The From Line
The era of the smart phone is fully ascendant in 2013. This year Deloitte estimates that the billionth such device will be activated. However, mobile marketing success going forward will be about much more than just numbers. Anticipating how user behavior will evolve will be absolutely crucial to a well-managed mobile marketing budget.
Linear No More
For example, consider the 'second screen' phenomenon. The old paradigm, first on laptops and then on mobile devices, was linear. That is, users would move through channels in succession. Linear consumer behavior is relatively easy to track as one moves from point A to point B to point C.
Now, a new behavior pattern is emerging. For example, more and more smartphone users are active while simultaneously watching TV. Key questions arise. To what degree will smartphone usage relate to the 'second screen,' the TV? Will TV viewing and smartphone activities be related or not?
Smartphones may become popular as a means for further interaction with a television program. Should such consumer behavior proliferate, mobile marketing can respond with a more cross-channel, holistic approach. In fact, in ideal scenarios, the impact on advertising may almost be counter-intuitive. That is, the successful advertisers that truly engage such cross-channel users may gain their attention in very relevant ways.
iPad passes Mac computer in sales. The tablet is the new frontier.
It’s official. Consumers are tablet crazy; so much so that they are choosing the mobile devices over computers. It’s that time again marketers, just when you’ve finally optimized for mobile…
A look into Apples record breaking year provides an impressive example of the tablets’ rapid rise in popularity. In 2011, the company sold over 156 million iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), 55 million of which were iPads. To put this in perspective, in just one year combined sales of these mobile devices have exceeded the 122 million Mac computers ever sold. Since it was first available for pre-order in March of 2010, the sales trend of the iPad has blown all other Apple products out of the water (see figure below). CEO Tim Cook commented “This 55 is something no one would have guessed. Including us. To put it in context, it took us 22 years to sell 55 million Macs. It took us about 5 years to sell 22 million iPods, and it took us about 3 years to sell that many iPhones. And so, this thing is, as you said, it’s on a trajectory that’s off the charts.” There has been buzz for some time of the possible upcoming announcement of the iPad3, and today we have verification via Mashable that Apple has sent out invitations for an event on March 7th. The invitation states simply “We have something you really need to see. And touch” and according to Mashable is "superimposed on what is almost certainly an iPad". Knowing this, it is more crucial than ever for marketers to take to heart the magnitude of this trend. It has been rumored that the newest generation iPad will have a full operating system, providing the user with a full blown hand held computer, and conceivably further intensifying this trend. Yes, Apple is just one example, but I think it’s safe to say they are usually ahead of the trend. Assessing how we communicate via tablet will be paramount.
Back in September, Facebook unveiled their newest update, “Timeline”, poised to eventually replace users “Walls”. At that time, the update was only available to developers; but according to a Facebook spokesperson, the roll out should be completed to all users within the next few weeks. If you have yet to make the switch on your personal profile, it’s about that time. You must be rolling your eyes and sighing at the thought of yet another Facebook update. However, this one’s worth it. It’s going to be a game changer. Marketers need all the time they can get to acclimate themselves with the new interface before Timeline is launched for brand pages.
Takeaway: Tell the story of your business.
Facebook Timeline for businesses is unknown territory, but the question is not IF it will happen, but WHEN. According to a recent Mashable article, it’s a known fact that “consistency in both functionality and appearance is really important to Facebook” but logically, they need to have their base of personal users switched over before delving into business profiles. So for the time being, marketers need to do as much research and planning as possible. I have come up with a few notable predictions for when the Timeline rolls out to brand pages…
The “cover photo” will be the golden egg. It will allow marketers free reign to customize a billboard-like space above their page, essentially affording them prime real estate for free. The possibilities are endless. Additionally, it has been suggested that the new Timeline will create an increased emotional experience between brand and customer. It will no longer be a blasting of “check out this sale!” or “Like our page!” Customers and brands will now interact in a way that is more peer to peer. Sharing “life events” with each other via the Timeline will help solidify this. Finally, the switch from a “wall” view to a Timeline now allows page owners to change dates/times/places of past events, as well as add in new “life events”. I see this leading brands to post such “life events” within their timeline and challenging customers to engage in a scavenger hunt of sorts. A post embedded within the Timeline that includes a deal or special offer will not only drive traffic to the page but will increase engagement beyond the typical news feed skimming. I predict the Timeline change will alter the way customers interact with businesses. According to a Facebook representative, so far “very few people ever return to a Facebook brand’s page after liking it. People are 40-120x more likely to see your posts in their news feed.” The Timeline is like a brand’s own personal news feed. Marketers will need to make the most of this change and reward returning customers.
It has long been understood that pointing all your company’s marketing efforts in one direction will not yield the best possible results. Most recently, multichannel integration has included both online and offline mediums, but not without a significant amount of confusion. A recent STRATA study found that “more than half of US media buyers said less than 25% of their clients are running online and offline integrated campaigns” and even more surprisingly, one in four media buyers didn’t have a single client employing a multichannel strategy. This could be attributed to the fact that it is a considerably more complex process to measure the combined ROI of a multichannel marketing campaign. A Mckinsey Consulting study suggested that “onlines confusing and incompatible set of metrics may be most at fault” for the low percentage of marketers making use of a multichannel campaign as well as the “challenges with measuring overall investment”. Marketers are getting lost and instead of utilizing the tools available to them, they are shying away from integration all together. This doesn’t have to be the case. There is an easier way to integrate online and offline. Email is the one channel that will help immediately while providing rich customer metrics. An effective email marketing campaign can help solve the problem of origination as well as track the results of a particular campaign and compound its positive effects by layering impressions across multiple channels.