As smartphones and tablets have come to dominate the device market, companies are responding with extra-fast growth in mobile advertising expenditure. According to a Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) study released this May, client-side marketers and retailers spent $6.7 billion on mobile marketing in 2012, but are forecasted to spend a startling $20 billion in 2015, showing an average annual growth rate of 52 percent and growing to support around a million and half jobs (compared to only 500,000 jobs in 2012).
All this growth is also expected to have an impact on the U.S. economy at the consumer end. Output to the economy was $139 billion in 2012. MMA forecasts a total of $400 billion in 2015, with 85 percent of sales impact taking place in “off-line” locations, namely physical storefronts. The study encompassed mobile advertising, mobile direct response, enhanced traditional media and mobile CRM. While 16 industries were examined, the three biggest mobile spenders were finance, retail and manufacturing.
“Mobile has sparked a ‘mobile-enhanced economy’ in which mobile converts every object into a medium and every place into an opportunity for a message. By empowering the ‘always on, always on the go’ consumer, mobile has transformed people into interactive, creative, and responsive partners in the marketing process,” said the MMA announcement on the research center’s website.
While MMA mentioned that mobile marketing could be subject to overregulation in future years, which has the potential to lower forecasted spending, current trends have mobile content growing to stake out a key place in all marketing strategies. At the creative level alone, this promises a lot more innovative marketing content in the future, since mobile comes with several unique tools for companies to use.
Location-based services, for example, promise to link customers with nearby solutions and can potentially even guide them around stores or point out nearby kiosks with particular promotions. Voice-command advertising or services are another mobile-only branch for marketers to explore. Scanning, currently bound up in the QR code phase, could be replaced by near-field communication (NFC) technologies that allow customers to interact with nearby ads or objects, what MMA calls the “proximity and recognition” field.
The most successful paths will be determined by consumers and what mobile content they prove willing to engage with. While MMA is betting on heavy increases for in-store mobile marketing that prevent showrooming and give customers something to do with their phones while they shop, customers could also become more accustomed to purchasing directly from their phones. Marketers may eventually need to make a choice between value-adding mobile campaigns and mobile advertising that seeks direct sales — unless businesses think they can tackle both at once.
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