Another year almost at an end and another year pronounced as the “Year of Mobile.” While pundits have been saying this for years, it’s true now: Mobile device adoption has reached critical mass. Yet in the rush to embrace all things mobile, there’s still something lagging in our industry.
It was definitely a banner year for mobile: Subscriptions hit a whopping 6 billion, many new devices hit the market and Apple’s and Google’s app stores exploded with new -- a combined total of 1.4 million.
What was missing in this year’s Year of Mobile wasn’t adoption or devices. It was analytics, measurement and embracing mobile’s differences. The analytics and measurement refers to a marketer’s ability to measure the effectiveness of mobile engagement, be it advertising, push notifications, SMS or mobile email – and then act on that data.
Mobile is not email or Web banner advertising for a smaller screen. This is increasingly obvious to marketers, many of whom have recognized they can’t apply the same old Web metrics to mobile and get the same results. The channels differ, the experience is different and so is the engagement.
So forget about 2013 being the Year of Mobile. We’re already there.
Instead, think of 2013 as the Year of Mobile Measurement. My money is on mobile analytics and measurement making great strides, indispensable components of any mobile engagement campaign. Here are five predictions of what the mobile messaging and measurement landscape will look like:
1. SMS Will Remain Relevant
Anyone who’s received a text reading 786-454-5736 WE BUY JUNK CARS CASH $300/400 COMPRAMOS CARROS might disagree, but SMS will live on despite newer and arguably more visually engaging formats precisely because of its simplicity and directness. Read our message. Text 1 to opt-in, text 2 to opt-out. Simple. Look for SMS to remain highly relevant in 2013 in both the developed and developing world – where feature phones outnumber smartphones. With messaging being limited, marketers will learn to make every character count.
2. Marketers Demand Mobile Be as Sophisticated As Other Marketing Channels
Current mobile analytics aren’t meeting the needs or challenges of marketers to engage or retain their mobile audiences, and show ROI. But now that the conversation has moved from whether to go mobile to how, marketers will demand the same sophistication that has been applied to print, TV and desktop measurement to gauge campaigns’ effectiveness and justifygrowing mobile budgets.
3. Big Data Will Drive Engagement, Retention, Revenue
The focus on Big Data will shift to smart data. Mobile marketers will start paying more attention to metrics that go beyond data gathering to the analysis of deep granular information — location, coupon clicks, organic vs. targeted re-engagement — that provides customer context and makes for successful targeting of individuals. The result makes for smarter, more engaged customers, driving both retention (far less costly than acquiring new customers) and sales.
4. Marketers Will Fine Tune Mobile Messaging
A/B split testing for mobile campaigns will boom and become a regular part of app development and management. New start-ups offering analytics services that go beyond download counts and open rates to deliver better engagement will debut. Through A/B split testing and more precise targeting, marketers will be more effective, fine tuning their marketing messages to perfection. Bombarding customers and users with poorly timed or irrelevant mobile messages will become so 2012.
5. Mobile Metrics Will Go Beyond Downloads, Swipes, Taps
Not only will marketers be doing more A/B testing, they’ll be using gathered data for message retargeting to unresponsive customers and users. There will be significant investment in metrics likeaction analytics -- campaigns tied to actions and ROI -- that go beyond simply tracking who downloaded what, when, and how many times. And while there might not be an ironclad set of industry-wide measurement standards by the end of 2013, mobile metrics will make huge strides in constant testing and feedback.