Last year was the year of mobile. You blinked? Well, you missed it.
We moved from multiple screens to one – the mobile – and now, we’re again including new screens through wearables and virtual reality, resulting in a shift in consumers’ consumption habits and technology adoption. The one interesting element that governs this seismic change is that mobile is now the number one screen we’re most dependent on.
Users around the world never stop checking their phones – not even when they’re asleep. In the Middle East, more than 90 percent of media interactions occur through the mobile screen. Yet, we’re stuck asking the old, mundane questions: “Why isn’t mobile growing?” “Why is mobile marketing not fully utilized by brands?” And then, of course, there’s my personal favorite: “The Year of Mobile”.
Eighty-five percent smartphone penetration, five hours spent daily on a mobile phone, looked at 200 times a day on average, mobile video on the rise… These are facts most marketers know – or should know. Mobile is the remote control of the consumers’ lives. However, most brands in the region talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. Where else can you target a user down to within a meter of their location, overlaid with the content they’re browsing, and then direct them to visit a store or make a funny face to win a prize?
Ten years ago, we regarded ‘digital’ as a separate channel. Now, the only people who refer to digital as a silo are the ones still being introduced to it. Digital lives in everything now and the same school of thought needs to be applied to mobile.
Sizmek and Doubleclick will tell you that most of the Internet traffic in the GCC now comes from mobile devices. The year 2015 was that watershed moment. Simply put, smartphone penetration = mobile Internet usage = mobile commerce = mobile remote commerce.
With this in mind, there are three main opportunities for mobile in the region:
No, content is not just for social media. With new platforms like Netflix, content creation is changing and we are being forced to really think about how we can allow content to flourish on mobile. The rule is “Think Mobile First”, but “Think Utility First” is far more pivotal. Utility is a multi-million dollar business with startups thriving in every possible need there is: shopping, food delivery, bills and even laundry services. Connecting content to serve a purpose outside the regular ‘share’ or ‘like’ needs to increase in this region.
Starbucks is well known for combining utility with mobile experiences. Its latest roaster mobile experience allows users to fully experience the journey of the coffee bean, providing users an immersive storytelling experience that allows them to learn more about the brand and the product.
2. Think big
It’s no longer about the small screen. The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming all methods of engagement and brand-building. From wearables to nearables, the next generation of marketing is a massive shift from the finger to a whole-body experience. The driving force will remain mobile, but this will become a back-end that offers users the storage of their personal data to further enhance the IoT experience.
The small screen is moving to a plethora of screens; how we start engaging with these to build innovative brands while utilizing the data they bring is one of the biggest opportunities. For instance, Jaguar has elevated the use of a VR set for the launch of the F-Type. Using augmented reality, it simulated a driving experience, bridging the gap between the virtual and the real.
Personalization is not just about targeted ads. Mobile data is expected to be a gold mine for many B2B industries that are using it to create real-time experiences. Mobile devices can offer data about social behavior, purchase behavior, interests and location, all customized to real people.
For example, Barcelona used data to offer its tourists a customized experience of the city with a single mobile phone touch. Tourists downloaded the app, which then pulled information about their interests and social interactions, providing them with a beautiful experience of the city, tailored to the activities they liked.
Agencies and brands need to move away from ‘thinking’ mobile and start ‘doing’ mobile, by welcoming mobile tech startups and mobile innovation providers into the planning discussion. Mobile is the ultimate buy button and advertisers need to commit, invest, experiment, engage and win.