With January almost at a close, if your business hasn't spent the time to update its existing strategies already, it definitely should be at the top of your task list for the rest of the month. One of the key areas that every business needs to take a hard look at when it comes to marketing strategy in 2016 is how they are handling mobile marketing efforts. Having a responsive website is an absolutely essential first step, but this year it's going to take a look more than the basics of mobile marketing to get ahead of competition that spent a lot of last year worrying about Google's widely publicized but seemingly irrelevant "mobilegeddon" changes.
We've already covered the B2B marketing trends that will define 2016, now it's time to turn our attention towards five mobile trends your strategies need to incorporate in the new year in order to stay ahead of the competition and get the best marketing ROI possible in one of the fastest growing digital channels in the marketplace.
Technology research firm, Gartner, predicts that by 2017, 50% of all U.S. digital ecommerce revenue will come from mobile. A big part of this increase will be directly affected by mobile payments and platforms such as Apple Pay, Google's Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. Although many of these mobile payment options are just now entering the public conscience of consumers, eMarketer forecasts that in 2016, mobile payments on platforms like these will triple and grow by 210%.
When Apple, Google, Samsung, and even Facebook are all getting behind mobile wallets, it isn't too farfetched to think that this will become a standard payment option, and it is no surprise that many new smartphones in the coming year will have the mobile wallets pre- installed. Helping this trend is the fact that in October 2015, many merchants were even made to switch their payment terminals from swipe and-sign to chip-and-pin machines, which will be compatible with mobile payments. With 37.5 million U.S. mobile wallet users in 2016, and multiple options to cater to different devices, mobile wallets, and the payments made using them increasing in size in the next year is looking likely.
With 37.5 million U.S. mobile wallet users in 2016, look for mobile wallets to enjoy increased usage and average payment size. While medium-priced purchases of $20-100 accounted for 45.5% of all mobile payments in 2015, eMarketer predicts that by 2018, the percentage will jump up to 63.9%.
App Indexing and Deep Links in Apps
2015 was an unbelievable year for mobile, with Google rolling out "Mobilegeddon" in April, and their announcement that the United States and 9 other countries had more Google searches on mobile devices than on desktops.
Google announced the ability to index apps back in 2013, but only recent developments in the past year have really caught the attention of marketers. Besides the huge announcement about the rollout of their mobile-friendly algorithm update on April 21 of this year, Google also said that indexed apps would be playing a larger ranking factor and show up more prominently in mobile searches. Other developments this year, like Google expanding their results to include apps that were not installed on phones, app indexing for iOS (not just Android) apps in Google search, and the latest news that Safari on iOS 9 would also support Google search's app indexing have also forced marketers to take note and shift their strategies accordingly.
The mobile internet in 2016 will rapidly grow to include more and more content from deep links within indexed apps. It won't be enough to just create an app anymore. In order to increase discoverability, downloads, and engagement, marketers will have to start indexing their app and its content with deep links. Mobile search will continue to outpace desktop search in 2016, and the ability for apps to be indexed with deep links on not just Google, but on other platforms as well, will allow forward-thinking companies to expand their online presence in the increasingly competitive mobile space.
Google is not the only platform implementing and encouraging app indexing. Bing, Apple, and even Facebook are starting to invest in app indexing to compete with the ever growing mobile audience. Likewise, marketers would be wise to deep link content and index their apps in 2016 if they aren't already.
Mobile Buying Through Social Buy Buttons
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram have influenced many online purchases in the past several years, and they're also extremely popular mobile apps. Out of established social media networks
like Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram,only Pinterest is not in the top 15 smartphone apps in a June 2015 survey. The general consensus when it comes to using mobile devices for buying online is that users will do everything on their devices except actual buying. This is especially prevalent in the post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping season as users will check for sales, compare prices, and read product reviews, but make the actual purchase on a desktop.
With the rise of mobile commerce increasing 32.2% in 2015, it only makes sense that the next step for social media platforms in 2016 is to leverage their countless mobile users by creating a more seamless shopping experience for brands to take advantage. It's not a particularly new concept, as ecommerce third party platforms such as Shopify and Curalate's Like2Buy are already making a name for themselves on Facebook and Instagram with companies such as Gap and Target utilizing them to increase their online sales via social.
This isn't the first go-around with these third party platforms, and they will continue to be modified and perfected for each platform alongside each social media platform's own offerings. As social networks provide statistics for Likes, Clicks, and Shares, look for ecommerce platforms to provide extensive acquisition, conversion, and retention metrics for companies willing to add an ecommerce features on their social accounts. 72% of retailers in a May 2015 survey said they already had social ecommerce factored into their overall digital marketing strategy
. The same survey found that 40% of retailers expected at least half of their sales to come from social media by 2018.
Buying on mobile is not the same experience as purchasing on desktop, however with the rise of all things mobile in 2016, look for social media networks and their constantly improving ecommerce features, to be a driving force for mobile buying. As social media platforms begin to incorporate more ecommerce capabilities on their platforms, look to see more mobile buying instead of just browsing in 2016.
Snapchat has been around since 2011, and historically has been comparatively unknown when compared to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that are traditionally better known in the social media marketplace. Ever since its release, Snapchat gravitated towards millennials - as 71% of its U.S. users are between the ages of 18-29.
In January 2015, Snapchat caught the attention of advertisers with the rollout and success of its "Discover" feature. Essentially a "Snapchat for companies", the Discover feature lets users access and view photos and videos from major brands, and by swiping up or down on these photos or videos, users are able to access more content and articles that are uniquely curated and presented for Snapchat.
Starting off with only a handful of companies, Snapchat Discover has since expanded and now includes a variety of major brands such as ESPN, BuzzFeed, CNN, iHeartRadio, and the Food Network - with more companies eager to test out how Snapchat will perform for them. iHeartRadio broadcast its 2-day music festival on the mobile app in September and was able to gather an impressive 340 million impressions. Digiday reports that Cosmopolitan, another Snapchat Discover brand, gets an average of 3 million views per day. Snapchat receives 4 billion video views a day on its platform (which is the same as Facebook), so it's little wonder that companies are finding opportunities to get more of these video views for themselves.
What will truly make it a major marketing platform in the coming year is how organic, creative, and behind-the-scenes the branded content on Discover is compared to the advertising options on other social media networks. Even though reports indicate that Snapchat is asking for a steep price of up to $700,000 a day for their ads, major brands will be more than willing to pay up in 2016 if the results continue to trend upwards.
In 2016, Snapchat will grow to finally be on the same playing field in terms of established social media marketing platforms as the other major platforms as long as it can find a way to channel the initial of success of its "Discover" feature into a viable option for smaller businesses.
Apps to Rival Mobile Websites
While it might sound like an outrageous claim, in 2016, mobile apps will outpace mobile site growth and start to become a key player in mobile marketing. There is data to back this claim up. A 2015 study found that smartphone and tablet users spent the majority of their time on apps (75% and 81%, respectively). Another study found that big brands like Apple, eBay, Amazon, Target, Macy's, and Walmart largely interact with their mobile customers through apps instead of mobile sites.
When asked why they prefer mobile apps over mobile sites, smartphone users 18 years and older responded by saying that apps are more convenient (64% of respondents) and easier to use (62%). 19% of users also said that mobile sites don't look good or render correctly on their smartphones. Besides just the hassle of going on your mobile browser, the added benefits of an app include but are not limited to:
- Push notifications
- Cloud integration
- Offline/online access
- Enhanced security
- Branding freedom
- More personalization for users
Mobile users are already spending the majority of their time on apps, and with the capabilities of app indexing and setting up deep links that will eventually lead to seamless integration between apps and SEO, business owners will start to focus on creating and maintaining apps for their businesses instead of simply improving their mobile sites during the coming year.
Mobile Marketing Matters in 2016
Perhaps the biggest mobile-wide trend that we expect to see in 2016 is more purchases right on a user's mobile device. Whether that is through a mobile payment solution, a mobile app or a social buy button, brands should be positioning themselves in such a way digitally that it is easy for customers to purchase on their mobile devices if they so please. Furthermore, making sure these apps and social presences are prominent through app indexing, deep links, and leveraging exiting social media platforms that are native to mobile like Snapchat is going to be a key any business that hopes to execute mobile campaigns properly. Brands that execute and evolve their digital strategies to include mobile in a prominent way will be ahead of the competition and can expect to cash in accordingly as mobile devices become a viable device to research and finalize a purchase on.