking about innovation and best practices.

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