10 mobile marketing trends to watch in 2017

Where’s mobile marketing heading? And what do CMOs and marketers need to know to stay ahead or avoid falling behind? We answer these and other mobile marketing questions.

What should digital marketers do to prepare? “Much like the shift from desktop design to mobile versioning to responsive design to mobile-only design, marketing professionals will need to quickly shift to understanding how creating for 3-D AR and screened devices like store windows and walls will impact the customer journey,” says Kinports.

7. Pull away from popup ads

In a Jan. 10, 2017 post in its Webmaster Central Blog, Google declared that mobile pages “where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high” in mobile search results. And what would cause content to not be easily accessible, according to Google? “Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page” is one of three examples Google gave.

The end result: “If you're a mobile marketer, you need to stop using popups,” says Billy Peery, an independent SEO analyst. “Or if you do, at least make sure they only cover a small portion of the page.” There are exceptions, Peery notes, such as sites where visitors must be older than 18 or 21 to view content and restricted access is required by law. Google won’t penalize these sites in rankings.

8. Make way for mobile video

Video is the most popular form of online content, according to HubSpot.And eMarketer predicts that spending on digital video ads will see double-digit growth every year through 2020. At the same time, 92 percent of mobile video consumers share videos with others, HubSpot says.

Video will explode in the mobile environment in 2017, predicts Christina May, CMO and managing partner for Illumine8, a marketing and PR firm. “While video isn’t new, video’s application on mobile is more advanced than anything we have seen to date,” May says. “If you haven’t jumped on the video train yet, I’d suggest you hurry, because the train is about to leave the station. Brands late to the game will be left behind as users form relationships with brands that have a mobile video presence already.”

9. Get ready for voice search

Twenty percent of searches in Google’s mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches, reports Sherry Bonelli in a post on search marketing blog Search Engine Land. “The total number of voice searches overall is actually much higher when you take into account personal assistants like Amazon’s Echo (a.k.a. Alexa), Google Home (a direct competitor of the Echo), Siri and Cortana — tools that are solely based on voice recognition,” writes Bonelli.

Alex Porter, president and CSO of Location3, a digital marketing agency also sees this as an important trend for marketers. “We’re going to see voice search become a bigger part of mobile strategy in the next few years,” he says. “Eventually, search engines and users will start preferring voice-optimized mobile content. We’ll also likely start to see how data marketers can harness voice search to inform their mobile strategies, and even paid media opportunities in voice search, in the coming years.”

Consequently, marketers will need to optimize content for voice search, Porter adds, such as developing various forms of content that answer questions customers are likely to ask in voice searches.

Voice input is likely to become more important in 2017 and beyond, too, with big brands like Starbucks adding voice ordering to their mobile apps and virtual assistant platforms like Amazon’s Alexa.

10. Understand your mobile customers

Mobile marketing is going to become even more personal in the year ahead. “This is the year when cross-device identity resolution, and really cross-channel identity resolution, becomes attainable for most digital marketers,” says Austin Miller, product marketing manager for Oracle Marketing Cloud.

“Knowing who your customers are beyond their device identifiers or channel identifiers has been at the top of the priority list for most digital marketers,” Miller continues. “That’s because identity resolution is the only real way to speak to each customer as an individual, regardless of the medium. Conversations with customers will be influenced by the context of all previous conversations. In short, identity resolution will allow marketers to come as close to the 'holistic customer profile’ as possible.”

Until recently, identity resolution was “very difficult to do while preserving customer privacy,” Miller explains. “It required tremendous investment in data science and even then, privacy concerns existed.”

New technologies allow marketers to “easily anonymize and match first- and third-party data in a safe environment,” instead of having a “massive amount” of data that’s siloed, Miller says. As a result, “marketers will start to realize the value of all their currently unstructured mobile data in terms of how it can be used in other channels (besides mobile). This realization will transform the way we think about mobile marketing. It will no longer be looked at as another channel, as much as a firehose of valuable data that marketing departments can leverage in all their activities.”

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