52 posts categorized "Mobile Forecasts"

March 25, 2014

HTC One M8 Goes on Sale in UK

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HTC’s new smartphone went on sale today at several stores in London, ahead of a general release on March 27. International consumers will have to wait until April 11 to get their hands on the device.

The HTC One M8 was officially unveiled just one hour before it became available to shoppers at six Carphone Warehouse and three Phones 4U stores. A few handsets were also released at a press conference in New York.

The HTC One is being heralded as one of the best designs to hit the smartphone market to date. According to a press release published on the T-Mobile website, the HTC One has “the brainpower of a true superphone… [and] stunning hardware design.”

The device has two cameras on the back, allowing photographers to take shots capable of mimicking the depth-of-field control that was once the sole preserve of DSLR machines. Another winning feature is Motion Launch, which lets users quickly deploy their device without having to first unlock it. A phone call can be taken by putting the device to your ear; the camera can be activated simply by upending the phone and hitting the volume button. 

Despite all the bells and whistles, HTC’s new offering faces an uphill battle in terms of marketing. The company aims to make high end products capable of competing with iPhones. To a certain extent, they’ve achieved that with the HTC One, but they lack two key things that Apple has in spades: a fanatic, loyal customer base, and an app store that rules the roost.

That’s not to say HTC doesn’t have potential. For every hardcore Apple fanboy, there’s an open-source devotee who wouldn’t go near an iPhone if their house was burning down. And they’re precisely the same people who care more about design than market ubiquity. In that context, HTC has a place in the hearts of the anti-Apple brigade who don’t want to slum it with a Samsung device.

Whether there are enough of those people out there remains to be seen. In marketing terms, probably not. Few mobile marketing tactics include a pressing urge to reach out to HTC users – and their SMS messaging glitches are documented across the web. But for individual users with a taste for good design, and an antipathy towards good marketing, the HTC One could be the answer.

March 06, 2014

How Mobile Devices Have Increased Customer Service Expectations

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The constant availability of digital information at our fingertips happened so fast, and so resoundingly, it’s easy to forget that ten years ago, hardly anybody owned what might be termed a ‘smartphone’.

As a consequence of such widespread mobile technology, consumer expectations have become dramatically elevated. Recent research conducted by KANA Software found that 5% of 18 to 24 year olds check their phone every minute – an alarming figure indicative of an almost pathological reliance on connectivity.

But they’re not just checking their phones. They’re using them as portals through which they can lodge complaints, and they expect their complaint to be dealt with quickly. If companies fail to respond in a way that satisfies the customer, they find themselves traduced on social media platforms and all-important user review websites. The Millenials have never known a world without the hyperspeed life of the web, and their patience is thin. Remember last century when 10 working days was the standard time period for responding to complaints? They don’t.

It’s not just young people. The survey – which polled more than 2,000 people in then UK – found baby boomers were among the most prolific online complainers. In this climate, mobile marketing solutions  must include a quick response strategy in the face of online criticism.

The first step towards meeting high expectations is to make the mobile experience a priority. Dedicate resources to ensure mobile users get the attention they require – the money spent will come back to you in the shape of more conversions.

More than that, you have to approach your mobile marketing strategy in the wider context of consumers’ journey-to-purchase. No amount of research is too much. Do your customers tend to browse products using their mobile devices, before buying in-store? Just because you aren’t generating the majority of conversions from mobile devices doesn’t mean they’re not a crucial part of the process. Identify common problems as early as possible in order to minimize the impact those issues will have on your business.

Once you’ve resolved the basic problems, devise creative mobile marketing tactics that will make your business stand out from the crowd. Find success in the mobile marketplace and you will be well-positioned for future growth across all channels.

 

March 04, 2014

Older Demographic Moves to Mobile

 

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New mobile marketing studies have pointed to older individuals as the fastest-growing demographic for mobile and social media usage. According to a Nielsen Company report, mobile media is attracting 45- to-64-year-old consumers above other age groups, despite the notion that mobile media is solely used by teenagers and those ages 20 to 35.

Companies aware of the increase in mobile usage among older adults can harness this information and use it to create effective mobile marketing campaigns.

The Misconceptions

Plenty of misconceptions surround older adults and mobile/social media use, such as the idea that they barely know what Facebook or Twitter is, let alone have any clue how to work a smartphone. However, the facts don’t lie: in addition to Nielsen’s findings, a new GlobalWebIndex study surveying 31,779 consumers in 31 different countries found older adults as the main reason for growth among social media sites. These include Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. That’s enough to turn misconceptions about older adults and mobile marketing on proverbial ears! 

Older Adults and Your Business

Staying aware of statistics regarding older adults is highly beneficial when brainstorming mobile marketing solutions, and it provides opportunities many may not have considered before. For example, an effective mobile marketing campaign for a doctor or hospital is one that sends SMS appointment reminders to its older patients. These patients would have to opt-in to take advantage of such services.

Another example of an effective mobile marketing campaign is one that caters towards the mobile-savvy grandparents of the world and provides exclusive discounts to parks, zoos, indoor funhouses and anywhere else grandchildren like to go. Such deals and discounts would only be available through the SMS campaign, and could easily drive business to local attractions.

Other options include creating a mobile marketing campaign that offers coupons and sales alerts to older adults who frequently order from a medical supply or herbal supplement site. This could easily transform site traffic and business, as older adults would have access to exclusive SMS deals and discounts they didn’t have before.

These are just some of the endless possibilities regarding older demographics and mobile marketing campaigns! Now that you have the information, think about how you can use it to increase your business and expand your brand. Good luck!

 

March 01, 2014

How to Use Mobile Directories to Optimize for Local Search

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If you’re a local business relatively new to the world of mobile marketing, you will still be discovering new ways of leveraging consumer attention away from competitors. Perhaps you’ve just got a handle on your social media campaign, or you’ve optimized your website for common search terms, but you’re unsure where to turn next.

Equally as important – though oft-ignored – are online business directories. Each one acts as a conduit through which potential customers can access your service, so the more directories you add yourself to, the bigger your reach. You don’t need any particular technical expertise to get listed, just some time and effort, so adding yourself to as many business directories as possible should be a priority of your mobile marketing strategy.

As usual, the big players like Google, Yahoo and Yelp are a sensible place to start. Take a look at these fifty directories and add your business to as many as possible. But don’t limit yourself to the most commonly used directories – it’s a huge playing field populated by major brands, all packing a serious financial punch. Augment these listings with more localized directories by searching for ‘business directories Florida’ (or wherever you are situated). The smaller your operation is, the more specific you should be in terms of location; there is no point advertising your services to people all over your state if you can only serve customers within your county.

As easy as it is to achieve, getting listings in multiple directories can be time consuming, and not a little tedious. To speed up the process of filling out the same information on multiple forms, use Firefox’s neat add-on tool – it also helps you maintain consistency across all listings. Be sure to include a map of your store location in every directory that allows it. Don’t try to create your own personalized map – you can’t do better than Google Maps, which has the advantage of contextualizing your street address in a map of, you know, the world. Users are far likelier to engage with an embedded Google Maps image which they can click through to obtain directions.

Remember, 52% of all local searches are being done on mobile devices. If you haven’t climbed on board with a comprehensive mobile marketing strategy, you may have no idea how much business you are losing out on. Yes, SEO and social media are vital to your online presence, but directories are one of the most useful, easy-to-implement mobile marketing solutions around. Take a day out of running your local business to set up as many listings as possible – it’ll be worth it.

February 24, 2014

Gamification as a Winning Mobile Marketing Solution for Your Brand

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“Gamification” may not be the prettiest word, but it’s become part of the marketing parlance. It describes the incorporation of game techniques such as competitiveness and self-expression into desktop and mobile marketing solutions. Game elements may appear in the form of prizes, hidden tokens, loyalty programs – and any other type of reward system contingent on consumer engagement with a brand.

It already forms a central part of many mobile marketing campaigns, and M2 research predicts gamification will be worth $2.8 billion by 2016. Gartner figures project more than 70% of Global 2000 companies will be using at least one gamified application by 2014. Clearly, it’s a popular strategy with big companies. But is gamification worthwhile for your business?

The first thing to remember is this: gamification must add real value to the user experience. As with apps, there’s no point going in half-cocked, or you will simply waste money and effort on something that nobody uses. As in any game or competition, users must be motivated by a reward, and the greater the reward, the more you can ask for in return.

Florist Teleflora has been a leading light in the world of gamificaion, using a store-wide loyalty scheme that offers points for actions like reviews, comments and answering queries for other customers. Customers can get additional points for being first out of the gate for writing a review or answering a question. As customers rack up points they achieve ever-greater levels of influence, and therefore value to the brand. Teleflora increased referral traffic from Facebook by 105% and conversion rates by an impressive 92%.

Cloud storage firm Dropbox offered additional space to users who completed specific tasks. People who take a tour of Dropbox services are awarded an extra 250MB on top of the 2GB that comes free with every account. There’s 125MB up for grabs if you connect your Dropbox account to Twitter or Facebook, and 500MB available for every friend referred (up to a maximum of 16GB). LinkedIn adopt a similar strategy as a way of encouraging users to maintain up-to-date profiles. Their service is improved, and the users status and visibility goes up. It’s a win-win.

Gamification is not for everyone. The fun, trivial nature of the beast means it’s unsuitable for organizations with specific brand values that could be undermined by introducing game elements into their mobile marketing campaigns. Charities, banks, and certain non-profits are unlikely to benefit, and lots of small business lack the financial clout to pull of a really compelling gamification campaign. But it can reap huge rewards for the right brand, and as mobile marketing solutions go, it’s a useful way of harvesting crucial data, improving brand loyalty, and enhancing the user experience.

February 21, 2014

What Augmented Reality Means for Mobile Marketing

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As smartphone ownership reaches record levels, it’s hardly surprising that apps of all stripes are experiencing a boom. One of the hottest varieties right now are augmented reality (AR) apps, which combine live, real-world environments with supplementary computer generated input.

AR is one of those futuristic technologies that you can’t quite believe is really upon us. It provides a Terminator-like view of the physical realm, with live events such as sports games augmented by statistics, graphics, sound or any other digital data.

Not only is AR a reality, it’s already big business – and growing fast. In 2013, revenue from mobile augmented reality was around $180 million. A recent Juniper report predicts AR apps and services to generate a staggering $1.2 billion by 2015. The contributions it can make to existing mobile marketing solutions are manifold, and major brands including Unilever, Nestle and Heinz have already cottoned on to the potential of AR as a driver of consumer engagement.

The mobile industry itself has helped power interest in AR apps, as more and more companies are adopting mobile marketing advertising and outreach strategies as a necessary part of their overall business. AR promises to be a huge part of the future of mobile marketing applications. Juniper’s report pointed to the impending launch of ‘smart wearables’ such as Google Glass – due for launch later this year – as potential platforms for apps that use AR technology.

In the here in and now, AR is being used to great effect by mobile marketing teams all over the world. In Canada, Volkswagen used AR-interfaced billboards enabling iPhone and iPad users to view virtual Beetles performing stunts above the streets of Vancouver and Toronto. The launch video generated over 100,000 views in the first few weeks and created a hell of a buzz of Volkswagen in the process. Starbucks pulled off a similar trick using cups, giving coffee lovers something to entertain them while drinking.

So far, campaigns like this have been perfunctory gimmicks – showcases for the possibilities of AR technology. But they are nevertheless very exciting, and point to a new kind of mobile marketing advertising. As the technology improves, more developers will jump on board, each with a fresh angle on the potential of AR. Juniper’s report predicts a 200 million-strong AR app market by 2018. If that figure is borne out, mobile marketers, game developers, and anyone involved in the creative arts will make AR apps part of the digital fabric of an increasingly plugged in society.

 

February 18, 2014

Big Data and the Future of Mobile Marketing

 

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As we move further into 2014, more and more digital marketing talk revolves around “big data” among other emerging trends. Companies have increasingly utilized the big data approach over the last few years, as the method has created a whole new genre of “personalized” marketing. The ultimate goal of the big data method is to develop one-on-one marketing strategies in hopes of maintaining lengthy, positive relationships with prospects and clients.

So how will big data affect the future of mobile marketing, and what consumer information is needed to create an effective mobile marketing strategy?

Location Data

Hailed by JiWire as one of the foundations of mobile marketing, location data serves as “real-world cookies.” It helps companies/marketers develop a deep understanding of their target audiences and what exactly such audiences are looking for. However, “sophisticated data science” and “big data platforms” are required to translate large amounts of raw data into something that businesses, and subsequently their audiences, can use.

Digital Marketing Personalization 

Customer expectations are at an all-time high thanks to this new age of big data, meaning mobile marketing strategies and solutions are all about developing personalized campaigns. Customers are always looking for personalized experience whether browsing the web for certain items or receiving coupon codes on their phones from local businesses. The personalized approach is an easy way to build and maintain long-lasting customer relationships, and many marketers say using this approach has resulted in better business.

Access to Purchase History

Mobile usage has provided companies with an “unprecedented view” into purchase history and activity, from an initial click of interest to the actual buying of a product or service on specific dates at certain times. A successful mobile marketing strategy understands that a consumer’s decision to purchase a product involves studying on and offline behavior, such as looking at a product online before opting to purchase said product in an actual store. Being able to review unique customer behavior and develop a mobile marketing solution from there is one heck of an advantage.

ROI Advantages

It’s not hard to gauge ROI perks when applying big data to mobile marketing strategies. The ability to measure awareness of a product or service, product/service engagement and physical behavior (such as a store’s foot traffic) is as helpful as tracking purchase history. Businesses can now review the ROI of mobile marketing campaigns, and make adjustments as needed.

Big data is predicted to grow considerably by 2020, allowing businesses to target their audiences using very specific details.

 

February 16, 2014

5 Mobile Marketing Tips for Start-ups

 

Anybody who has started their own business understands the problems inherent in such a major undertaking. A paucity of resources – be they personnel or economic – can hobble even the brightest start-up. On the plus side, such restrictions can promote creative thinking and lead to untapped sources of business.

One of the most important aspects of a business plan is an effective mobile marketing strategy. Compared with traditional advertising channels like television, mobile marketing campaigns needn’t be prohibitively expensive. They just need blue-skly thinking, flexibility, and a lot of hard work. If you are in the early stages of building your business, try adopting the following mobile marketing tactics…

1. Text Smart. Despite being, by nature, always on the move, the mobile audience is captive in the sense that their phone is always about their person. By offering people the opportunity to opt in to receiving messages via SMS, you can provide the distraction they need while waiting in line or sitting alone in an airport lounge. Update user on promotions, offer them coupons – anything to make them engage with your brand. But be sure to offer something worthwhile or you risk annoying them (and prompting them to opt out). Research from mShopper.com indicates that mobile subscribers respond best to time-limited offers, so try capping the availability of a promotion at 24 hours.

2. Ground-up Optimization. Successful mobile marketing campaigns are created from the ground up, rather than operating as a hastily-assembled addendum to existing desktop campaigns. Take full advantage of the medium by incorporating functions that can only be performed using smartphones: QR codes, geo-location, augmented reality, apps. They all add to the interaction experience.

3. Trend Watch. Keeping an eye on the latest trends in mobile habits is the best way to remain relevant in a constantly-changing market. In 2012, only 17.5% of internet traffic emanated came[BC1]  from mobile devices. By the end of 2013, that number had grown to 28%. Such a staggering increase would have spelled disaster for any company who took their eye off the ball, so stay on top of the latest developments in the world of mobile.

4. Responsive Design. If you have been paying attention to mobile trends, you will have heard a lot of chatter about responsive design, which describes the automatic adjustment of the layout and content of a website according to what kind of device is visiting it. It’s a critical part of mobile marketing, as it allows all users to have a great experience, regardless of whether they are using a tablet, smartphone or desktop. Talk to your web designers about developing responsive design for your site – it could ultimately replace the current model of entirely separate designs being implemented on each type of device.

5. Test Smart. Successful mobile marketing campaigns will test their ideas thoroughly before submitting them to the world at large. It might mean using a different color palette for mobile displays, or modifying a headline so it reads better on a tablet. The scientific method must be rigorously followed, so isolate one variable at a time during the testing process. Even small tweaks can have a major impact.

February 06, 2014

Is HTML5 the Future of Mobile Apps?

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Mobile app development is currently dominated by Android and Apple, who have roughly an equal share of more than two-thirds of the market. But as the range of mobile devices on offer increases, HTML5 apps that work on all devices are becoming more appealing, both to users and developers. Apple’s native apps are still out in front in terms of quality – but the gap is closing, as HTML5 apps constantly improve their user-friendliness and availability. So what’s the difference between native apps, like those offered by Apple and Android, and web apps? And how can HTML5 mobile app development help you improve your mobile marketing strategies?

Right now, the Apple App Store contains nearly three quarters of a million iPhone and iPad apps, all of which have to be completely re-coded to work on another device. Web apps are built using standard coding such as HTML5, which allows them to run on virtually any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser. They will work on iPhones, iPads, Androids, Kindles, Windows – and, importantly for start-ups, any new platform that may be launched in the future.

Not only do web apps work equally well on any platform, they are cheaper and quicker to produce than native apps. The only reason native apps are still overwhelmingly used is because Apple’s unstoppable development department stole a march on competitors very early on, and currently offer a superior experience to most similar HTML5 apps. This state of affairs won’t last for long.

One of the main reasons for mobile app development shifting towards HTML5 and other standards-based languages is the ease of open-source updates. Most iPhone users have experienced the frustration of being unable to update their app because they lack the latest iOS. Web apps, on the other hand, will practically never become outdated. Every time a user visits a website, they are loading the most recent version from the server. The simple action of visiting the site means you are viewing the latest version of that app.

There are still a number of hurdles to overcome before web apps present a realistic, mass-market alternative to native apps. Chief among them is the state-of-the-art hardware interfacing currently provided by (in particular) Apple. All iPhone apps are seamlessly integrated with the device’s hardware, allowing users to take advantage of the GPS, digital camera and accelerometer capabilities. Right now, web apps don’t have it so easy. Apple’s closed book isn’t likely to open itself to rival developers anytime soon, but as competitive pressure grows, most people expect that situation to change.

The other major feather in the Apple cap is the secure, easy payment process offered by the App Store. There are 400 million active iTunes accounts, each with stored credit card details, making consumer purchases extremely hassle-free. Web apps currently lack a similar consolidated payment system. Again, though, that is expected to change with time.

There’s little disagreement about the smoother, more polished look and feel of native apps. But there is also a consensus on some key advantages offered by web apps. The ever-changing nature of standards-based technology means that HTML6 is likely to do some significant catching up. Add to that the expense of building native apps, and the decreasing cost of developing web apps, and it’s easy to see how mobile marketing strategies will begin to gear themselves towards users that have jumped the mother ship Apple and are spreading their consumption across a wider range of smaller, more adaptive developers.

 

January 12, 2014

Growth in Mobile Spurs Growth in Mobile Search

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The expanding mobile device market has led to a dramatic increase in the number of web searches conducted on smartphones and tablets. According to Phil Harpur of Frost & Sullivan:

“Search results from mobile searches are becoming more distinct to fixed internet searches, with a high proportion of mobile searches optimized for location based material. Also, click-to-call features are becoming more prominent in mobile search advertising.”

Despite the growth in mobile-specific search, desktop searches have not decreased, which means search advertising as a whole is still booming. However, the search industry expects to continue leaving online directories for dust, and mobile search is increasingly coming to the fore, as mobile marketing strategies become more sophisticated and user-oriented. Google predicts that mobile search will overtake desktop during the next few years.

Countless studies and surveys support Google's prediction. Mobile search spending went up 132% year on year, according to a Covario report. On a global basis, mobile search advertising accounted for 16% of total spend in the second quarter of 2013, with 10% of that spending conducted on tablets, and 6% on smartphones.

Research from Telmetrics shows that 50% of mobile users in the United States use their device at the beginning of the search process, and 31% use it throughout the process. The same study found that one in three smartphone users search specifically for contact information, such as directions and phone numbers.

A comScore study found the total number of American searchers using mobile phones grew 26% between March 2012 and December 2012. One analytics company, BIA/Kelsey, echoed Google's prediction, claiming that mobile search queries will overtake desktop by 2015.

So what does it mean for the mobile advertising industry? Text message advertising  is harmonizing with mobile search to offer users a more localized, personalized experience. More than half of all conversions from mobile search take place within the hour, which suggests a more impulsive type of shopping experience, with users out and about, not prepared to mull over decisions in the same way they might on a desktop-only search.

Mobile marketing strategies have to adapt to this snap-decisive market by offering users an easy path to conversion. Marketers must use text message advertising to reach out to opted-in consumers with specialized, localized, time-sensitive offers. As the pace of consumer life quickens and becomes more mobile, marketing strategies must do the same in order to stay in touch with their audience.