Top 5 Mobile Marketing Trends to Watch for 2015

Digital marketing teams continue to invest in mobile as demand shifts from the seated screen to on-the-go. Mobile marketing budgets have increased, but at a slower pace than the mobile industry is moving as a whole. Measurement and senior leadership buy-ins are two of the primary reasons. Both, however, are improving.

The Mobile Marketing Association predicts that global ad spend could reach $220 billion in the next decade, $70 billion in the U.S. alone. Where is much of that spending going? According to eMarketer, most of it is going to Facebook and Google. Yahoo and Twitter entered the picture, too, but scale is an issue on those platforms.

As someone who oversees mobile marketing for a major company, I have to continually look into the future to predict where we should be going and evaluate what makes sense to grow the business. The trends I’m about to list are in more of a general sense of the industry as a whole and not necessary what The Times should be exploring or will be investing in.

Here are the Top 5 mobile marketing trends to watch for in 2015:

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1. Deep-Linking: I have a separate post about deep-linking coming soon and even spoke on the topic in a presentation at Mobile Marketer in September. The days of search results pointing to the Web and a link pointing to the App Store should be behind us. Instead, if you have an app on your device, Google should include content from the app in their search results. Then, your marketing shouldn’t just open an app for someone; it should drive that user to a specific screen within it.

Google has begun embracing app indexing, but the technology to integrate has been slow to evolve. Companies are forced to build their own solutions or rely on third-parties. Both options haven’t been viable enough yet. I’m confident deep-linking will evolve further in 2015 though as I see some promising companies trying to tackle the space.

Apple Watch

2. Apple Watch: There are still a lot of open questions about when the Watch will hit the market (latest predictions are March). It’s also unknown whether the Watch will be embraced in large by the public. If history is on Apple’s side, then yes, it will be. That’s why we, as marketers, need to ensure we watch (no pun intended) this product closely and react quickly.

A recent report said there would be about 3 million smartwatches sold this year. That sounds like a small number compared to what Apple is going to be projecting internally. A majority of those would come in the Top 25% income bracket, between the ages of 13-30. If that’s your demo, start planning if you haven’t already begun.

Watch will be an extension of your iPhone app, so any marketing will have to be tied to that integration. It’s also not the easiest product to explain, since you’re essentially having to market the Apple Watch more than an app. I assume we’ll be seeing a lot of “Now on Watch”-type messaging, which is fine by me.

Apple Pay Logo

3. Apple Pay: When Apple says “jump,” you typically have to “jump.” That’s why their payment system has taken off more than any of the others that have hit the market in recent years.

Large in-store businesses have begun embracing Apple Pay technology, as have many of the financial institutions. In fact, 90 percent of U.S. credit cards are accepted by Apple Pay. Consumers are going to be slower to adopt the technology — there’s been little education for the public on the topic. Bank of America reported in January that target=”_blank”>1.1 million customers are using Apple Pay.

Smaller businesses should begin embracing and integrating with Apple Pay. Once Apple Watch, which will also support it, is released, the consumer usage numbers will increase even more.

Cross Device Attribution

4. Cross-Screen Attribution: One of the biggest pain points for marketers in the mobile space has been tracking a customers across devices. This is similar to the issues experienced in tracking a customer from online to offline. Desktop to mobile should be easier though, right?

It hasn’t been, but we’re getting closer. As Facebook continues to dominate as one of the top ad spend partners, they’re using user identifiers to track cross-platform. Twitter, Google and others offer similar tracking now. This is not completely accurate though since it’s only how the user interacted with an ad, not the product or app they were sent to. If you were to implement an SDK from one of these networks you would be able to see if that user installed and used the app, but purchased elsewhere.

That leaves me with two big points though: 1. How many SDKs are you going to stuff into your app? 2. You lose the person if they jump from one device to another.

Tune is a popular marketing partner and attribution service that has begun tracking install and usage events in-app, then marrying it with events on Web. They aren’t supported by Facebook, but this could help with all other partners. They’d still be impacted by Point #2 above though.

One solution would be ideal. But the next step in this space might have to be a single solution to track a user on-device both in-app and online, then tie the data to an internal customer_id (you’d need them to provide their info in this regard). While some companies claim to do this, it’s for their product specific initiatives and not for multiple uses.

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5. Native Advertising: The days of buying a traditional banner ad are dwindling. There are certainly still use cases for them, especially if you’re doing targeted marketing (i.e. location, profile, etc.) or re-targeting. But overall, a traditional banner ad — I’m talking the 320×50 and such — isn’t as effective as it once was.

Brands want to be integrated with other brands. They want their products to flow seamlessly into the user experience of another. It’s also about capturing the attention of the right audience at the right time, and often in the right place.

Google was one of the first to do this with their promoted search results. Now everyone is jumping on board, including marketers. As you begin to increase your mobile marketing budget, ensure that a large portion of it is tied to native.

What are the mobile marketing trends you’re keeping an eye on in 2015? Let us know in the comments below.

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