Quality mobile marketing research has evolved well over the past two years, allowing individuals and companies to take advantage of the mobile space at an unprecedented rate. There is now a standard definition also offered by the Mobile Marketing Association. It is “a set of practices that enables organizations and businesses to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network”.
While half a billion people accessed mobile internet worldwide in 2009, usage is projected to double within five years. It’s a simple truth that mobile is overtaking the PC as the most popular way to get on the web. And marketers are projected to begin allocating resources to mobile this year. In the U.S alone, Forrester forecasts that marketing spend on mobile display ads and search will surpass US$1-billion in 2011. That means marketers are set to find quantifiable ROI (return on investment) on mobile for generating real leads, driving foot traffic, and selling products and services.
According to the stats of this mobithinking report, those intending on mobile strategies should be successful. Subscribers of mobile services are set to pass five billion, more than 70% over the world’s class. China and India are without surprise leading the surge, while the smartphones have shown the strongest growth.
Before this year has ended, more than 85% of new handsets will be able to access the mobile web, though not all will be smartphones.
A strong caution from the report shows operators in developed countries could run out of profit in the next two to four years if they do not change their business models.
Take Google as a measure of where the trends lie: US$1-billion in annual mobile ad revenues, were accrued in 2010 and US mobile ad revenues alone are expected to hit US$1-billion this year. An average of one in five mobile subscribers have access to fast mobile internet (3G or better).
When it comes to communication, text is top of the list. 6.1 trillion messages were sent in 2010. Hype around mobile email, instant messaging (IM), multimedia messaging services (MMS) and SMS is predicted to exceed 10 trillion in 2013.
Mobile apps are moving fast with 300 000 mobile apps developed in three years and downloaded 10.9 billion times. But the rise won’t be forever. Analysts in the latest report say it will peak in 2013.
According to the Miami Herald, text message marketing provides small business owners with unfiltered direct access to the one device that can’t be ignored and one of the most powerful marketing tools we’ve got.
“As a small business owner, you’ve got the responsibility of respecting the customer’s privacy. Messages that provide little value to the customer will affect your brand in a negative way. No one wants advertising on their phone but they do want timely, relevant and value-driven offers.”
Where the money is, there is also significant opportunity. By 2013 1 billion people will access financial services by mobile. The market for financial services will be dominated by Asia, driven by mobile operator-led initiatives in developing nations to bank the unbanked sector of the population.
Around half of the world’s mobile subscribers could be paying by mobile (mPayments) come 2014 – and mCommerce is predicted to reach US$119 billion in 2015.
“If you can type, you can be a mobile marketer today.” adds the Miami Herald. “Businesses will distribute 70 million mobile coupons by 2013, according to the Yankee Group, a technology research firm based in Boston. The time to start texting your customers the offers they want is now!”
The researchers behind the latest mobithinking report say that an unfortunate side effect of the recent surge of enthusiasm for mobile in the past year has been a tendency to highlight data of dubious quality, even when better quality data is readily available.
“This isn’t just misleading and confusing, it’s damaging. If brands are persuaded by hype to divert funds into niche, ill-thought-through mobile projects and then get burnt, the whole mobile business suffers,” notes the report.
The lesson is clear. Temper the understandable enthusiasm for the potential of mobile with a rigorous scrutiny of the hype. The potential is undisputed, but add a pinch of salt when sifting through the coverage of mobile marketing and commerce.