5 Mobile Trends to Watch – And Capitalize On – in 2016

This year, the marketing landscape will be dictated by mobile, and effective advertisers are prepared to capitalize on this trend. In fact, KPCB’s Mary Meeker 2015 Internet Trends Report revealed U.S. consumers now spend 51% of their online time on mobile devices, compared to 42% for desktop and laptop computers. This means brands that aren’t already engaging with their consumers through mobile devices are drastically behind their competitors, missing a valuable opportunity to create holistic shopper experiences.

Of course, the way consumers interact with their mobile devices is always changing, and marketers must adapt and evolve accordingly. Let’s take a look at some of the top mobile trends to watch this year:

1. Consumers Are Obsessed with their Smartphones

Consumers aren’t just relying more on their mobile devices; they can’t seem to put them down. Considering the following figures:

Considering shoppers don’t just prefer, but depend on their devices, mobile strategies are integral to the customer experience this year.

2. Mobility Moves Beyond the Smartphone

Advancements in mobile technology are emerging with great momentum. Today, smartphones are no longer the sole connected device that consumers use. Instead, Gartner predicts there will be 6.4 billion connected “things” in 2016, a 30% increase from 2016. These Items span from smartwatches to tennis racquets and even clothing.

The “Internet of Things” presents a valuable opportunity for marketers to collect, and act upon, more relevant data from an expanded portfolio of sources. However, research from Adobe Digital Index indicated that while the average consumer owns 7.2 connected devices and uses three or more daily, marketers typically only see one of these. In the connected age, marketers that can overcome this challenge and create holistic customer experiences stand to win.

3. Mobile Video is On the Rise

Marketers that hope to succeed in 2016 must embrace mobile video. In fact, Cisco reported mobile video traffic now accounts for more than half of all mobile data traffic. This means advertisers must invest a significant amount of their budgets into mobile video ads that are timely, relevant and formatted correctly to be viewed on a variety of devices. With the right data and addressable media strategies in place, video ads can be a major source of conversions this year.

4. Mobile Shopping Evolves into Mobile Buying

In the past, consumers used mobile devices to research products they would eventually purchase in stores. As eMarketer estimated, only 1.6% of total retail sales in the U.S. occurred on mobile devices in 2015.

This reality is quickly changing. As companies simplify the online shopping process, more consumers are going to both research products and make final purchase decisions via mobile. For instance, the KCPG report placed final sale conversion rates for tablets at 8.58%, slightly above the 8.52% driven by desktop computers. As a result, marketers’ ability to attribute final purchases to advertising strategies will become more of a priority.

5. Mobile Payments Will Become the Standard

A few years ago, brands would scoff at the idea of the majority of their customers using mobile devices to pay for items. However, eMarketer reported the number of people in the U.S. using their phones to pay for goods will triple in 2016. But shoppers aren’t just using their devices for the convenience of leaving their cash and cards at home; consumers want mobile payments to facilitate seamless shopping experiences, where their devices are directly linked to offers, rewards and loyalty. The good news is that with the growth in mobile payments comes a flood of transactional, device-driven data for marketers to capitalize on.

Mobile gives brands opportunities to transform their businesses and drastically improve their customers’ experiences. Despite this fact, Forrester reported that today, only 14% of companies use mobile to transform their customer experiences.

As shoppers continue to use more mobile devices and integrate those devices into their shopping journeys, it is crucial they have seamless experiences that make the process simple and cohesive. To begin making strides toward seamless interactions with their consumers, marketers need to be able to recognize their customers across devices and channels. Beyond that, they must be prepared to tap into the massive amount of data that is available to them through mobile, and use that information to create more relevant messaging and experiences.

What other trends are hot in 2016? The digital experts weigh in. Download this free report to learn more.

Originally published April 19, 2016

Todd Schoenherr was formerly SVP of Product Strategy at Signal. Prior to Signal he was a VP at Guild Capital, a venture capital firm focused on media and technology companies. He also led product and marketing teams at Orbitz Worldwide and consulted for Fortune 500 clients at Accenture.Todd received a B.S. in Engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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