In the past, getting in touch with people required calling a landline and simply hoping the person happened to be at home waiting to answer. Otherwise, you needed to physically track them down. Today, we find ourselves bombarded with emails, text messages, and social media notifications, all through our mobile phone, which comes with us wherever we go.
In 2019, mobile is poised to hold an even more important role in our lives, with technology opening up new opportunities for brands to better serve our lifestyles.
Here are our top four picks of the biggest mobile trends for 2019.
1. Event-Based Push Notifications
Through mobile app engagement, marketers can truly learn about their customers and connect with them on a personal level. Most mobile apps now deliver push notification services based on individual-specific events, such as app downloads, user registration, subscription renewal, birthdays, promotions, and even shopping cart abandonment.
Recommendations via push messaging offers an easy way for brands to stay in touch with users without being invasive. Companies that collect a wealth of data about user preferences can use that data to provide value by suggesting related content. For example, Spotify analyses a user’s listening history and suggests new artists they might like. Likewise, Netflix regularly sends push notifications whenever a user’s favourite TV show releases a new episode and even alerts viewers about new films they’re likely to enjoy, based on their past history. It could even be as simple as wishing customers a happy birthday or sending a reminder about expiring services.
All these examples of event-based push notifications can show a company is willing to engage with its users on a more personal level.
2. Location-Based Push Notifications
Location-based marketing allows marketers to bridge the physical and digital world by providing contextually relevant content. Currently, there are three main ways marketers can implement location-based marketing tactics:
Geotargeting is the act of reaching people based on their IP address. Geotargeting actually predates mobile and has been used since the early days of the internet, where websites accessed visitor IP addresses to serve personalised content. For example, the currency on an e-commerce site would be personalised based on the visitor’s IP address country. However, IP addresses aren’t very precise. It’s difficult for marketers to target specific demographics and locations, so geotargeting is more commonly used for broad locations, such as an entire city or state.
A geofence is a radial area around a location. When a user enters or exits a geofence, a brand can trigger a marketing message (brands can access the mobile device manufacturer’s “location services” to know when a user enters or exits a geofence). Geofencing is particularly useful for apps that want to direct foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores.
Beacons are the narrowest of the three location targeting methods. A beacon is a small, physical object that receives location data from nearby mobile devices via Bluetooth. When a user’s phone detects this signal, a location-based message can trigger. These notifications will be tailored exactly to where the customer is walking. Beacons rely on Bluetooth, which means it can be used in areas with poor mobile carrier reception, such as inside stores. However, its downside is that the customer must turn their Bluetooth signal on. Beacons are also difficult to use outside owned property because they must be physically placed.
3. Virtual Assistants
AI-powered virtual assistants are increasingly bringing the relationship between humans and machines closer, with Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa entering the mainstream. These virtual assistants use natural language processing to provide intelligent and accurate responses to a user’s queries, instructions or comments.
This will have a huge impact on the future of marketing. In terms of SEO, it requires marketers to completely rethink their keyword strategy because what you type into an online search engine is different from what you ask in person. For example, if you’re in London and you’re looking for a coffee shop nearby, you’re likely to type “coffee shops in London”. On the other hand, if you’re using a virtual assistant, you’re more likely to ask, “Find a coffee shop near me” or something even more conversational, such as “Where can I find a good coffee shop near me?” Marketers need to think about what customers might ask Siri or Alexa and use these keywords in titles, descriptions and content.
Another untapped channel is sponsored search. Although not yet widely available, we’re getting closer to this reality. In the future, you could ask Siri, “What gift should I buy for Mother’s Day?”. Siri would then recommend branded products, thanks to a combination of paid sponsorship and AI-driven data taking into account the user’s purchase history for their mother. In this way, brands can build deeper connections, recommend the next best actions, and create more contextually driven interactions.
4. Predictive Advertising
Mobile engagement platforms are using AI-powered analytics to provide marketers with insights into customer behaviours and preferences on a mass scale. When used effectively, AI can help companies deliver highly personalised ads.
Leading tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and LinkedIn, are already using AI, machine learning, big data and predictive analytics to improve their products. For example, one machine learning technique is called dynamic creative optimisation, which is used heavily by Amazon. Algorithms produce ads that are most likely to engage positively with a specific individual. These mobile ads are personalised according to a user’s previous interactions, demographic, and location. It can even be personalised to the weather.
In today’s hyper-competitive app landscape, nearly 1 in 4 people abandon apps after only one use. For marketers, it’s crucial that their ad strategy provides a positive and seamless user experience — or else they will find themselves without a user base.
Out of all four trends, it’s clear that the ubiquity of mobile devices has heralded a new era in digital marketing. The industry moves fast and marketers need to constantly be prepared to leverage new mobile marketing breakthroughs in order to better understand their customers and deliver to their rapidly shifting needs.