The mobile channel grows in size and activity every year. This growth is taking place across multiple sectors. Take the travel industry, for example. According to eMarketer, approximately 36 million American smartphone owners will have used their devices to research travel information by the end of the year. The firm further predicts that the number of people who use smartphones to book travel accommodations will increase to 36.3 million a year from 15.8 million by 2016.
While consumers are largely responsible for the growth of mobile, the marketing community is playing its part as well. A study conducted by online marketing firm Acquity Group revealed that 70% of marketers are planning to increase their mobile budgets in 2013. Financial budgets are strained, but it looks like businesses realize that mobile could very well be the key to turning fortunes around.
More brands will draw up strategies targeting the smartphone and tablet populations. That is a given. But what tactics will fuel those strategies? Below we have outlined three mobile marketing trends to look forward to in 2013.
Mobile Site Optimization
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Initially, marketers have been just happy to have mobile-friendly sites. Now they realize that there is much more to having a presence in this fast growing arena. I think 2013 will be the year that marketers really start buckling down and optimizing their mobile destinations. When it comes to mobile site optimization, there are many paths to travel, including:
Responsive site design: No two devices are the same, and with so many operating systems to account for, the differences are even greater. Responsive site design is the key to creating a consistent experience across multiple devices. It allows your message to make an impact any time, anywhere.
Mobile SEO: People aren’t just going directly to mobile websites. Many of them are using search engines to get there. Pretty soon, searching from a mobile device could be as common as doing so from a computer. Marketers who optimize accordingly will be ahead in the visibility war.
Testing: One of the biggest mistakes made by mobile marketers is overlooking the importance of testing. Split and multi-variate testing are essential to getting it right, opposed to just taking wild guesses that are more likely to be wrong.
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In early October 2012, Facebook announced that it has over 1 billion active users. While other sites are far from this astounding number, social media as a whole has a huge audience. The ability to easily share content and extend the reach of a given message has made social integration an attractive proposition. Opportunistic mobile marketers will be all over this one in 2013.
If there was ever a match made in digital heaven, it would have to be mobile and social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or one of several other sites, many of the social networks receive their traffic from mobile devices. These two channels are right for one another, and make perfect complements to the cross-platform marketing strategy. From SMS text-based campaigns to personalized app experiences, the potential of this partnership is just too much to ignore.
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Tablets and smartphones are often lumped together in the same category of mobile devices. I guess it’s understandable seeing that they generally use the same operating systems in Android, iOS, and Windows. Having said all that, it is important to note that tablets are not one in the same with smartphones and should be treated as such. I hope that this is something more marketers come to understand as we head into a new year.
A tablet has a larger screen and other features that distinguish it from a smartphone. However, many elements are the same. For this reason, what we might start seeing is sites that are specifically designed to cater to both types of devices, rather than the one-size-fits-all mobile approach that is already too common. Whether its capitalizing on their strengths or using separate sites for different audiences, you will definitely want to get with your design team to make sure both tablet and smartphone users are accounted for.
Evolution of the Mobile World
Although it seems like it’s been around forever, mobile is still a new channel with numerous kinks to work out. Mistakes will be made, but what’s important is making the effort to find out what works. At least by staying on top of the new and emerging trends, we can learn what methods may or may not be worth the effort for our individual situations.
Written by Francis Santos. Edited by Rahul Chowdhury.
Featured Image Source: Troy Jack