As mobile marketing increases, it’s important for brands to understand the value within the overall industry and how it can be expected to provide valuable return. Many are still in the dark as to mobile or smartphone usage and just how much of the marketing strategy mobile should take up. The fact is that for many companies this is a completely new area and beyond developing a mobile site, it can be difficult to navigate the mobile industry to find out what can work for you. To help you understand this, we’ve compiled 10 essential facts for mobile marketing that show just how much this is exploding and where the opportunities lie.
People will pay for apps
When you’re producing an app for your business, the most important decision you’ll make is whether or not to charge for it, and if so, how much? The good news is that people are willing to pay for mobile apps, and the figures are encouraging for those looking to monetise their app directly. A recent surveyby Nielsen shows just how many people are willing to pay for apps, split down by category. Gaming comes out on top, with 93% of users who have downloaded a gaming app stating they would be willing to pay for it. And while the poorest performing category is news, with 76% of downloaders willing to pay to access a mobile news app, this figure is still encouraging and shows that if it’s presented in the right way, mobile content can be directly monetized.
You won’t be the first person to launch an app
Many companies make the mistake of thinking that just by launching a mobile app, that in itself is going to drastically impact their revenue or drive new customers. The fact is that you are going to be competing in a crowded market, with only a short amount of time to catch someone’s attention and keep it. The downfall of many apps produced is that the investment goes into developing the latest tech that you want to use within your app, without really looking at what purpose it is going to serve, and how you’re going to distribute it. While you may already have a big audience if you’re a larger brand, if you’re trying to promote a completely new product to them, don’t underestimate how much time and money is going to be spent on marketing. While you get the odd magic app moment where they appear as if from nowhere and take off, these are few and far between. Don’t get caught up in the tech and think your app will change the world, focus on what it needs to do first, then how you’re going to tell people about it.
Phones aren’t phones anymore
To demonstrate just how pervasive mobile internet and app usage has become, the below graph shows that people aren’t even using their phones as phones. For smartphone owners, they’re using the ‘phone’ 15% of the time, while 56% of time is spent on mobile apps, followed by email and messaging at 19%
So what does this mean for marketers? It shows the huge appetite for app and mobile internet usage and the need for brands to adapt in order to facilitate this. With all this time spent on apps, you want this to be within your own branded space. But there is also an extra opportunity for brands here. Just because we’re not connecting with people through the traditional use of a mobile, we are still connecting with people socially. Looking at how your app can foster or support social connections could be valuable for your audience and serve a need that they have.
You could be running out of time
If you’re not already looking at a mobile marketing strategy as a brand, you could find yourself running out of time and joining the race late. The brands that are getting in early in mobile marketing are learning valuable lessons that will continually shape and influence their strategy to become smarter and more in line with what their consumers actually want. The early brands will emerge the winners as they benefit from experience to develop sophisticated strategies. A further risk in ignoring mobile is that you could soon be ignoring the dominant online platform, as internet access through mobiles could outstrip the desktopin the near future. If you don’t start learning your mobile strategy now, you could leave it too late when it’s where everyone is turning to and you’re still finding out how it can work for you.
Mobile commerce is key
While the likes of gaming, entertainment and news might dominate the mobile app market, this shouldn’t dissuade brands from spending money on developing mobile commerce solutions. While shopping may not be the primary activity via mobile, it is quickly growing as the commerce solution of choice. A survey of 15,000 mobile users across 14 countries found that 35% prefer shopping via mobile, compared to 15% who preferred shopping via their laptop or PC. What this shows more and more is that mobile internet usage isn’t just creating another access point in addition to the PC, but that it’s actually replacing it as the device of choice. As smartphone usage becomes increasingly streamlined and user friendly, we look to it to replace the PC. It’s easy to see how this can be the case. Our phone is really the one thing that comes with us everywhere, that creates a constant point of connection. We become more used to browsing on our mobile consistently, which is what brands can capital ise on and offer a mobile experience that can lead to sales
It’s not just about ads
If you’re stepping into mobile marketing, perhaps the easiest place to start off is through mobile ads. These can be easy to set up through Google AdWords for example, but they might not get you the return that you’re looking for. While the figures on mobile ads might look good, up to half of these clicks could be accidental. A survey has foundthat 47% of mobile users in a study claimed they click on mobile ads by mistake, due to the smaller screen size. This figure will be alarming for many brands, as up to 47% of your ad spend could be completely wasted. But leaving these figures aside, it’s also not just about ads because advertising makes up such a small part of the mobile experience. The nature of browsing on your mobile is that you probably only have a set amount of time you’re online (the length of your train journey for example), or you might be absent-minded ly on your mobile while watching TV. It’s not the same experience as being glued to your PC or laptop and so you’re unlikely to enticed by an ad, combined with issues such as slower loading time meaning you’re less likely to click away from the site you’re in. Focusing purely on ads as your mobile strategy ignores the full suite of mobile technologies available to create exciting content and engagement.
It will change quickly
Mobile marketing has to be treated as a specialist area within your marketing or digital department. The tech is advancing quickly and consumer habits are adapting perhaps even quicker. How we use our mobiles is changing all the time, along with how much time we spend on them and what we’re comfortable doing with them. Where once mobile commerce may have been a small part of mobile usage, this is now growing rapidly and brands have to adapt to fit the consumer need. Mobile marketing should be a serious investment of time and money if it’s to work well for you and you want to continue to provide something of use to your customers. It is one of the fastest growing areas within marketing and digital right now and brands have an opportunity to both set and meet the demand as mobile usage develops.
PayPal processes $10m in mobile payments each day
Projected figures in mobile commerce are one thing, but the actual transactions taking place are quite another. PayPal have recently releasedimpressive figures that show they’re processing up to $10 million in mobile transactions each day. And even better than that, it is expected to reach $3 billion in total by the end of 2011. This shows that the money is really following the interest and that mobile commerce is a viable area for brands to be in. And of course, this is just through one payment provider so only represents a portion of the total mobile transactions per day.
70% use Smartphones for photos
Across the whole social media space, photo sharing is growing massively, as every week a new company seems to announce their new photo sharing service or development, keenly led by Twitter, followed by Facebook’s ‘Instagram killer’. More and more mobile photo sharing services are being launched because there is such as huge market. One survey showsthat among UK smartphone users, 70% use their phones for storing photos. As the services develop to increasingly make photo sharing more accessible, this represents a huge potential market for brands. It’s about recognising where the demand is and finding an interesting way to meet this. Photo sharing might not seem like the top of your priorities when developing a mobile marketing strategy, but the interest is clearly there among consumers and if you can associate your brand with the experience of sharing photos, it could be incredibly valuable.
Tablets can’t be ignored
Tablets might seem like a small enough market at the moment, and another challenge for brands having just gotten their heads around mobile but you can’t afford to ignore them. As more manufacturers get in on the tablet market, usage is going to increase and the money will follow. According to Forrester, at the start of 2011 half of mobile commerce was coming through tablet devices and this is set to rapidly increase through 2011. This may be down to the fact that tablet owners are likely to have more disposable income so a higher intent to purchase, but may also be a result of the ease of use of tablet devices. They lend themselves to an easier browsing experience than mobiles and this usage pattern should be recognised by brands looking to offer additional commerce solutions.