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Which mobile tactic will make the biggest splash in 2014?

apple

Apple's newest iOS 7

With mobile playing a bigger role in the overall media mix, both in-store experiences and more data-driven types of advertising will propel the next phase of mobile marketing in 2014.

Over the past year, mobile advertising has significantly improved for media buyers with more targeted and data-driven ad units. Additionally, the focus on in-store has grown with the introduction of Apple’s iBeacon, mobile-only stores and new forms of mobile coupons.

“We predict that hyperlocal is going to be the explosive mobile tactic for 2014,” said Adam Buhler, vice president at DigitasLBi, Boston.

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“From personalized museum tours to highly targeted sale notifications when you're walking past a favorite store, there's a dizzying number of paths this technology can take, and the installed user base is already huge,” he said. “It's cheap to implement, easy to work with, and a great new playground for digital marketing."

Programmatic thinking
Mobile media buying has made significant advances this year as marketers and agencies look to target consumers more precisely by leveraging multiple pieces of data.

beacon

An in-store offer from a beacon

In fact, Adform’s new “RTB Trend Report Europe Q3 2013” report found that tablet RTB impressions grew by 102 percent and mobile impressions were up 43 percent during the third quarter of 2013. 

Additionally, cross-screen marketing has stepped up as a more realistic advertising opportunity for marketers this year. With this, marketers’ retargeting efforts will become more sophisticated in 2014.

“Cross-screen reach will be one of the most sought after tactics in 2014,” said Mollie Spilman, executive vice president of global sales and operations at Millennial Media, Baltimore.

instagram

The first Instagram sponsored ad from Michael Kors

“In our device-fragmented world, consumers often begin a task on one device and finish it on another,” she said. "Advertisers must be able to reach their audiences on whichever device they're on throughout the day.”

As mobile traffic continues to grow and in some cases crosses 50 percent of total traffic, publishers such as AOL are already embracing programmatic for selling ads that run on mobile sites and apps.

Since marketers are able to bid on inventory in real-time, marketers can expect to have more mobile advertising space available to them in the next year.

There is also speculation that Facebook may extend its FBX programmatic ad buying exchange to mobile in 2014.

With social media buying increasingly taking a mobile-first approach for marketers, rolling out programmatic buying to mobile could add another powerful arsenal to Facebook’s mobile ad business.

“The combination of the two – programmatic retargeting – is likely going to be the new favorite tool of many app marketers who are struggling with slowing growth rates,” said Chris Shuptrine, senior director of client development at Fiksu, Boston.

“We also may see an expansion of the definition of programmatic beyond today's SSPs and DSPs: We now have automated, programmatic buying on Facebook through their API,” he said. “Other premium publishers like Pandora or The Weather Channel could go the same route as could Twitter.”

However, the growth in retargeting is also making it more difficult for marketers to attribute a sale to a particular channel.

“There are a number of companies claiming that they have figured out how to achieve tying a purchase back to an ad seen by a shopper,” said Harry Kargman, CEO/founder of Kargo, New York.

“They promise to provide data to an advertiser on how many purchases resulted from ad impressions viewed by unique shoppers,” he said. “If this is in fact possible at scale, this will be one of the most exciting developments in the mobile space.”

Smarter testing
As marketers invest in better-targeted mobile experiences, segmenting users will be a key priority for marketers in 2014.

This includes more A/B testing within mobile apps and sites that are geared at building long-term relationships between brands and consumers.

The goal here is, of course, to better understand how consumers use their mobile devices on a day-to-day basis.

"2014 will see a significant shift away from the 'one app for all' model that still dominates much thinking in the mobile space," said Hugh Reynolds, CEO at Swrve, San Francisco.

Better in-store experiences
One of the biggest areas of mobile growth this year was around in-store experiences.

As consumers increasingly become more comfortable shopping through their mobile devices, retailers leveraged in-store engagement through targeted offers, in-store app modes and endless aisle functionality.

Retailers including Macy’s and Frank & Oak are also testing Apple’s new iBeacon technology this year to serve shoppers targeted holiday offers.

After some initial campaigns are done this year, iBeacon will likely have a bigger impact next year for retailers.

To take advantage of this newer technology though, retailers need to have top-notch mobile applications and sites.

Additionally, retailers will load their mobile apps and sites with more advanced features that drive online commerce and engagement.

“2014 is about using smartphones to provide enhanced in-store experiences that connect online and offline worlds,” said Chris Mason, CEO/cofounder at Branding Brand, Pittsburgh.

“Low-energy Bluetooth and iBeacons are going to be critical,” he said. “However, retailers need to start with an app or Passbook if they are going to take advantage of everything location-based technology can offer.”

Similarly, mobile coupons have grown substantially in 2014 with more marketers testing different redemption methods this year.

Apple’s Passbook, Google Wallet and other location-triggered mobile wallets will be incorporated at store-specific levels in 2014.

"We don’t see a breakthrough mobile tactic that takes the market by storm, but we’ll likely see broader trial and adoption of mobile coupons," said Tom Cramer, mobile practice lead and strategy director at Razorfish, New York.

"It is the continuation of the larger trend toward local and hyper-local engagement as well as consumers bringing their mobile devices, and shopping activities more tightly linked," he said.

Retailers will also embrace showrooming more next year as a way to lock-in sales and better in-store experiences.

“In 2014, watch for mobile in-store engagement to emerge as a hot trend, as retailers leverage physical stores as showrooms for mobile online sales, and provide consumers with easy ways to jump between these now linked silos,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“With mobile, static in-store experiences can become dynamic and interactive and retailers can untether themselves from stock on-hand limitations,” he said. “Staples and others are already experimenting with mobile-only stores, where there is no product back stock and consumers can convert mobile commerce sales that are shipped free. Providing easy ways for consumers to engage with products in-store, via mobile, will allow smart retailers to discover what works and harness mobile showrooming to their benefit.”

Social video
As more consumers access social media and post to their accounts through their mobile devices, marketers will likely put more of an emphasis on video in 2014.

This year, both Facebook and Twitter have proved that there is a place in the market for mobile video with the launch of Instagram video and Vine.

Additionally, Facebook-owned Instagram recently took its first steps in monetizing its services with sponsored posts.

As more brands get a better grasp on ROI from social, cross-channel video will grow as a priority for marketers in 2014, according to Anna Bager, vice president and general manager at IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, New York.

“All signs point to social and interactive video becoming increasingly important in the mobile arena in 2014,” she said.

“We will start seeing more and more videos that are easy to share, respond to and change. This is already happening to a certain extent, and in the coming year we can expect to see more of it.”

 Final Take
Lauren Johnsen is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Strategy, mobile, mobile marketing, mobile commerce, 2014 predictions, Adam Buhler, DigitasLBi, Mollie Spilman, Millennial Media, Chris Shuptrine, Fiksu, Harry Kargman, Kargo, Hugh Reynolds, Swrve, Chris Mason, Branding Brand, Tom Cramer, Razorfish, Wilson Kerr, Un

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