Mobile’s Impact on the Consumer Path to Purchase
One in three ad dollars will go to digital advertising next year, meaning digital media spending will be almost equal to television spending. Digital strategies will help drive the U.S. advertising market to $172 billion in 2015, according to new research from Magna Global. Additional research shows that digital advertising will overtake television advertising by 2017, due in large part to the growing popularity of online video, with sites like YouTube and Netflix. This—in combination with mobile and social networking—will push digital to the forefront.
A digital strategy is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have for retailers and brands. If you don't believe that, then you need to take a hard look at the following data points:
- Mobile devices lead to in-store purchases. 52 percent of U.S. shoppers have used a mobile device to research products while browsing in a store.
- Tablets are the cornerstone of online shopping. Tablets are expected to bring in $76 billion in online sales, two times that of mobile devices.
- Digital content and mobile devices go hand in hand. According to eMarketer, U.S. adults will spend 23 percent of their time consuming media on a mobile device this year.
- Mobile advertising is at its tipping point. Ad spend is expected to hit $31.45 billion this year. By 2018, it will top $94 billion.
How Do You Get There From Here?
Effective digital strategies take a cross-channel approach that integrates the various mobile channels, such as SMS, app, Web and social.
Value comes behind the scenes, as brands can learn useful information from mobile interactions. For example, customers reveal their operating system when they download an app or open their Web browser. Smart marketers collate such data points into one centralized customer profile—an ideal asset to maximize personalization for mobile.
Companies just getting started with cross-channel mobile marketing should focus on small wins. True cross-channel takes time and iteration, so commit to integrating what makes sense in the short, medium and long terms instead of trying to do everything simultaneously. Below you will find some key areas to consider when building out a mobile strategy:
1. Tablets, Smartphones and Watches, Oh My!
It will be vital for brands to take different form factors into account as they roll out their mobile campaigns. Mobile campaigns can quickly be compromised if brands don't think about the impact on visuals and the call to action across various screen sizes.
2. The Mobile Marketing Tipping Point
Mobile marketing is evolving as more than just a tactic and is being embraced as a core part of the marketing strategy. With the goals being relatively the same as traditional marketing, marketers will be able to attract, engage and retain new and existing customers. Marketers will be able to target their audiences through highly relevant content based on location, interests and interactions throughout the mobile lifecycle.
3. Deliver a Seamless Experience From Discovery to Purchase
Brands have to make a conscious effort to remove the silos across organizations to be successful at mobile marketing. The goal of marketers should be to collaborate across initiatives by taking in to account different screen sizes, channels, design and messages to deliver ONE consistent experience to consumers.
4. Connecting the Dots Across all of the Consumer Lifecycle
As digital becomes a more integral part of the marketing strategy it will be vitally important to understand how mobile campaigns are performing across the entire customer lifecycle—including mobile ads and messaging, QR Codes, mobile website, branded apps and social media. With these insights, marketers will be able to optimize their campaigns to better understand the triggers that lead consumers down the path-to-purchase.
People everywhere are becoming more reliant on mobile devices and mobile websites to provide them with instant access to product information, deals and the opportunity to purchase in an easy, straightforward manner. Brands have to make it easy for their customers to navigate mobile sites and quickly decide to purchase, regardless of what device they are on.
Mobile is going to continue to grow as will its use as a way for brands to interact with their customers. However, the mobile device is far more personal than your email inbox. Fortunately, there are ways to implement a mobile marketing strategy that delivers relevant information that your customers want to receive. By understanding how your customers want to engage with you will help you build loyalty and in turn, help you see faster returns on your marketing investment.
Greg is a 12-year mobile industry veteran and vice president of mobile solutions at Hipcricket, Inc., where he's responsible for the vision and strategy to deliver consumer experiences that increase mobile engagement and lifetime value across mobile messaging and advertising, mobile websites, social media and branded apps