Mobile is one of the fastest-growing marketing channels of 2018. Maybe that’s because mobile isn’t just a channel. It’s a platform. It’s a strategy. And for some, it’s a way of life.
Research published in the Internet Trends 2017 Report highlights this well. Look at how fast mobile use has grown since 2008. In 2016, it reached a full 3.1 hours per day—far outpacing desktops, laptops, or any other type of connected device.
But consumers expect a lot from their mobile devices and from their brands who operate within them. Companies that want to provide meaningful experiences on mobile need to be aware of the trends shaping the mobile world in 2018 and how they can adapt their strategies to support engagement, trust, and brand loyalty across all digital experiences.
Branded Apps for Mobile are Becoming the Norm
Businesses are slowly coming to terms with the fact that having separate sites for desktop and mobile experiences isn’t enough anymore. Companies need a responsive website that adapts to whatever device their user prefers.
The more pressing question in 2018 is whether a company should build its own brand application to support its digital marketing goals.
Brand-specific apps can be great marketing tools. They enable new engagement strategies, such as push notifications that help the brand stay visible even when the consumer isn’t logged into their browser. Plus, they offer an easy channel for providing discounts, coupon codes, and special promotions to the brand’s power users.
And when you consider that half of the total time Americans spend online is spent on their applications, the choice might seem like a no-brainer. But if that’s not enough, consider this: Google recently updated its algorithm to allow mobile apps to be crawled and indexed like any other site.
This is big, folks—you no longer have to rely on segmented marketing tactics to bring users to your app. With the right app configurations and SEO strategy, content within the app itself can get indexed and seen in organic search.
Clearly, Google supports the rise of branded apps. And as companies begin to reap the benefits of these improvements, this trend won’t be stopping any time soon.
Omni-Channel Experiences are Holding Strong
Mobile strategy isn’t all about the device itself. A key part of mobile marketing is understanding when to leverage mobile tactics and when to play into the customer’s desire for physical shopping experiences.
Research into consumer retail found that 70 percent of millennials still claim brick-and-mortar retail as their preferred shopping channel.
The importance of omni-channel marketing has been a hot topic since the inception of digital marketing. It’s one of those perennial topics that never seems to go away, and for good reason—despite the ease and efficiencies of online shopping through apps or websites, we consumers just can’t seem to shake our preference for those in-person shopping experiences.
And as the above data shows, we’re not in any danger of digital experiences eclipsing the retail environment any time soon.
Companies need to continue bridging their physical and digital assets to support these preferences. Branded mobile apps that offer discounts for in-store purchasing are a good example, but companies don’t need their own apps to make it work. All they need to do is stay on top of their customers’ buying preferences and give them the shopping experiences they want.
Bringing the Internet-of-Things (IoT) into the Fold
Not so long ago, a “mobile device” meant a laptop or a smartphone. These days, the definition of mobile devices has radically expanded to include in-home assistants such as Alexa or Google Home, smart watches, and even gadgets like smart coffee cups.
These IoT devices are changing the way companies interact with their customers; so much so that 51 percent of the world’s top global marketers expect IoT engagement to revolutionize the marketing landscape by 2020. And when you look at the wealth of data these devices provide for marketers, we’d have to agree:
- usage data on how consumers use and interact with their products
- better insight into each customer’s browsing habits as they pertain to the buyer’s journey
- advanced testing of real-time interactions and notifications
The IoT push speaks to an industry-wide shift toward data-driven marketing. And since we shoppers can’t seem to get enough of these always-on devices, their role in mobile marketing strategy will increase substantially over the coming years.
Adapting Content for Voice-Based Queries
Let’s look at another interesting bit of data noted in the above Internet Trends report: The rise of voice-based search.
The report found that while only 20 percent of total searches made through Google Assistant were voice-based, 70 percent of those voice searches used natural, conversational language in the query.
This should be no surprise when you consider the boom in personal assistants and IoT tools described above. Users speak to these devices as they would to a real person, and they’re getting accustomed to phrasing their searches in natural language.
We’re talking conversational, long-tail keywords here. These queries go way beyond the chunky keyword blocks most companies still use for their content strategies. Mobile marketers who want to capitalize on this will need to adapt their content marketing and SEO tactics.
Incorporating this natural language into keyword strategies is the best way to align a mobile marketing strategy with user intent—and will be a key aspect of mobile optimization moving forward.
Succeeding as a Modern Marketer
The way consumers use mobile is becoming more complex, and marketers need to keep pace. The above trends are just a few ways that companies can create more helpful and meaningful mobile experiences for their customers. The industry moves fast, but being aware of these changes is the best way to stay competitive in the mobile world.