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2013: the year of mobile… again

people with mobile phones

We’ve all heard it time and again, the strident claim: “This is the year of mobile.” An overused statement? Possibly. One that rings true nevertheless? Certainly. Because, in fact, every year is the year in which mobile is stronger than it was the year before.

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And markedly so. While growth in the global mobile market has stagnated, it’s worth remembering that there’s not much space left to grow, a very different scenario to the one we faced a few years ago. In this increasingly mobile world, we are constantly on the move and need/want to be connected at all times and in all places, and mobile trend predictions for 2013 and beyond, abound. Growth of applications, an increasing number of smartphones and tablets being sold and a significant shift in ad spend as marketers realise the need to reach their consumer on the mobile playing fields.

Consumer concerns
Identifying people’s concerns remains a priority with safety of information topping the list. As interaction in the mobile space increases, so too do concerns that information remains secure and private. Mobile banking, cloud storage and releasing private information online is fast becoming the norm, but providers need to ensure they put people at ease with products that are 100% reliable and transparent. If your consumer does not trust you then you will not last long in the mobile space.

Invasion of privacy
With constant connectivity and multiple layers of online social interlinking comes the concern that the consumer’s private space is being invaded. While the goal of marketing is to get your message across, brands need to ensure they do not intrude with unwanted spam. Targeting is essential to guarantee you are speaking to a relevant market. In this sense you are able to play to one of mobile’s main strengths as it is a highly targetable medium.

What’s ‘app-ening?
While the increasing number of apps which come into the market each year are indicative of positive mobile growth, advertisers and mobile marketers now find themselves in a more competitive space. As such, ensure your apps not only stand out from the rest, but are easy to use and have been thoroughly tested.

People won’t waste time on an app that does not work or is hard to understand. And while apps are a great way to bring your product across to your audience, relying on in-app advertising to fund the application is risky. Unsold advertising inventory is a revenue opportunity lost forever: but inventory sold to the wrong kind of advertisers could mean a client lost forever. So, exercise caution when selling your mobile inventory as a bad choice can have negative effects on your app and your business as a whole.

Remember where you are
Apps are all the rage, yes, but don’t forget the market you’re operating in. If you live an emerging market country with a low smartphone penetration rate, apps are not going to cut it for you if you are promoting a product or service which has a largely mass market appeal.

That means you have to be flexible in your approach and creative in your thinking. In broad terms, most of the functionality found in an application can be replicated on a mobisite, and often the functionality of a mobisite can be replicated using an effectively conceptualised USSD string. Be aware that you may need to find workarounds to suit your local mobile environment.

Yes, it is the year of mobile, and yes mobile is the online of the future (or even of the now), so it’s a great space to be working in as the industry continues to grow and gain a mass market. However, with every opportunity there are challenges and we need to be aware of these. Embrace the trends, develop new apps and create exciting platforms to entice your targeted audience, but keep potential pitfalls top of mind to ensure you are successful.

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