7 Predictions for Mobile Marketing in 2016

With the Black Friday over and your mobile campaigns for the rest of the holidays all set (you did plan for those over the summer, right?), it isn’t too early to look ahead to 2016.

Let’s look at a half-dozen, plus one, topics and predict how next year will be different than 2015:

1. We will see more emphasis on engagement vs. acquisition

The marketing adage that it is less expensive to keep a customer than find a new one remains during the mobile era. The head-scratch is when the brand or developer introduces an app, but then does nothing afterward.

Why is this so important?

Average retention rates over the first 12 weeks plummet below 10 percent by week five when there is no interaction with an app user, according to Apptentive.

Conversely, nearly one third are retained through seven weeks if the app maker has proactively reached out to users in some way. After 12 weeks, the number is 25%, 18 percentage points higher than rates seen by apps that don’t attempt to reach out to users.

In 2016 (and hopefully sooner), look for more focus on retention, a critical benefit of employing a mobile marketing automation platform.

2. Marketers will finally measure what is important

Incredibly, in 2015, we are still hearing brands say that while they believe that they need a mobile app, they can’t give good reasons why.

Next year, expect to see more of an understanding of what’s important with an app. That likely will come as more brands study, then replicate, the success of others.

This year, we are still, in large numbers, measuring the wrong things.

Here’s evidence of that, coming from a study by Econsultancy that asked businesses about the metrics used to measure mobile app success.

  • Number of downloads: 76%
  • Recurrent usage: 48%
  • Time spent: 41%
  • Revenue/leads generated: 40%
  • Conversion rate: 38%
  • Custom metrics (e.g. social shares): 22%
  • External metrics (e.g. reduced cost in customer service due to fewer phone calls): 16%
  • None of the above: 7%

Of course, anything other than concentrating on producing business results is a mistake. That’s why it is disappointing to see nearly twice as many putting the number of downloads at the top of the list than those tracking revenue and/or leads.

3. We’ll go deep with deep linking

Look for a separate upcoming post on the ramifications of Apple’s September announcements, but it’s important to list deep linking that comes with iOS9 as something significant.

Apple is making it easier for users to discover information in apps by surfacing the content of apps and websites in Search on iOS 9. And with seamless universal linking, you can take users to specific pages within your app, making discovery easier and engagement and monetization that much more within your grasp.

4. There will be heightened user expectations

Seventy percent of consumers delete an email immediately if it doesn’t render properly on their mobile device, per Blue Hornet.

Four in 10 Americans abandon a mobile shopping site that won’t load in three seconds or less (Fast Company). In fact, Amazon determined that a page load slowdown of only one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year.

And the user expectations will surely grow in 2016.

Forrester Research offered “to do” and “don’t do” tips in a new report called The Best of Mobile User Experience 2015.

“The best mobile experiences provide their users with immediate value from the moment they download and open the application,” said Deanna Laufer, analyst at Forrester Research and lead author on the report. “These leaders prioritize relevant functionality and perform reliably throughout the experience.

“The laggards? They hassle customers with unnecessary content and disappoint – or crash – in moments of need.”

5. The dollars flowing to mobile will increase

eMarketer recently revised its projections and now says that spending on mobile advertising in the United States will pass desktop spending for the first time in 2015. Mobile will account for 52.4% of total digital spending. That translates to $30.05 billion.

Additional dramatic growth is expected for 2016 with eMarketer forecasting mobile having 62.6% of the digital ad spend that equates to $42.01 billion.

We’ll predict here that the trend will continue in 2017 and thereafter. It’s pretty much a “duh”.

6. Push will become more refined

Last year was the trial period for beacons. This year, nearly all of the leading retailers have made a bet on the technology and associated mobile marketing programs that give brands and retailers more reach to mobile users.

The business rules are still being established. How often should a push be sent? What constitutes a suitable push as opposed to something that has little relevancy or urgency and would be better served with an email, for example?

We will be better at all this in 2016, especially when we learn the lessons from the upcoming holiday selling season.

7. Mobile loyalty efforts will amp up

One constant since mobile marketing began is that wireless device owners like offers. Pre-recession, during the recession, and post-recession, consumers have shown that they respond to deals.

Beyond that, savvy brands are often providing value without having to discount. That is seen, for example, in the form of exclusive content that is relevant and wanted by individual mobile users.

Some of the early mobile loyalty successes came in SMS-based clubs that saw the dissemination of two-for-ones or buy-one, get ones. Those continue today, especially in the quick-service restaurant category, but we’re seeing more brands drive loyalty in app via individualized communications and rewards. That should only grow in 2016.

And there are clear benefits.

Says the Harvard Business Review: “True loyalty doesn’t just serve and preserve valuable customer relationships; it creates and inspires more valuable customers.”

And there’s one last thing that we can predict – mobile is moving so fast, that there will be products, innovation, and behavior shifts that we can’t possible see coming. But we will stay on top of them here.