Areas for improvement in mobile: 2016 and 2017 edition

By Scott Steinberg

The mobile space has been growing by leaps and bounds, with roughly three-quarters of American adults now owning smartphones and mobile commerce expected to be a $250 billion market by 2020, according to Pew Research Center. However, as a recent report from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) shows, there are still plenty of areas for improvement in the mobile arena that enterprising businesses may yet capitalize on in coming months.

So, where might your organization choose to place its mobile focus if it wants to be more successful and drive ongoing growth in 2017 and beyond? Consider the following areas for improvement, each of which presents a promising new frontier for forward-thinking enterprises with the ability to successfully adapt to changing markets:

Boosting audience engagement

As the report points out, the top goals of today’s most successful mobile marketing and outreach campaigns have moved from putting an emphasis on driving direct sales to increasing audience engagement. In fact, roughly half of campaigns reviewed made boosting end-user interaction the primary objective.

For example, consider a beauty provider that scores big by creating a social media outreach campaign for women who want to vent about bad hair days. Likewise, a streaming music service could increase its user uptake by allowing current subscribers to turn their personal musical preferences into shareable digital images that could help others with like-minded tastes discover songs they’d enjoy.

As the MMA report pointed out, businesses hoping to connect with tomorrow’s audiences should rethink their mobile strategies to be more emotionally resonant and interactive. One of the most successful examples the report cited included a movie studio that created an artificially intelligent online version of one of its film’s villains that could engage in conversation and share multimedia content through Facebook Messenger.

Increasing user participation

Another one of 2017’s key areas for improvement will be increasing user-generated contributions, which could take the form of photos, videos, written content, or audio submissions. Finding ways to get audiences to personally contribute to and champion campaigns will become increasingly important for enterprises seeking to capture and hold public attention in the future. For instance, to help drive people to visit its site in-person, an internationally renowned opera house implemented a location-based program that invited Instagram users to stop by for a custom live experience and share these exclusive images online.

Likewise, a successful online program increased contributions by letting users donate the black bars on either side of uploaded videos to promote nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations they supported. As the MMA report pointed out, businesses willing to push the boundaries of mobile and branded apps and invite more user submissions can greatly increase participation rates.

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Targeting users based on multiple factors

As the MMA also discovered, a great deal of attention surrounding enterprises’ mobile business and outreach strategies in 2016 wasn’t just focused on targeting users based on their behavior. It also concentrated on targeting end users on the basis of time, location and original apps keyed to audiences’ specific interests. As a result, more apps are looking to draw users into what the organization describes as “multilayered engagements.”

Areas for improvement surrounding these experiences are plentiful, with enterprises encouraged to put more of a focus on mobile apps and services that provide utility and value (not simply that promote marketing messages) going forward. One successful case study included a popular basketball team whose unique app generated individually tailored content for fans and made it simple to buy tickets or pay for food right from their phone. Another highlighted a Brazilian app that used geolocation tech to identify people in neighborhoods at risk of violence and send them text messages with phone numbers they could call to report illegal activity.

In all of these cases, it was demonstrated that delivering more customized targeting and messaging can help drive greater business and social change. These are lessons enterprises in every field can learn from.

Augmented reality and virtual reality

Tremendous interest has been shown in the fields of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). However, as the study further pointed out, just 16 percent of winning mobile outreach campaigns leveraged these technologies, presenting significant areas for improvement in 2017. Though these innovations represented some of “the most exciting mobile technologies this year,” they are currently underutilized. Organizations that can learn to more successfully leverage AR and VR technology will clearly enjoy a marked advantage in both the short- and long-term future.

Looking ahead, it’s clear to see that there is still much room to grow and improve in the mobile space, which is good news for both enterprises and end users.

Written By

Scott Steinberg

Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author

Award-winning professional speaker, Scott Steinberg, is a bestselling expert on leadership and innovation, and the author of Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty. Among today’s top-rated international speakers…

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