Eileen McKay, InMobi's Regional Sales Manager in the Pacific Northwest sounds off on the trends she sees developing as we close Q1:Could it be that 2013 is finally going to be the year for brands to finally take the plunge and deeply embrace mobile marketing? Smartphone penetration has now crossed the majority threshold in the US. As of September 2012, 51% of US mobile subscribers own a smartphone (comScore mobile lens, Sept, 12), Consider also, that is the national statistic. Look amongst your own peers and the penetration seems even greater: our advertising community is likely 95% smartphone carrying and even among the broader consumer market in large cities, smartphone adoption seems higher than half the population as proven with a quick look around a restaurant, bar or on a bus or Bart train in San Francisco! Consumers are spending more media time on mobile web and apps and less time on more traditional mediums. The gap is wide and many feel we have reached the tipping point. Where 2012 was the year of mobile adoption, marketers are finally revisiting the media spend vs consumption imbalance in mobile. Brands have to embrace mobile, it is critical that mobile become a significant part of the dialogue throughout the purchase funnel. There has been a lot of coverage of late about the retail industry in particular. Retailers are concerned about "show-rooming", where consumers shop in stores and then bargain shop for these products online. A new Cisco study indicated that mobile is playing a greater role in the overall shopping experience with a third of shoppers using mobile searches to guide purchase decisions. Mobile commerce grew by 81% last year to nearly $25 billion (eMarketer Jan estimate). And the Cisco study also showed that shoppers are researching online and on mobile before finding products in stores. Perhaps one of the most powerful deliveries on the topic that I read recently, was Starbucks CEO, Howard Shultz keynoting at the National Retail Federation convention and expo in NYC in Jan, stating the seismic change in consumer behavior linked to technology, that social and mobile are fundamentally changing the way consumers buy things, and that mobile is now mission critical for retailers, it's a race against the clock, they have no choice but to invest mobile cannot be an afterthought, but deserves a seat at the head of the table! The mobile space is by no means perfect yet, but it is a land of opportunity just the same. It has been challenging for retail marketers, I believe in particular:
- M-commerce mobile payments are getting better and are a clear focus for Google, PayPal, Visa, Apple and likely Amazon too! I believe 2013 will see hugh strides in this area.
- Fragmentation on the mobile landscape: with thousands of variables among handsets, operating systems, carriers, wifi Vs 3G, 4G, App Vs mobile web and then thousands of publishers, the mobile landscape is still complex and fragmented, making standardization challenging.
But the good news is the advances being made in mobile technologies and companies like InMobi are making huge strides in advancing the mobile ad industry. With 500 data scientists, engineers, analysts and researches around globe, working around the clock, toward solutions and platforms that solve for fragmentation and simplify mobile for marketers, we are delivering pre and post campaign insights to help build better strategies, privacy compliant tracking and targeting solutions and rich immersive creative experiences, delivered at scale efficiently. We are shifting to a mobile first world: always connected and never before have advertisers been this close to so many consumers who reach for their mobile device first and last order of the day - we sleep with our phones close by, and keep them on and in our pockets throughout the day, 7 days a week. 2013 is time to test and learn and to embrace mobile strategies throughout the purchase funnel. Target, engage, showroom, drive action, convert, improve, repeat!