Depending on who you speak with, the 'Year of Mobile Marketing' has already come and gone, hasn't arrived yet, or maybe never will. While last week's Mobile Media Summit proved insightful on current and future trends in this space - mobile growth has never experienced such high consumer growth  -  there is still a lag in interest and spending in mobile marketing because many (i.e., companies, marketers, and agencies) still focus much of their budgets on successful and measurable SEO, social media and PPC campaigns.

mobile advertising budget chart
For mobile to become an indispensible component of a digital marketing campaign, the scale of people who are exposed to it must create a valuable ROI for digital marketers. As infrastructure is improved and costs level out, mobile will likely become the next marketing frontier. However, a few things need to develop before we start shelving For starters, some interesting numbers at the conference, providing insight onto the opportunity and growth of the market:
  • In the next three years, mobile data traffic is expected to increase by almost 4,000%.
  • By 2015, more people are expected to access the Internet through mobile devices than through the wired Internet.
  • Mobile advertising is estimated to grow from $1.2 billion this year, to $4.4 billion by 2015.Today, only 30% of major brands have a mobile optimized website/experience.
  • Round tables and speakers discussed a variety of information on mobile marketing opportunities, but a few stood out. Here are the key-takeaways:

Hyper-Local

One major theme of the summit was geo-targeting and hyper-local marketing through mobile devices. Bringing business online, whether mobile or not, allows businesses both big and small to reach an audience they might not have previously reached. Mobile can bring that targeting one step further. But how targeted can mobile get? Is it necessary to target people while in their kitchen or living room? It is possible-but for now, the consensus on hyper-local targeting is based on brick-and-mortar stores until hyper-targeting proves more economic. Diana Epstein (@daubale) of Jumptap explained, "Hyper local is still very new and we are all trying to find ways to scale as   we see the vast opportunities this opens." Thus, it seems that actionable results will follow if the desired scale of consumers is reachable.
mobile marketing chart

Creative is Key

The Internet obviously no longer lacks creative marketing or media. Thus, the everyday consumer expects this to transition content seamlessly over to their phone. From apps to mobile sites, and new devices like the iPhone 4S or Kindle Fire, mobile has the ability to display creative ads and videos on par with desktop. Alexandre Mars, CEO of PhoneValley, explained that custom development and creative marketing is what must come next for mobile to become effective and more readily accepted by the average consumer. In short, keep mobile efforts creative.

Rich-Media Advertising

Simply stated, mobile rich-media ads cost more than conventional mobile ads. On average, a rich media ad is about $15 CPM where a conventional ad can run at about $2 CPM (as a quick comparison, think of an interactive touch screen game overlay versus a basic banner ad). However, rich media ads perform two to three times higher on than conventional ads. Furthermroe, they also create less unwanted interruption-one of the main fears the mobile marketing industry faces, which could chase away potential customers. Mihael Mikek, CEO of Celtra, explained that rich media will soon become more achievable and affordable, making the experience much better without taking away from the user experience. Sal Candela (@SalCandela), mobile director at PHD Media, agreed adding that rich banner ads are the gateway to rich media in mobile space. As the prices of rich-media mobile ads go down, these will prove to be a more economic investment in the mobile ad world. We might have to wait this one out, but rich media advertising will eventually be worth the effort.

Consumer Value-Make It Easy

Perhaps one of the most referred to topics at the conference was the idea a few years back when people expected a day to come that they would only need to walk past a Starbucks and receive a text message offering a coupon or free coffee. This hasn't happened (although location-based targeting from companies like Foursquare are coming close) but it is something that resonated with consumers because the process sounded easy and seamless. There would be little to no action needed to be taken on the part of the customer. For mobile marketing to be effective, it needs to be relevant to the consumer and bring value to them. Today, whether it is for promotions, entertainment, or discounts, ads must not deviate from the user experience, but rather add to it, or become a part of it. Make mobile marketing an easy, integrated experience.

The Final Piece

Is mobile the final piece of the puzzle for digital media? As price becomes more proportionate to scale, mobile is becoming an integrated and necessary part of digital marketing. And, as the consumer more readily accepts mobile marketing, it is important to carefully determine the best time to jump into the mobile space with any given brand.
How to Get Started With Mobile Whitepaper