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2014 – The Year of the Mobile

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2014 was a new era in the rise of mobile, content marketing and big data for many businesses. Right in its embryonic stage, mobile has irrevocably transformed digital marketing. It’s been an eventful year for marketers with the rise of omni-channel, mobile-first marketing, and a rapid growth in geo-tagging management – to name, but a few. The digital marketing industry will evolve even further in 2015, bringing a new set of marketing strategies and opportunities to look forward to. Here are some recent trends marketers should be attentive to for the year ahead.

We have already heard a lot about the mobile craze everywhere but 2014 bucked that trend. We are now going to witness major consumer transactions happening via mobile driven by mobile payment options such as paytm and freecharge. There is a perfect atmosphere of strong consumer evolution to mobility for every aspect of their lives, as well as enterprises treating mobility as a strategic advantage. We also saw mobile usage of social media overtake desktop usage. The mobile-centric Instagram, grew to over 300 million active users. There are more mobile phones (7.2 billion) on planet than number of people (7.16 billion).

It happens very rarely that a prediction in digital industry comes true. There were a lot of talks about 2014 being a year of mobile and that statement has come true, with 2014 witnessing an enormous growth in smartphones and so will 2015. Mobile presents a huge opportunity for marketers to reach their target audiences. Google research shows that 7 per cent of mobile searches led to a purchase within 24 hours, rising to 18 per cent for local searches. Smartphones are also changing communication habits – particularly for younger generations – with 94 per cent of communication time for 12 to 15 year olds spent on text-based activities such as instant messaging and social media, and only 3 per cent spent on voice calls.

In 2015, we will see the widely discussed mobile-first marketing approach finally develop to take advantage of these high consumption levels. Retailers will push more high-volume, low-cost products through their mobile commerce platform, to gain enhanced data on consumer behaviour, locality, adaptation, and ROI.

In the 2014 elections, we saw most politicians using social media for campaigning. Not only Indian politicians used social media but during the presidential elections in 2008 and 2012 president Barack Obama’s team most effectively used social media campaigns. In India, we saw the Modi selfie on voting day, live rally broadcasts on mobiles, AAP using it for driving new member joinees and for getting citizen participation in its initiatives.

Global revenue from app stores is expected to rise 62 per cent this year to $25 billion. From ecommerce companies to travel outfits to government departments, everyone is launching mobile apps and driving significant sales and user engagement through same such as paytm, free charge and other mobile centric means for micro small payments. It's almost like a DoTcom evolution of 15 years ago - no one wants to miss the bus. The same followed by a rise in the mobile handsets sales, led by newer and fancier smartphones is a major catalyst in making 2014 an era of the mobile and paving way for the coming year. India is already the 3rd largest market for smartphones and will overtake USA shortly.

 Telecom operators have finally started to see a lot of data usage from their customers and their 3G infrastructure investments have started to show financial results. Consumers are in a happy mode with lot of choices - lot of people have more than one handset and kids and teenagers are not the only one using them for social media.

India has emerged as the strongest market for digital companies who see a huge growth opportunity here. For Facebook, Whatsapp, Google - India is one of their top markets. Regardless of where an Internet company is launched today, India very quickly becomes a large user base for it.

Rural India is also not untouched from this craze and has started seeing relevant information and entertainment services readily available to them via mobile. Venture capitalists and investors are willing to bet long term on sustainability of mobile led digital evolution and are pumping in millions of dollars.

So what does all this mean as a marketer?

1- Jump on mobile bandwagon quickly, else you will lag behind

2- Gear Up for Big Data & analytics to play a bigger role in next phase of mobile evolution

3- Gut based decisions will start getting replaced by more number driven decisions

4- 3Ms need to be central to your marketing plans –i.e., Millions of people engaging with Multiple offerings on their Mobile devices.

Mobile has started to impact almost every sector of our life - payments, healthcare, shopping, eating, travel, investments, and education etc. and it is important for marketers to understand the changing trends and design their marketing strategies accordingly. Mobiles provide a personal connect to user base and customers which helps impactful brand engagement with the audiences, which is all a brand campaign is about.  It’s an era of dialogue creation, with integrated campaigns across platforms made even more convenient via mobile. 2015 promises to ride this wave of momentum as smartphones will become more secure, more contextual, more location-aware, more targeted, and more integrated. We will witness the most engaging mobile experiences till date come to life in 2015. There will be an integration of Mobility, the cloud, and the Internet of Things creating significant opportunities for businesses to expand and for consumers to enjoy. But these opportunities will also come with newer challenges.

(These are purely personal views of Digital Quotient chief operating officer Vinish Kathuria and indiantelevision.com does not necessarily subscribe to these views.)

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