A recent global survey of more than 4,000 consumers showed that 92% of millennials considered the smartphone to be their primary device. Even when those in the 70+ category were asked, 67% answered the same.
Whatever demographic, brands have to engage with users that are not only mobile-first, but also increasingly mobile-only, particularly in countries like China and India.
As much limelight as device makers and telecoms get at Mobile World Congress, marketing and advertising are becoming focal areas, as well. This year, Feb 22-25 in Barcelona, we see tracks dedicated to everything from mobile analytics to ad blocking.
Here are some of the big trends:
Location-Based Marketing Means More Than Ads
Beacon technology came out to great fanfare when it was introduced around 2003. Since then, it’s gotten a bad rep; personalized ads and discounts can be effective, but they are one of many possible use cases. Having access to contextual data allows brands to be more creative.
For example, a clothing retailer could install a large display in their store, which changes depending on who’s walking by it. Shopper A might see a cocktail dress; shopper B might see a pair of shoes. Or, an app could enable shoppers to take pictures of clothing and accessories on those around them and suggest similar items in the store.
These user cases already exist, either in practice or demo form. They enable brands to blend physical and digital, identifying the specific experiences that provide value for their audience. In the above survey, 67% say they would use their smartphones in conjunction with physical shopping sometimes or often.
Internet of Things: Close, But Not Quite
IOT lays out the possibility of an interesting future, one where everything is connected but invisible. Even though the experiences will be transformational, most of the ideas are still pies in the sky.
Much of the technology needed to enable the Internet of Things is already available. For brand marketers, it’s not a matter of capabilities, but elimination and curation. Having the possibility of putting your app on a wearable doesn’t mean you should; for some brands, it makes a lot of sense. For others, it’s pointless.
Bringing your brand into IOT requires that you accept that the first few tries will likely be failures. Similar to mobile, iteration is the new innovation here. Marketers should deliver the minimum viable experience and run a series of experiments; see how users respond and hone in on the hero features.
Mobile Analytics: Human Intuition, Informed by Data
Analytics is an example of technology being in front of what consumers think they want, or expect. We’ve evolved from data visualization all the way to artificial intelligence and predictive capabilities. As commentators postulate on the possibility of a machine takeover, the human touch will be the most important factor.
The risk with mobile analytics is lack of subjectivity. If customer Andy’s daughter helps her father order all of his clothing online, an algorithm might tag Andy as a 19-year-old female millennial. Consumers are only one bad experience away from deleting you off their phones.
Air on the safe side; humans and technology are meant to work in concert. Good data should inform your best intuition and when you’re wrong, be humble enough to take another look at the numbers and make the changes.
Ad Blocking is Giving Brands Good Feedback
The expansion of ad blockers from desktop to mobile was accelerated with the introduction of Safari on iOS 9. Consumers embraced the change because it provided a better experience. Some ads have become so obnoxious (and resource draining), that the trade-off for free content no longer sticks.
For publishers, this is a form of user feedback. Consumers are taking more ownership of their browsing experience and every ad blocker install is a vote for change. If bad ad experiences are causing users to flee, a good ad experience can help decelerate the trend.
There are some guiding principles: (1) Balance ads and content (2) Enure security risks are mitigated; an ad–induced virus guarantees you’ve lost the customer; (3) Optimize ads for speed and lessen the impact on computing resources. (4) Ask for feedback and see what’s working.
This article was originally published on Media Post.