2014 Mobile Year in Review, Part 1:
The Increased Integration of Mobile in 2014 and Looking Ahead to 2015
The mobile world achieved a lot in 2014. As the technology improved and user-friendliness and popularity soared, brands got in on the action in a big way.
The Preferred Media
The experience of using websites, apps, and streaming video has become so much better on mobile devices that smartphones are now the most-used form of media consumption. The chart below from The Nielsen Company shows the difference from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014.
[caption id="attachment_599" align="alignnone" width="635"] Graphic from The Nielsen Company[/caption]
Mobile Payments Gain Exposure
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is not new in 2014, but with its implementation into more Android and Windows phones and Apple announcing Apple Pay, it has gained relevance.
In a year that was filled with hacking news, security concerns might still be holding back mobile payments. However, 2014 marked the year that over 50 companies officially accepted Apple Pay as a form of payment.
Companies are continuing to add mobile to their marketing strategies. As smartphones and tablets have become a more common way to search the Web and find brands, products, news, etc., Responsive Websites have become essential for businesses who want to be found.
Mobile apps and mobile marketing have become more commonplace as well. The world's biggest public corporation, Walmart, launched Savings Catcher, their own app. Everyone else, from Budweiser and Target to the local business down the street used mobile to target customers, run promotions, discounts, and offer rewards.
Increased Importance for Quality SEO
Google has come out and officially supported Responsive websites and is now showing whether or not a website is "mobile-friendly" in mobile search results.
If your brand image, website traffic, and customer experience weren't damaged by the lack of a mobile-friendly website in 2014, they likely will be in the upcoming year.
In case you haven't realized, Responsive websites are imperative to growing your business online! It's only a matter of time before search engines start penalizing websites that aren't mobile-friendly.
A Mobile App will continue to be a great tool for most brands (although not all) in providing value, customer service, and a better experience for customers.
The ability for brands to reach consumers with mobile marketing practices will take off. It has become way too easy for companies to track and retain consumer information through mobile for them not to try it. Consumers are too attached to their smartphones and find the experience helpful enough that they can't ignore mobile promotions and offers.
Providing context with targeted offers and promotions to more relevant potential customers is becoming more commonplace and geo-targeting might finally be taking off. According to Churck Hemann, Analytics Digital Marketing & Media Manager at Intel:
"While brands have used geo-targeting capabilities for years, they have also struggled to reconcile (and use) insights at a local level that might conflict with other macro trends, among other reasons. However, data maturation and availability have made most of those concerns moot, and in 2015 we're going to see more (and better) case studies of brands using this very localized data to reach customers."
Finally, mobile-centric social media platforms will be even more crucial in reaching customers and spreading brand awareness in 2015. We will discuss mobile as it relates to social media in part 2.