In 2015 mobile became the UK internet user’s number one device. Ofcom officially branded the UK as a ‘smartphone society’, with the average user spending twice as long using a smartphone than laptops or PCs.
Mobile has now not only become our primary method of going digital, it is a focal point for controlling and managing all aspects of our day to day life.
I hope by now every marketer has understood that the real battle of consumer attention is won on mobile. So what can we expect in 2016?
Mobile Ad-blocking : The next big headache?
Mobile now accounts for over 45% of ad impressions, 50% of clicks, 46% of spend and 43% of conversions in the UK. There is no question mobile advertising has now cemented its place in marketers media mix as an advertising channel that connects with audiences. Next year alone marketers are expected to spend $100bn on mobile advertising. However, will mobile ad-blocking gain more momentum and become the next big headache?
At the end of this year we know that mobile operators are exploring the idea of blocking advertising on their networks. Can you really blame them? They are shouldering the huge cost of deploying the infrastructure that enables high-speed mobile communication, and yet companies such as Google and Facebook are regarded as the great digital enablers. The huge pressure on mobile operators to further invest in faster network infrastructure is increased when you consider that sustained growth in market share and revenues is very difficult to achieve, and most of them compete in completely saturated markets.
We do not know how mobile operators will deploy ad-blocking technology or how it will be introduced to the market. However, if they do, it is likely that the costs for advertising will increase, and that advertisers, media agencies and publisher will feel an impact. But maybe it will also sharpen the focus of advertisers again, ensuring adverts are more creative and are welcomed events, not an uninspiring intrusions.
The need for brands to explore messaging apps.
For the last two to three years consumers have shifted to new communication apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Viber. In 2015 over 33 trillion messages were sent using these channels, compared to only 6 trillion SMS messages. It is fair to assume that the audiences will stay on these messaging channels for a while, but it is more than just messaging?
These communication apps are providing specific experiences that match the consumers’ lifestyle, snacking on bites of information here and there, constantly coming back for more. For example, if a mobile user wants to document or share an experience then they will most likely be using Instagram or Snapchat.
I believe in 2016, marketers will have to explore how to put their brands onto these messaging channels in a new engaging way. One strong indication of the growing importance of it is the recent move of Claire Valoti from Facebook to Snapchat. She has been tasked to grow the team in the UK, and ultimately make the little ghost attractive for agencies and brands. Watch out for more to come.
All marketers are striving to connect with consumers across multiple touchpoints to deliver content, experience and services. Those brands that quickly adapt to emerging mobile channels and understand how to use the new messaging channels will drive success in how they engage with consumers in 2016.
Don’t Panic over Data.
In November 2015, I attended the Festival of Marketing in London and Jeremy Waite, Head of Digital Strategy, EMEA at Salesforce presented a number of interesting statistics. In his presentation (which can be accessed via SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/Salesforce/where-will-connected-customers-go-in-2016-54989505) he mentioned that 80% of executives are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data and analytics, and that 75% of executives are emotional when making decisions.
Right now, 90% of consumer journeys happen across 5 different channels, producing data at every touchpoint and interaction. A staggering 2.5 Quintillion (eighteen zeros) bytes of data is created every day, being processed in real-time. It is safe to say that we are almost constantly connected, producing data with the insight into who we are, what we like and how we make our decisions.
With so much data available, I think we’ll see many businesses changing their mentality of how they use data. They already have the analytical tools and people, but there will a big effort to truly understand how data can improve digital interactions with consumers to deliver much improved customer journey. But for that to happen, it’s not a question of what data is available, it is a question of what do you want from the data. Don’t panic and start endlessly looking for answers within data, go back to the marketing basics of the ‘clarity’ of WHO, WHY, HOW and WHAT. Data cannot just give you the answers, but it does provide guidance on decision making and proving if a strategy it working.
I would like to finish with the quote of Marc Benioff: “Companies are no longer competing against each other, they are competing against speed.” It will be those companies who dedicate the budgets and resources to quickly adapting to the latest mobile trends and technology to better connect with consumers who will win in 2016.