- SMS will grow continue to grow
This may come under the heading ‘no shit Sherlock’. However, it is worth pointing out that in the current climate there will be a move away from mobile internet advertising and ad led content towards SMS. Even in 2008, some ad agencies were declaring that SMS was still the killer app for mobile marketing. With the current climate the move will be towards more direct and functional campaigns, such as Swift Cover’s vehicle insurance quotes by SMS.
- Bluetooth marketing will grow
With the change last year in the Ofcom regulations, which saw Bluetooth as a broadcast, not a personal medium, a number of companies started to offer this as a proximity marketing solution. With the growth in these companies and the potential from Bluetooth we will see many more campaigns in 2009.
My scepticism to QR (Quick Recognition) Codes, or 2D Bar Codes has changed this year. Whilst they have been around for some time, I tended to believe that they were useful only in Japan and were too niche for the European market. In the last year, however, the use of QR codes has made the idea more accessible to the public. For example, the newspaper City AM has a QR code on the front page in every issue. Pepsi also ran a QR campaign this year.
The advantage of using the codes is that it provides the user with very fast access to further information – this could be anything from an SMS to a mobile link to an application download. This offers an ideal way to use mobile to enhance a print campaign.
The real killer app in the QR world will be when handsets have the readers as standard. Top end Nokias have then as standard, and Google intend to include one in their next release of Android. Although this will represent a tiny percentage of the mobile market, it is likely that other handset manufacturers and mobile networks will follow suit.
- MMS will grow … but it will continue to remain niche
MMS has a place in mobile. It is considerably less important than SMS - on a peer to peer level, most people use it very occasionally. However in the advertising and marketing area there is real potential. It offers a neat way of delivering pictures and video to handsets. This is particularly the case with couponing and ticketing (see below), so expect to see a growth in this area in 2009.
- Mobile Couponing and Ticketing will increase
The potential in coupons and tickets sent to mobile has not been realised. The biggest opportunity for it’s increase comes from the current economic climate, where the drive to reduce costs will be the overriding factor for many companies. Add to this the need to reduce carbon emissions, and it becomes clear that mobile tickets are an obvious choice. One example of a form of ticketing is the mobile airline check in being offered by British Airways and some other companies. This delivers the 2d barcode that is on web tickets and boarding passes, but offers the advantage of not requiring a print out. If it’s safe enough for airports then it is easily safe enough for any type of event. The barcodes will have to be delivered by MMS of course.
- Location Based Services (LBS) will NOT take off
Whilst I have always liked the idea of services that are linked to, or based on the user’s location, I have never been convinced that they will take off for one simple reason. Cost. In the UK the two issues are the charges made by the networks for location hits and the cost of converting postcode to Lat and Long data. Unlike most other countries in the world, in the UK the postcode to Lat/Long data must be bought on a yearly basis.
For both companies and individual users the cost of LBS versus the benefit is not significant enough. If you add to this the fact that Google, for example offer good mobile mapping and location services for free, it hardly seems worth developing your own.
- Mobile internet overtakes PC based internet use
OK, maybe not in the UK as a whole, but a combination of flat rate tariffs, better handsets and mobile USB ‘broadband’ will see a significant increase in the number of mobile internet users. Worldwide there will be more people connecting through their mobile network than a land-based ISP.
Why is this significant for mobile marketing? With more internet users, propositioning content, and especially ad content for the mobile market becomes much more important. Whilst things like ‘mobile search’ will remain limited, applications that use the mobile internet will increase, along with the opportunities for ad funded content.
- Mobile security will become a bigger issue
With more mobile applications such as banking and payment, along with an increase in mobile internet and marketing, expect to see more debate about security on handsets. An independent survey found that 5.6 million people in the EU already access financial information from their mobile phones, a 23.6 per cent jump from 2007. And with this jump expect to see an increase in scams such as phishing.
On the marketing side, network operators may also introduce spam filtering for SMS if the levels of marketing increase.
- Targeted and Niche Advertising will grow
… just as untargeted mobile advertising will fail materialise. Sticking a banner on a mobile portal is not the way forward for mobile advertising. Neither will the way forward come from PPC (Pay Per Click) models such as Google’s Adwords. The fact remains that the mobile internet experience is not one of search and browse in the same way as a PC.
Targeted advertising, such as Blyk’s service will be the way forward. Blyk have around 200,000 UK subscribers under 24 years old who receive free calls and SMS in return for receiving advertising content. It’s a clear, simple relationship that both advertisers and the Blyk users know and understand.
- The Iphone will become ‘just another phone’
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been an Apple fan for years … Macs, Ipods etc. They have great products and superb design. The iphone is great too. Well, great for what it is. The fact remains that the iphone is just one product in a smartphone market that represents little more than 20% of users. And in that market there is stiff competition from Blackberry, Nokia and now the Google Phone.
Underlying this, is the fact that most people want a phone to make calls and send SMS. They don’t want to listen to music or watch videos. That, after all, is what you do at home! Many people do not want to be connected to their email all the time. They actually want to get a way from it.
I predict that the iphone will be like the Apple Mac – a great product for a niche of highly enthusiastic users. In mobile marketing terms it means that some of the high profile campaigns, such as the Guiness game, will fail to light the imagination of many people. ‘This will change everything’? I don’t think so.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Top Ten Mobile Marketing developments for 2009
Around this time of year it seems as though everyone is in the business of making predictions. Sticking your neck out these days can leave yourself open to ridicule later on, but never one to shy away from a bit of controversy, here’s my Top Ten Mobile Marketing Developments for 2009: