Five Trends That Will Impact Mobile Marketing in 2012
Welcome to 2012. With consumers activating a record 20 million Apple iOS and Google Android devices during the final week of 2011, it’s clear that the year ahead portends still more explosive growth for all facets of the mobile experience—including marketing. Here’s what small businesses can expect.
1. Small businesses will accelerate their mobile web strategies.
Consumers are shifting their shopping behaviors to mobile, so merchants must follow suit. IBM reports that overall online sales on Christmas Day increased 16.4 percent compared to the previous year, with 18.3 percent of all sessions across retailer websites originating via mobile device— a 117.8 percent year-over-year spike. A full 7.0 percent of all online sales originated via Apple’s iPad, followed by the iPhone at 6.4 percent. Android devices yielded another 5.0 percent of digital sales. Mobile-optimized websites are no longer a luxury— they’re a necessity.
2. Small businesses will migrate their print advertising efforts to the mobile channel.
Not-so-breaking news: Print media continues to fall out of favor. U.S. adults now spend more time each day on mobile devices than they do with traditional print media, according to a recent study issued by eMarketer. Americans devote an average of 65 minutes per day to mobile devices, up from 50 minutes a day in 2010 and 32 minutes a day in 2008. A year ago, time spent on mobile tied with time dedicated to newspapers and magazines (30 minutes and 20 minutes per day, respectively) but in 2011, Americans spent just 26 minutes a day on newspapers and 18 minutes on magazines. Given that mobile allows marketers to develop more targeted, interactive campaigns capable of reaching consumers on the go— at far lower costs, no less— the transition away from print is a no-brainer.
3. QR codes will become ubiquitous.
Look for QR codes (short for “quick response”) to pop up everywhere in 2012: Packaging labels, in-store advertisements, business cards . . . you name it. Consumers who scan these two-dimensional matrix codes with their smartphones and corresponding code reader applications are instantly transported to mobile-optimized websites touting a wealth of content about the brand, product or merchant in question— everything from special offers to contact information to social media outreach to how-to videos. Not only are QR codes easy to create and inexpensive to roll out, but consumers are fascinated by the interactive possibilities: A new Chadwick Martin Bailey survey reports that half of all smartphone owners surveyed have scanned a QR code, and close to 20 percent of them purchased the product they scanned.
For tips on creating your own codes, check out this article on Custom QR Codes Best Practices.
4. Mobile coupons will push further into the mainstream.
Juniper Research forecasts that average mobile coupon redemption rates worldwide will exceed 8 percent by 2016— an eightfold increase over the most effective paper coupon campaigns. That kind of mainstream adoption is far in the future, of course, but 2012 is shaping up as a significant step forward.
Some small businesses are experimenting with mobile coupon alternatives, but look for larger brands and merchants to lead the way in coming months: Late last year, the fledgling Google Wallet m-commerce service platform introduced support for SingleTap, enabling consumers to redeem coupons and/or earn rewards points by tapping their Android smartphones at retail partners including American Eagle Outfitters, The Container Store, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, Macy’s, OfficeMax, and Toys”R”Us. In addition, Procter & Gamble is partnering with mobile commerce solutions provider Mobeam to introduce a new mobile couponing system making digital discounts and promotions readable via in-store laser scanners. Mobeam technology converts mobile barcode data into beams of light that can be read by existing point-of-sale technologies, requiring no additional equipment. Mobeam and P&G will test the solution later this year.
5. Tablets will expand and enhance the mobile commerce experience.
Tablet sales increased by a staggering 256 percent in 2011 to almost 73 million units and now make up a quarter of all mobile PC sales according to market research firm NPD. Consumers are smitten with all the bells and whistles of the tablet format: The larger device screen, the touch-enabled interactions, portability, web connectivity, applications and games, and how all those elements come together. Tablets also erase the distinction between online and brick-and-mortar commerce— consumers can easily compare prices and research product information in stores, while merchants can target them with deals and promotions at the point of sale. NPD adds that three quarters of U.S. small and medium businesses will purchase tablets sometime in the next 12 months— giving entrepreneurs new insight into what all the fuss is about, and helping them better understand how to leverage tablet innovations to reach their customers.
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