Everyone is talking about mobile at the moment - from games to apps, smartphones, internet access and everything in between! I wanted to look at a few trends in the mobile sector to see what's really happening and what the opportunities are for businesses. We all know that mobile is big business, but what are the areas that are really growing and what's coming next? One of the most fascinating things about mobile is that it crosses so many different sectors, that no-one can afford to ignore - from web development, commerce, advertising, video, applications and of course - as a communication tool.
Mobile advertising more than doubling
As mobile use and access to the internet through smartphones grows, so too does the advertising model that goes with it. A recent report by Ofcom - The Communications Marketing Report - examines the growth from mobile advertisingÃ‚ company Admob, which doesn't represent the totality of mobile advertising, but is the largest mobile advertising network. They found that requests served by Admob had more than doubled over the past year, growing from 254 million to 585 million. What I find interesting though, is that revenue from mobile advertising is growing rapidly for the area of gaming, as shown in the graph below.
Growth in Gaming
This grew by 214% from 2008 to 2009, and given the moves being made by the major gaming players lately, I'd expect this to soar even more in 2010. Indeed, Microsoft's decision to bring X-Box Live into the mobile platform should be enough of an indication of the growth in this area.
So what if you're interested in the area of mobile gaming? As well as serving more traditional-style ads in mobile games, there's also huge potential for companies to get inventive with their mobile advertsing strategies, such as purchasing items during the game itself, though this may be for the more advanced. The findings by Ofcom are certainly encouraging for those that want to get involved in the mobile space. Revenue from mobile gaming is expected to increase to $1.5 billion by 2014, as a combination of paid downloads, items purchased in the game, and advertising revenue as well. As the younger generation start to use smartphones as they rapidly drop in price, you can see the huge potential growth here. It's an unfamiliar area for many businesses, but a lucrative one nonetheless.
Growth in the travel sector
The case for travel companies to utilise mobile marketing is an obvious one. By the very nature of how you use your mobile - while you're on the go -you're likely to require access to a travel service, such as travel updates, train times etc.. But mobiles have also made us more social creatures, we like to share as we go, uploading photos of our travels, tweeting on the way etc.. This has contributed to the current trend in mobile access to travel services. A huge 54% of consumers used their smartphone to acesss a travel site/service in May 2010 and this is growing up to 125% year on year. And travel services have the developments in location based services to play with here as well. I don't think we're even at the tip of what's possible with this technology yet and it's something that travel companies will be investing in.
The growth of travel applications is another huge trend in mobile marketing. We're starting to see big companies invest in this, for example British Airways - who earlier this year launched their iPhone app, that enabled customers to check in using their phone. Though initially launched to members of their Executive Club and on a very limited set of routes, they're expanding this quickly as they recognise the huge popularity of the technology. Travelocity have also recently released an iPhone app that allows you to book hotels directly :
Pay with your mobile
The travelocity app shows that some movement is being made in the area of mobile commerce, but we haven't quite reached the full potential of this yet. Apple have recently hired Benjamin Vigier as a new head of mobile commerce and soon we could be a little bit closer to paying with your phone. Nokia (who are a client of ours in Ireland) are also investing in this area, which is known as 'Near Field Communications'. The technology has been in existence for a while but has never made it into the mainstream. It's pretty exciting stuff - think of it as simply swiping your phone over a machine to make a payment. You may never need a wallet again and the payment options for integrating with the internet are huge. No device has yet come close to really marrying those 2 together and I'd expect to see a lot of movement in this space.
It's in no doubt that 2010 has long been billed as the year of mobile. Although we're already seeing some great things being done, and it's becoming near standard for a company to have a mobile app, there's still a lot to come that I don't think we can even imagine yet. For many businesses and marketers it's a completey new area and we're all trying to grasp what can really be done. Some interesting findings presented above and I'll be sure to keep you updated with more.