Bold Predictions For Mobile In 2015 From ad:tech New York
What's on the horizon for mobile marketing? Columnist Andrew Waber dives into some key takeaways from ad:tech New York.
In last month’s column, we looked at three different usage-based stats that help frame the mobile ecosystem for marketers.
Now that we have a kind of “lay of the land,” we’ll touch on specific issues — ones that were brought up at November’s ad:tech New York show and seem destined to make an impact in 2015.
“Phablets” Will Drive Roughly 30% Of North American Mobile Traffic By End 2015
Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Note smartphone in 2011, sporting a 5.3-inch screen that left many industry watchers in the U.S. wondering about the viability of the device stateside. Since that time, Samsung has successfully released three new Galaxy Note editions in North America, each sporting a larger screen than the last.
The company’s initial success has driven LG, Motorola, HTC, Apple, and nearly every other smartphone brand to release a smartphone with a five-inch or larger screen — Google’s latest Nexus phone even touches the six-inch mark.
If you had any doubt whether North American users have a growing affinity for these larger smartphones, look no further than the statistics:
Between September 2013 and 2014, North American smartphone-based Web traffic driven by users of five-inch or larger devices grew from 6.9 to 17.9% — a more than 150% increase.
By the time 2015 comes to an end, it’s reasonable to expect that about one-third of all continental smartphone web usage will be driven by these devices. Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus will provide no small degree of help here, as the device was only two-weeks old during the 2014 study period.
Emerging Markets Become Models For Domestic Mobile Payments
With Apple Pay, mobile payments authoritatively entered the wider U.S national consciousness. But while Apple, Google, and other players slug it out to shape the domestic ecosystem, the technology has already gained much more significant traction across much of the world.
One notable service, M-Pesa, is an SMS-based mobile payment service by Vodafone that has been very successful across several African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian countries. The service recently expanded into Romania in Eastern Europe, and has an incredible amount of utility in areas where mobile phones are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and bank account ownership rates are low.
India has been on the front lines here, with a variety of mobile payment services becoming the de facto method of transferring money for a sizable percentage of its lower and middle-class population. This is unlikely to slow, with cellphone ownership expected to increase in kind:
“Extrapolating from current trends, there will be 600 million users with smartphones by 2020 in India. This translates to at least one in every household.”
— Rajesh Jain, Chief People Officer of netCORE Solutions
Marketers operating in these areas will have the unique opportunity of interacting with a growing percentage of users that are not only comfortable purchasing items with their phone, they arguably prefer it.
Observations here will be incredibly helpful in teaching domestic marketers what a mature mobile payments ecosystem looks like. For instance:
- What are the best, most lucrative or simplest use cases that enhance the consumer’s experience?
- Where might the pain points be to stakeholders throughout the ecosystem and how can they be alleviated?
Proximity Technology Makes Itself Known
Low-Energy Bluetooth and other proximity tools are technologies that have had marketers salivating for some time. The use cases range anywhere from a promotional “ping” when a customer walks by a given product, to heat maps showing how customers move through a store.
Thus far, domestic companies have only dipped their proverbial toe in the water when it comes to deployment, experimenting with the technology in a limited fashion for research than for any kind of engagement with an actual customer.
Expect this to shift in 2015 with beacon-enabled technology becoming slightly more visible. The industry has largely decided that using third-party SDKs to embed proximity functionality into existing apps is the best way to increase adoption, which will help accelerate retailer initiatives.
Additionally, the application of user proximity to manipulate things like in-store displays, rather than just a push message to the phone itself, is seemingly less intrusive and a better means of expanding, rather than distracting from, the customer’s in-store experience.
Due to the multi-layered strategy of brands within the U.S., rollouts may be slow going, but proximity technology is a green field for marketing creativity, with best practices set to become clearly evident once businesses begin taking the full plunge.