The past 2 years have been earmarked with tremendous mobile growth and spending. 2011 was declared as the year of mobile – but are we really getting the benefits we predicted? How do we assess what our return should be?
Marketers new to the mobile channel are searching for the latest in innovation, but perhaps another approach is truly necessary to understand what leads to the most effective mobile marketing campaigns. These mobile successes start with the same marketing fundamentals we apply to any other channel and it’s not necessarily the coolest mobile app, but getting a true understanding of how our customers are using the devices in their pockets. Let’s break down the current reality of mobile and establish key methodologies to deliver successful mobile marketing campaigns.
The Mobile App vs Mobile Web Debate
Mobile applications are used by approximately 24% of users (Mashable, 2010). Mobile applications are infiltrating our culture, but let’s analyze the long term vision of multiple applications. In a day and age where convenience is key – are users really opening up unique applications to find or complete specific tasks on their handsets? The answer is no. 1 in 4 mobile apps once downloaded are never used again (mobithinking, 2011). So what types of applications are actually being used by consumers? In order of popularity, Americans are using mobile applications for games, news, maps, social networking and music. Compound that with the fact that mobile applications are not cross platform and have development costs averaging $30,000 each and there must be a strategy in place to drive traffic to download the application, we really have to calculate the ROI of our efforts and ensure our KPI targets warrant the expenditure. Mobile web on the other hand is cross-platform, and is accessible to not only Smartphone devices, but also web enabled feature phone devices. Studies show that if a user has a negative mobile web experience they are 40% more likely to head to a competitive site and 61% more likely not to return to the problem site (Gomez, 2009). Mobile web is core to a cohesive strategy as consumers are already using web enabled devices to search on the go and odds are that some of your web traffic is already coming from mobile.
Are people really using QR codes?
Currently 30% of Smartphones users have QR code readers available in the United States. This means the market penetration of these codes is approximately 9%. That being said, usage of the 2D codes is increasing exponentially, but the overall market usage is still quite low. The trick here is working out an integrated marketing strategy by ensuring your customer has access to this technology and by providing an alternative for those users that don’t have access like a short code implementation with SMS or MMS. The good news here is that if you have a mobile enabled site, creating a QR code implementation is easy and cost effective. If your customers are Smartphone users who are technically inclined, this avenue may make sense, but ensure your non QR code using customers also have a feasible method to retrieve information.
Mobile messaging basics
The most ubiquitous mobile marketing platform represents almost 100% market penetration for mobile users. Mobile messaging is an integral part of any mobile strategy and no mobile campaign should be considered complete without messaging due to 3 key factors:
- Messaging has the highest market penetration rates verging close to 100%
- Messaging is a push strategy – Consider that messaging content is not user initiated once an opt-in is acquired. This means that the marketer controls when information is being sent to the user and it provides marketers with a lot more control over the timing and content of their campaigns. We are currently seeing redemption rates in the high teens with this strategy due to message open rates - 98% of messages are opened, and 83% of messages are opened within the first hour (Frost & Sullivan, 2010).
- Messaging content is no longer restricted to just text – Recent advances in MMS technologies and user centric handset detection are making this delivery channel a contender to deliver rich content beyond simple 160 character text to the majority of handsets. This new method enables marketers to deliver images, audio and video to 96% of handsets in the United States (Iris Mobile, 2011) for an engaging customer experience across platforms and carriers. MMS is currently bigger than the global music industry and in 2010 it passed the global movie industry box office revenues in total volume (Tomi Ahonen, 2010), with usage projections trending upwards and costs trending downwards, it is just a matter of time until MMS redefines the messaging space in the United States
As large media brands work to monetize their content via mobile, we need to be conscious of not only emerging trends but also applying the same marketing principles to mobile as we do to every other channel. Start by understanding your customer behavior, layer fundamental mobile strategies over that core, and then finally focus on the big ideas once a solid foundation is in place to ensure results. Using this methodology will not only ensure a long term return on investment for your organization, but your customer will also be able to access the information they are looking for on the move.
Cezar Kolodziej, Ph.D. – President & CEO
Cezar Kolodziej, PhD is the President, CEO and Co-Founder of Iris Mobile. He is widely recognized as one of foremost mobile technologist and visionary experts on MMS, rich media messaging and universal mobile marketing. He is actively participating in defining the next generation mobile marketing and advertising. He has more than 20 years of technology and managerial leadership experience.
Prior to founding Iris Mobile, Cezar was Chief Architect for the Motorola messaging business. Under his leadership Motorola messaging products were chosen as an exclusive multimedia-messaging platform by the largest tier-1 US wireless operator, considered the most successful in the world as measured by MMS uptake.