The DIGIDAY:MOBILE conference (“It’s mobile madness in a fragmented market”), like other conferences hosted by DIGIDAY, opened with high-level discussions on the mobile industry.  Before highlighting specific platforms, keynotes looked at overall trends.

Breakfast Keynote – For Integrated Marketers, It’s Personal

The conference started with a “Breakfast Keynote” for VIP attendees (that is, those who made it out for an 8:30 AM start!) presented by Scott Jones, the CEO of ChaCha Search.  He spoke about how mobile advertising has changed over the years (from ads on the side of a truck to the screen of a phone that users always have at their sides.)  As mobile has become incredibly pervasive and personal, Jones listed a few points that marketers should keep in mind regarding its use:

  • Mobile is essential for reaching your audience
  • Cannot be ignored in your marketing plan
  • Most far-reaching ad platform
  • Choose publishers that deliver messages when consumers are most receptive
  • Adopt an integrated mobile strategy

Mobile usage (be it in apps, mobile web, or SMS) continues to increase, ad spends are not increasing at the same speed.  While the average uses spends 13 hours each week using a mobile phone (vs 19 hours per week on the internet), only 1.7% of ad spends are on mobile, whereas 30% are on internet ads.

How people use their mobile devices is also an important thing to consider.  Only 25% of total mobile users have smartphones, and only 80% of those users (20% of all mobile users) use apps.  A larger number of users (31% of all mobile users) use mobile web on feature phones.  Mobile web users express frustrations due to the speed of their connection, the number of clicks required for navigation, and an overabundance of irrelevant content.

The broadest potential reach (98% of mobile users and 60% of the world’s population), however, is through SMS and MMS.  Jones described the success that his company has had with SMS search thanks to short and targeted communication.  I’ll leave the exploration of ChaCha’s features as an exercise for the reader.

Morning Keynote – What are the Seven Key Trends Mobile Marketers Need to Know?

Noah Elkin, a senior analyst at eMarketer, delivered the morning keynote.  He discussed seven trends in the mobile marketplace and the data that describes these trends.

1.       Usage of mobile devices continues to grow (80% of individuals use a mobile phone)

2.       Devices and platforms have experienced dramatic evolution (cheaper, lighter, more sophisticated and connected)

3.       Device market is shifting in favor of smartphones (25% of subscribers today have a smartphone, and 16% of consumers plan to buy a smartphone; smartphone users do more of everything and are voracious media consumers)

4.       Increased ownership of smart devices is driving mobile internet growth

5.       Communication modes are undergoing a significant shift (voice is no longer a primary activity among many users, consumers are shifting to data-focused activities; 21% of users access social networks and blogs; mobile social network use has increased 240% in the last year)

6.       The base of mobile content users will continue to see strong growth (gaming, music, and video usage is growing, as are revenues – revenues are expected to double in the next five years, with ad-based revenue outpacing paid revenue by a factor of 4)

7.       Tablets are changing the face of mobility and computing (bigger screens create a more immersive experience; tablet sales are expected to exceed desktop and netbook sales by 2015; tablet usage trends to more affluent and demographics)

Elkin notes that “app-ortunity knocks” as smartphone and tablet usage increases.  This doesn’t point to the end of the mobile web.  There is increasing convergence as mobile web (e.g., newest version of pages like Google, YouTube) become more app-like.

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