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3 smart mobile marketing trends to watch

2015 marked the first year that mobile traffic exceeded desktop internet use (at least in the U.S.), and 2016 is poised for even greater smartphone and tablet engagement among consumers.

Given larger technology trends and developments, consumers’ growing use of mobile devices is not all that surprising, but it is game-changing – especially when it comes to motivating consumers to action.

Take advertising, for example. As the global media environment shifted from its print origins to its online present, the industry became entrenched in the idea that they were trading print dollars for digital dimes and, ultimately, mobile pennies. Yet that’s no longer the case: As digital advertising observers noted earlier this year, Facebook’s shift from primarily-desktop to primarily-mobile has led to higher engagement and average revenue per user – meaning that in 2016, mobile users are far more valuable to advertisers than “pennies” are.

As stakeholders in the advertising and marketing sectors reorient their strategies to the new mobile-first reality, it’s crucial for them to keep an eye on the most impactful trends in the mobile space… or else they risk dropping their dollars (and dimes) on the wrong efforts. We see the following three mobile developments driving strong consumer activity in the months to come.

Video Goes Vertical

For as long as there’s been video, it’s been as horizontal as the landscape-oriented screens it’s been played on. But once again, mobile is changing the norms of media – this time by shifting its direction.

Many took umbrage when Snapchat, upon expanding its advertising arm in 2015, asked brands to film their ads vertically. But the results speak for themselves: Snapchat has said its users have a 9 times higher engagement rate with vertical rather than horizontal video. Other apps that have embraced vertical video and images include Periscope, Meerkat, and Instagram (which abandoned its square-media-only approach last year to better accommodate larger, vertically-oriented device screens).

The rise of vertical media is partly a concession to mobile device users; it represents brands and tech innovators accepting and adapting to their users’ preferences, rather than trying change them. That’s a wise marketing choice that consumer-facing companies should embrace in other areas, as well.

Smarter Automation Surges

One of those “other areas,” in fact, is digital messaging – an area of marketing where many companies are set in their ways. When it comes to email marketing and other automation-driven communication efforts, many businesses lean on their existing technologies and repeat the same efforts over and over again without ever earning meaningful results.

Or worse, many companies rely on single-channel (i.e., email-only) automation solutions with limited functionality, and invest significant time in manual efforts – A/B testing, segmenting user lists, resending – to drive stronger open rates and engagement… all while failing to consider that their user base may have no interest in engaging via email in the first place.

Smarter automation systems are beginning to change that. OtherLevels’ Intelligent Messaging, for example, can analyze historical user and campaign data to determine, in real time, the best time, day, device, and channel (email, app notification, SMS, or otherwise) for every message, to every customer – enabling marketers to reach 100 per cent of their audience without any manual decision-making.

Buy Buttons Get Pushy

And reaching customers ‘where they live’ – i.e., via their preferred medium or digital channel – is key to driving stronger conversions. When hit with the right message at the right time on the right channel, any consumer is available to buy… most especially the mobile consumer.

But moving mobile users from ‘available to buy’ over to ‘making the purchase’ takes more than just a message. It takes a compelling call to action, and a seamless shopping experience, to push them to convert. Retailers are increasingly adapting to that reality, as well, by incorporating ‘buy buttons’ into their apps and integrating them into their social channels.

By deploying buy buttons, retailers are enabling consumers to make more seamless purchases without ever navigating away from the screens where the items they’re buying are located. Backed by simple payment forms that reduce the purchase process to one or two steps, buy buttons reduce or eliminate the friction of making a mobile purchase.

The more buy buttons are utilised, the more mobile buying activity we’ll see across the e-commerce space – and the more valuable mobile users will become in the year ahead.

Brendan O’Kane, CEO and Managing Director of OtherLevels

Image source: Shutterstock/Lenka Horavova