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7 key trends mobile marketers need to know: eMarketer keynote

NEW YORK ? An eMarketer analyst revealed seven key trends that mobile marketers need to know during a keynote address at the digiday: Mobile conference.

Noah Elkin, senior analyst at eMarketer, New York, offered up the following list of trends shaping the mobile marketing space:

No. 1
Mobile usage has become pervasive.

In 2008, there were 228.2 million mobile phone users in the United States, representing 75 percent of the population. In 2009, those numbers grew to 239.1 million, representing 77.8 percent.

This year, eMarketer projects 246.1 million U.S. mobile phone users, 79. 3 percent of the population, and expects those number to grow to 250.9 million (80.1 percent) in 2011.

No. 2
Mobile devices and platforms have experienced dramatic evolution.

?Mobile phones have become more advanced and significantly cheaper and significantly lighter,? Mr. Elkin said. ?They have effectively become mini-computers that are connected to a whole platform and content.

?In 2007, the iPhone and Kindle helped redefine what a mobile device is,? he said. ?They united hardware with software and put a universe of content in more accessible reach better than any of their predecessors, helping the industry take big step forward.

?That set the stage for the iPad in 2010, and the tablet category is also helping to drive the market forward.?

No. 3
The device market is shifting in favor of smartphones, and the U.S., is driving a lot of the demand.

In June, ChangeWave Research found the 16 percent of U.S. consumers planned on buying a smartphone in the next 90 days.

In terms of smartphone penetration in the U.S., in the second quarter of 2009 it was at 16 percent while in the second quarter of this year it had grown to 25 percent, according to Nielsen.

?We see this trend continuing to accentuate,? Mr. Elkin said.

Which platform will win the increasingly competitive smartphone race?

Globally Nokia?s Symbian OS accounts for about half of smartphone subscribers due to its dominant position in Europe and Asia-Pacific, but in the U.S. Apple?s iOS, Google?s Android and RIM?s BlackBerry are grabbing market share Nokia and are dominant in North America.

In the U.S., BlackBerry enjoys the largest market share (35 percent in the second quarter of 2010), but it is slowly but steadily dropping, according to eMarketer.

?BlackBerry users demonstrate a lack of loyalty to the platform, with only 42 percent of current BlackBerry owners would opt for another BlackBerry as their next smartphone,? Mr. Elkin said.

The iPhone has 28 percent of U.S. smartphone market share and Android is coming on strong with 13 percent.

?Android is the fastest-growing smartphone OS?its market share tripled over past three quarters,? Mr. Elkin said. ?Android has nowhere to go but up.

?Keep in mind, though, that HP bought Palm, and Microsoft?s Windows Phone 7 series is launching very shortly, so the current configuration may shift over the next few years,? he said. ?Smartphone owners are voracious media consumers?they simply do more of everything: more app use, browsing, social networking, music, video and messaging.

?While smartphone users are a quarter of the population, they already represent more than half of key mobile activities.?

No. 4
Increased ownership of smart devices is driving mobile Internet growth.

U.S. mobile Internet users have grown from 50.9 million (16.7 percent of the population) in 2008 to 68.6 million (22.3 percent) in 2009 and 85.5 million (27.6 percent) this year.

That number is projected to grow to 101.1 million (32.3 percent) next year.

No. 5
Communication modes are undergoing a significant shift.

Among U.S. mobile phone users, in May 2010 65.2 percent sent a text message to another phone, 31.9 percent used their phone?s browser, 30 percent used/downloaded applications, 22.5 percent played mobile games and 20.8 percent accessed a social networking site or blog.

Social networks are fast becoming the primary way mobile users exchange information. Frequent social network access is linked to above-average mobile content consumption.

The nexus of mobile and social is increasingly about one key attribute?location. And, location leads to increased relevance for mobile marketing.

?The closer you get to a consumer, the more relevant an offer you can present,? Mr. Elkin said. ?Location is very powerful data because it puts you in the palm of consumers? hand near the point of purchase, which represents part of the future of marketing.

?Location-based ads and messages can prompt relevant actions, encourage consumers to take the next step, find out more information about a brand or product and make a purchase,? he said. ?For consumers, sharing location is all about the value exchange.

?They expect to get something in return for sharing where they are and what they?re doing.?

No. 6
The base of mobile content users will continue to see strong growth.

The percentage of mobile gamers has gone from 45.6 percent in 2008 to 64 percent this year, and it is projected to rise to 72.8 percent in 2011.

The percentage of mobile video viewers has risen from 12.3 percent in 2008 to 21.7 this year, and it is projected to rise to 31.4 percent in 2011.

The percentage of mobile music listeners has gone from 12.9 percent in 2008 to 21.7 percent this year, and it is projected to rise to 29.2 percent in 2011.

?Mobile gaming, music and video revenues will more than double from 2010 to 2014,? Mr. Elkin said. ?The ad-supported component will grow fourfold over that time?much quicker than paid content.

?It?s important to figure out the optimal balance between free and fee,? he said.

No. 7
Tablets are changing the face of mobility and computing.

EMarketer projects 12.9 million iPad shipments worldwide in 2010, 36.5 million 2011 and 50.4 million in 2012.

By 2015, Forrester projects that tablets will represent 23 percent of all PC sales, which will be more than either desktops or netbooks, trailing only notebooks.

Tablet buyers are wealthier, better educated and more connected than the average U.S. adult.

For marketers, tablets? bigger screens promise more immersive experiences.

?The key thing for marketers is the combination of larger screens and the touch Web really shouldn?t be underestimated,? Mr. Elkin said. ?There are much higher interaction rates for the Web and apps among smartphone owners, and on a bigger canvas we expect those deltas to go even higher.

?We often see double consumption and usage on touchscreen devices versus non-touch interfaces,? he said. ?The mobile Web is becoming more app-like in appearance and experience, and the likelihood is that the mobile Web and apps will continue to coexist.

?As the industry pushes towards the HTML 5 standard, the Web is becoming more app-like, so there?s an increasing convergence between the appearance and experience.?