What will mobile mean in 2015? Eight trends to watch

13th Jan 2015

The mobile market has changed dramatically in a relatively short space of time. Apple launched the iPhone and changed the mobile world forever. We’ve emerged from 3G to 4G, and tablets have grabbed a huge share of the computer market. Some of these trends could have been predicted - other phenomena surprised us. We’ve learned that it isn’t easy to forecast far into the future.

However, we can see some clear concepts that we believe will be realised in 2015. The one that outshines them all is probably this: first-in-mind screens and contact surfaces will be on mobile devices. Consequently, greater investment will be made in them for everything from advertising to business development and technologies.

1. Engaging

Brands that seek dialogue and want to learn from their customers will become tomorrow's winners. A mobile device is a personal channel – something that marketers should leverage. We’re confident that campaigns we’ll see next year will be even more entertaining and emotional. We are not only talking about humour – we can see how storytelling and drama has increased in 2014. Advertisements with a personal appeal that trigger involvement will gain ground. Daring to cut back a bit on sales pitches in your communication – and instead crank up the emotional part – will definitely pack a brilliant campaign punch.

2. Video, video, video

As a follow up on the entertaining and engaging trend above, video plays a natural role in delivering on this advertising promise. Greater effort and resources will be put into creating snack-size video content, resulting in incremental advertising opportunities. We believe that linear TV will continue to lose viewers, and as content consumption continues to shift to mobile platform, we also predict that TV will not be a consideration in the advertising mix when targeting younger audiences.

3. Programmatic on a broader front

The 2014 buzzwords were programmatic selling and real-time bidding. In Europe, the trend so far has been relatively low key. Basic technologies will now become more sophisticated – compared to automatic advertising deals based on parameters that advertisers and publishers set up. Earlier, publishers primarily used programmatic selling to get rid of unsold ad space. Now technology is gaining ground. Customised ad solutions that reach the right target groups will continue to be attractive – regardless of whether or not the purchase is automated. What can be automated will eventually be automated.

4. Customer value

Customer service has always been key to success, and companies now know more about their customers than ever before. Many customers are willing to share personal data in exchange for simplicity and better service. Build your customer value based on this knowledge. Help customers select the right products with messages and campaigns based on data rather than gut feelings. Understand the driving factors of the customer’s decisions. Ratings, influencers as music stars, viral and more will give a hint on your product value.

5. Cautious start with smart gadgets

Our gadgets certainly become more intelligent but seriously: how much fun is it to follow the washing machine's programs in an app? And we don’t believe that smart toasters and refrigerators will be a trend in 2015. We do however, believe in continued strong trends for wearables and gear. Apple is definitely not the first to offer a smart watch, and not one of its precursors became a bestseller. But Apple is phenomenal when it comes to developing products that we didn’t know we needed. So we predict that wearables will become a cautious challenger – not least within health and sports contexts. Apple will take a leading position.

6. Mobile shopping

Will 2015 be the year when we stop using wallets? Maybe not, but the smartphone will advance its position as a means of payment in 2015. Apple, Google, and Amazon drive this trend (along with exciting start-ups). This, in turn, forces card companies and banks to develop new services. Easier payment solutions will benefit traditional retail and particularly ecommerce and mcommerce. Even today many etailers sell an increasing share of their products on their mobile sites and apps. Given that ads on mobile phones are currently becoming richer in content, it will soon be possible to sell products directly in the ad – without the customer having to click through to the store.

7. Optimised geo-targeting

Geographic location often steers advertising. We know it is a very powerful tool. Combined with other target group data it allows advertisers to become much more relevant and specific. Looking ahead, geodata will be even more powerful and will increasingly be used to predict behaviours as well as creating new data models. We already use geographic data to steer hyper-locally or broad – delivering the full scale to reach certain groups of people across many markets.

Additionally, in-store technologies like iBeacons will provide brands with more timely communication and tracking opportunities. Used correctly, they open up for possibilities to draw connections between mobile behaviour and actions in a physical store.

8. More mature measurements

Clickthrough rate is an imperfect measurement. More capital will be injected into mobile devices, and with that comes demand for better key performance indicators. The smartphone is one of the best branding channels – it is not just a conversion channel. The entire consumer journey occurs in the smartphone but the most common measurement focuses on the journey’s last step.

For a long time now, we’ve measured observation, purchase intent, and message – and we believe that there’s still more to do – to be able to measure a campaign’s value. New interaction methods with voice, among other things, provide additional opportunities. More models will emerge for following consumer interactions among media channels and consumer behaviour in the physical world. There will be more standards on definitions to support this development.

Joy Dean is head of partnerships at Widespace.

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