Recently, I attended a session hosted by DMA and Mobile Marketer regarding the state of mobile advertising, one of the fastest growing digital advertising channels. Over the course of the day I learned about recent advancements in the industry as well as strategies to assist brands looking to develop a mobile marketing campaign.
The mobile space encompasses all users who view the internet either through their mobile smartphone device or through a tablet. Shortly, we will be heading into a post PC world where total usage of smartphones, tablets and upcoming products will eclipse total usage of the desktop/laptop. What's amazing is the speed at which this transformation is taking place. In 2011, there were a total of 117.9 million smartphones in the US and that number will continue to rise to 155.6 million in 2012, a 32% increase. Tablet usage is growing even faster, with the US tablet user base reaching 33.7 million in 2011, and expected to nearly double to 54.8 million in 2012, a 62.8% increase (eMarketer).
From the presentations at the summit and from speaking with other executives in the mobile business, it is clear that larger brands are taking steps to address the radical shifts in web usage taking place. Design wise, brands are encouraged to have responsive web designed pages, crafted with fluid proportion-based grids which adapt the layout to the viewing environment so users across a broad range of devices and browsers will have access to a single source of content. A good example of this is JetBlue's newly redesigned home pages; larger buttons and simple navigation were purposely incorporated into the site to account for the increase in users accessing the site with their tablets.
The reality is that if they haven't already, brands need to also address mobile in their overall marketing mix and acquisition strategies. A good starting point is to define what problem you are trying to solve with mobile marketing and then look to develop a campaign strategy that will address that issue. Until now, many brands have looked at mobile as purely a tool to build stronger ties with existing customers. However, with the growth of mobile usage, combined with the familiarity and comfort that consumers have with their devices, new customer acquisition and lead generation through mobile is increasingly becoming a reality. When executed correctly, there is no reason why a lead generation and acquisition campaign cannot take place through a mobile experience.
Another area of interest during the summit was the growth of mobile applications in the marketing mix and the strategies being used to promote installations. Again, with the incredible growth of the mobile app ecosystem, brands know they need to have a presence and a dedicated app strategy. Mobile applications have greatly increased the number of innovative ways that brands can interact and attract consumers, however, like building a great website, it is simply not enough to build an app and wait for users. Brands are employing a number of tactics for driving installs, from viral campaigns to paid mobile media, but it is clear that a strong strategy on how you plan to promote your app is a key component even before building it.
Overall, it is an exciting time to be a part of the mobile advertising marketplace. Successful digital marketing strategies such as lead generation, search and display have been adapted, customized and optimized for mobile devices and new strategies such as mobile application installs have been developed in order to address this new medium. With a full range of mobile marketing solutions, it is great to see advertisers embrace the mobile industry as we enter the post PC age.