Every year, people spend most of January and well into February spouting their predictions about the latest trends; we’ve all heard it: it’s going to be the year of x, y and z. Most of the time? These predictions don’t pan out.
There is good reason to believe, however, that 2014 is truly going to be the year of mobile. If you care about online marketing, there are a few mobile trends you should really have your eye on in 2014 and beyond.
The Experts Weigh in on Mobile Search
Mobile is already big, and is on its way to getting bigger in 2014. Researchers from Nielsen, the global information and measurement company that compiles the Nielsen Ratings, teamed up with Google last year to publish a comprehensive study on mobile search, which found that three out of four mobile searches lead to follow-up actions such as purchases, phone calls, further research, visits to brick-and-mortar retail locations and, if you’re lucky, word-of-mouth sharing. According to the Google/Nielsen study, there are about two follow-up actions per shopping query, on average, and more than half of these follow-up actions take place within an hour. This clearly demonstrates that there is a tremendous opportunity to reach customers through their mobile devices! The study also found that 77% of mobile searches happen in the workplace or in the home, where people typically have access to a desktop computer they could be doing the same search on. People actually seem to prefer mobile searches, even when they have other options. Tapping into this powerful marketing resource, however, isn’t always so cut and dry.
Location is Key to Mobile Marketing in 2014
There is no denying that location is central to mobile marketing this year and will continue to be in the future. As of 2014, your brand can use location-based data and strategic analytics to reach and convert your target audience and maintain relationships with current customers. There are several ways to go about this based on the unique specifications of your brand, your location, your customer base and your industry. Wearable technology may even become a bigger trend as the demand for complex location-based mobile marketing grows, and developers find new ways to study how consumers move in order to be more responsive to their wants and needs.
Mobile Payments are the Challenge to Rise To
Accepting mobile payments can automatically put a business in a better position to make sales and secure smoother transactions for customers, and many experts (such as the technology writers at BusinessWeek) have been writing and talking about how mobile payments are getting easier and better in 2014. The new payment processor Braintree claims to have processed $4 billion in mobile transactions last year alone, which is a reported 400% increase from the $1 billion in mobile transactions the company processed the year before. With the continued success of companies such as Uber and Airbnb, which rely on this particular mobile payment platform, consumers are going to expect fast, simple, safe and secure mobile payment processing from more and more of the companies they do business with. Keeping up with this trend is a challenge that businesses should be willing to rise to if they want to be successful in 2014.
Mobile Success Will Also Require Specificity
Some experts have gone so far as to say that there will be more web traffic coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers in 2014 and 2015, and eventually more ecommerce sales will be completed on mobile devices than on desktops. The challenge, however, is often in converting searches to sales or leads in the mobile environment. The Google/Nielsen study revealed that more often than not, mobile searches are tied to very specific needs in very specific contexts, such as looking up information about a product before making a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store. In fact, they claim that shopping queries on mobile devices are twice as likely to happen in a store. So, being successful with mobile marketing will require specificity and responsiveness, plus a firm understanding of how your target audience uses their mobile devices. Perhaps, making sales won’t be how you win with mobile marketing. Perhaps it will be with branding, image marketing and lead generation. The specific content you provide consumers in the mobile environment should depend on what goals you have and what approach you’re taking.
From the looks of it, being flexible, willing to test the waters and open to the trends of the marketplace are going to be essential components for success in this constantly changing mobile landscape. What do you think? What does mobile mean for you and your business? Feel free to comment below. Also, stay tuned for our next post on the 2014 predictions for SEO and social media.