What does 2016 hold for mobile marketing?

This time of year is full of industry commentators giving their opinions on what will happen in the coming year. Based on the trends over the past few years and some expert industry knowledge, these predictions may not always be accurate but they’re often a good indication of what you can expect. With this in mind, here are our best guesses for the world of mobile marketing in 2016…

1. Greater Personalisation and Targeting

The ability to create highly targeted, personalised marketing messages has been around for a few years now, but it’s been a slow adoption process for many businesses. Personalisation is one of the foundations of marketing success across all platforms and technologies, so with mobile marketing technology becoming increasingly advanced, it looks as though we might be reaching the tipping point for adoption of more sophisticated personalisation tactics.

Moving on from the simple step of including the customer name in a message through a mail merge, campaigns tailored to the device, operating system, customer profile and other more complex data are more specific to the end consumer and, therefore, more effective.

We’ve seen some of the larger corporations move into this space already, but now technology like Textlocal’s Messenger platform are making this level of targeting more accessible to smaller businesses too, so it’s likely we’ll see much more widespread adoption in 2016.

2. Marketing automation

Marketing automation has been big news for a while, allowing marketers to develop fully automated customer journeys that guide prospects along the sales funnel without huge amounts of staff time and investment.

Early adopters have been reaping the benefits of marketing automation for the last few years, from warmer leads being passed to the sales teams to the greater availability of data for campaign analysis. It’s not just new customer acquisition either – combined with CRM systems, whole customer engagement campaigns can be developed, tailored and automated with limited time expended by the marketing team.

Now automation is moving into the rapid growth stage of its lifecycle, helped by the greater accessibility of tools to small and medium sized businesses. Its reach has expanded to mobile devices, essential for well-rounded campaigns due to the ubiquity of the mobile phone.

From SMS scheduling to integrations with a huge variety of CRM, automation and custom applications, this is something that our Messenger product has been capable of for some time, so it’s great to see the growth of this technology reaching the mainstream.

3. Mobile ad blockers

With the news that Apple’s latest operating system, iOS9, will allow users to install ad blockers on their phones, the effectiveness of mobile advertising is being called into question. Ad spend on mobile has increased dramatically over the next few years, so it’s to be expected that consumers have responded with ad blockers as they have with traditional desktop browsing.

This won’t, of course, mean that every user will be blocking every ad – especially as many websites that rely on ad revenue are now savvy to ad blockers and are restricting access to those who use them. What this does mean is that marketers will be experimenting with different ways to reach consumers on their mobiles, whether that be through new and innovative methods, or the tried and testing classics like SMS.

We’re not saying that mobile ad spend will decrease – of course, ad blockers are only a minor setback when this level of spend growth is concerned – what we do expect though is that marketers will expand the range of mobile communications methods they are using to better reach and engage with their target markets.

4. Integrating mobile touchpoints

Integrated campaigns aren’t exactly big news, the concept has been around for years (although the level of adoption varies wildly between organisations), but the increasing adoption of mobile into the marketing mix means that there’s much more integration to be done.

Understanding the different journeys that customers go through is key to successful integration of mobile throughout a business. For example, mobile searches pre-purchase have been rising steadily alongside smartphone usage, but the majority of purchases still happen in store rather than online (PWC, 2015)– and m-commerce still only accounts for 34% of online shopping globally.

In order to better connect the disjointed, cross-platform approach that many consumers now take to purchase, we expect that marketers and businesses will start to look for more ways that they can unify their messages across platforms, bringing in more potential mobile touchpoints in order to better serve their mobile-savvy customers.

Of course, these are only our predictions – there are many more out there and so much that will surprise us throughout 2016. What are your predictions?