Top mobile predictions for 2013

Cadillac's augmented reality city installations

Augmented reality will be big in 2013

Mobile has taken many strides this year and was incorporated heavily into brand marketing efforts. With new technologies such as augmented reality and mobile payments taking over, there is no doubt the medium will make an even bigger impact next year.

While 2011 and 2012 were the years of trial and error, 2013 will help marketers cement their initiatives and better reach consumers. Industry experts agree that the space will gain even more momentum next year.

“In the year ahead marketers must implement and successfully execute the following three best practices – measure, track and analyze everything,” said Chia Chen, senior vice president and mobile lead at Digitas North America.

“Make one Web – ensure content and functional parity between mobile Web and desktop Web,” he said. “Make sure people can transact with your brand via mobile device.

“Otherwise, mobile performance marketing is a non-starter.”

Context king
In 2013, the context dream will come true.

The great promise of mobile marketing was always that a better understanding of a consumer’s context would be able to give brands the ability to identify key moments and connect with them in hyper-relevant ways, per Mr. Chen.

For example, brands could target special offer messages to people who are close to a big box retailer.

“Unfortunately, the reality has been that mobile device users generate a ton of data that take an enormous amount of processing to turn into targetable segments,” Mr. Chen said. “That said, we’re seeing companies like PlaceIQ, Jiwire, Qualcomm, the wireless carriers, and the social networks starting to map the raw data into actionable triggers and attributes.

“And they are using more than just location and location-based meta-data to determine context,” he said. “We refer to it as the mobile graph, a mapping of all of the mobile-generated consumer data to targetable intent.

“2013 will see mobile graphs being generated and used at scale.” 

Next year will also bring about a mobile-triggered CPM crisis.

Mobile is adding hundreds billions of impressions to digital media inventory. However, demand is not keeping up with supply.

“For many media companies, the proportion of visitors coming from mobile devices is growing very quickly – in September, for example, about 49 percent of visitors to ESPN sites came from mobile devices – and outstripping their ability to monetize the impressions from those visitors,” Mr. Chen said.

“Consistently lower CPMs from mobile impressions will cause blended CPMs to decline significantly for multi-channel media companies,” he said. “Lower mobile CPMs will also contribute to consolidation in the mobile media networks in 2013.”

Furthermore, the executive believes that 2013 will be the end of the mobile Web.

“In working with our clients to develop their Web experiences, we are seeing data that indicates mobile users are increasingly frustrated by mobile-optimized Web sites that don’t have all of the functionality or content of the desktop version,” Mr. Chen said. “Users want to access all of the brand's content and functionality from any device.

“We will see many more brands turn to responsive Web design to implement the one Web site, multiple devices philosophy,” he said.

Breakout star
While there have been several breakout channels this year, including QR codes, rich-media advertising and location-based technology, emerging technologies such as augmented reality will take the lead next year.

“Augmented reality enables the delivery of content on real time,” said Ben Davis, CEO of Phizzle. “QR codes were big, but it stopped.

“Companies didn’t have mobile versions of their Web sites and when consumer scanned the mobile bar codes, the content they received wasn’t formatted on their device,” he said.

“Augmented reality content has to be form fitted for the phone or it won’t work. And, the challenge is educating consumers that the technology is available.”

Another big player in 2013 will be loyalty.

With the proliferation of new technology including near field communication, as well as Apple’s Passbook, consumers are going to become more comfortable making purchases using their mobile devices.

However, loyalty will play a big role in making that happen.

“Loyalty will be the most important trend in mobile,” Mr. Davis said. “However, it’s going to take time before people are comfortable using their phone as a method of payment.

“Next year, marketers should concentrate on customer relationship management,” he said. “It’s all about the data and analytics – CRM is the most important aspect of mobile marketing.

“There’s going to be nothing but growth, especially smartphone penetration. Mobile is growing exponentially and there’s going to be a lot of innovation in the space.

Mobile experiences
In addition to mobile marketing, the mobile commerce space has been growing daily.

Companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, Target and McDonald’s are using mobile as another revenue driver.

Mobile is no longer just another accessory – it is a necessity.

“Mobile will become even more pervasive in shopping and commerce,” said Ludo Collin, CEO of EachScape.

“Mobile in the enterprise will become even more pervasive in the enterprise,” he said. “In addition, apps will continue to win big for engagement and consumer usage.”  

In addition to a rapid growth in mobile traffic, the tablet space will continue to explode.

“Also, cloud services will become more popular, enterprise mobility will gain even more additional ground and mobile commerce and payments will continue to rise, but still having a few hurdles to overcome,” said Tom Nawara, vice president of emerging solutions and innovations at Acquity Group.

“Beyond that, I also believe we'll see a big move into more immersive input – a gestural, voice, audio – and output – augmented reality, pico projectors – related to mobile and connected devices,” he said.

“In addition, we will see SoLoMo evolve to SoLoMoCoDa – social, local, mobile, commerce and data – with the number of mobile transactions rising considerably and the amount of data collected from mobile and connected devices going through the roof.”

Mr. Nawara also predicts that marketers will see the second-screen become more and more important, with major brands putting money into programs and campaigns addressing the rapidly growing connection between television and mobile devices.

“Organizations need to think and plan from an omnichannel perspective – understanding customer interaction occasions in all touchpoints and planning for consistent experiences across all of them – but act from a mobile-first stance – understanding that mobile has very quickly become the hub of consumer/brand engagement,” Mr. Nawara said. 

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

Associate Editor Rimma Kats covers media, television, research and social networks. Reach her at rimma@mobilemarketer.com.