The 10 Key Mobile Trends for 2011

Written by J-P De Clerck, who is an experienced content, conversion and social media consultant. Like Mindjumpers, he is associated with Social Marketing Forum. You can connect with him on Twitter @Conversionation

Mobile marketing is becoming increasingly important. The cross-channel customer is also a multi-device consumer and smart phones play an increasing role in communication, networking, social media usage and entertainment.

In case you are not convinced: according to Morgan Stanley, within five years the number of mobile Internet users will surpass the number of desktop Internet users. And, according to the TNS Digital Life report, mobile users spend 3.1 hours/week on social networks and 2.2 hours on email. By the way: did you know that more people own an iPhone than people use Twitter? Or that more people own a smart phone than use Facebook?
So it’s really not exaggerated to say that marketers should be well informed regarding the mobile evolutions. Mobile is part of the mix!

Juniper Research has released its top ten wireless predictions for 2011, let’s step through and take a look at where they think mobile is going in the coming year.

1. More mobile traffic will make even greater demands on 3G networks
The consumer smart phone boom will continue to put increasing pressure on 3G networks. It’s likely we will see even more providers resorting to tiered pricing plans for data. Juniper predicts that this and the use of WiFi for capacity relief may alleviate some of the problem, but the real solution will be mass deployment of LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks.

2. Augmented reality will enhance games and retail
Augmented reality allows you to overlay computer generated graphics and interfaces with the real world. For example, you can try on fashions from your PC or smart phone. When you combine the power of geo location with AR and games, you have one powerful marketing tool! How long will it be before you have shoppers blinding bumping into each other as they stumble around a store playing “find the value” games?

3. Launch of cloud-based operating systems
Juniper believes 2011 will see the first cloud-based mobile operating systems launched. Word has it that Google will launch it’s Chrome cloud OS in early 2011.

4. Mobile banking a must have
What passes the time nicely as you ride that commuter train? Banking of course! Juniper is predicting that banks will move to make mobile banking a key feature for smart phone users in 2011. The challenge will be making the sign-up process effortless and the experience personalized.

5. Goodbye plastic and hello mobile
2011 might be the year we see smart phones start to replace plastic for smaller credit card purchases in some countries. Google has announced that it will support NFC (Near Field Communications) in the next release of its Android mobile OS. Other mobile makers such as Nokia are also deploying phones with NFC. Juniper cautions it won’t all happen at once though – it’s going to take some time for stores to deploy contactless readers and of course, there is the issue of user adoption.

6. Mobile handsets will evolve into the Tri-corder from Start Trek
We already have built in features such as GPS and gyroscopes (so your phone knows when you pass out at the company Christmas party). Will we soon be able to “scan” for life forms too? Look for biometrics, proximity, temperature, 3D and projectors to become standard features as well. What will marketers do with these innovations and how much more annoying will smart phone users become in theatres and public transportation?

7. More than your phone number may come up
Juniper expects to see a lot of growth in mobile lotteries in the next year. Is this a good thing? A mixed blessing at best; on the upside it may reduce “lust dust” waste (the scrapings from rub-off lottery tickets) on the downside, it may add to the problem of gambling addictions.

8. More mobile threats mean more demand for security
The mobile market is prime territory for AV vendors. It’s likely to be a hot topic and be prepared for a fair amount of fear mongering from vendors to drive home the point that you absolutely must have anti-virus and firewall protection on your smart phone.

9. Buyouts and social purchasing power
The rumours about Google gobbling up Groupon are an indication to Juniper that this acquisition would have the same impact on mobile advertising that Google’s acquisition of AdMob did (PS: since Juniper published the predictions, Groupon has rejected Google’s offer).

10. More smart phone makers get environmentally smart
Juniper also expects to see a bigger push from more smart phone makers to appeal to the environmentally conscious consumer by producing phones which are greener and have a smaller impact on the environment.

 

Social Media Trends, Prospects, and Challenges in India

Our ever-growing global network of Local Social Media Managers around the world helps us ensure contextually relevant content through social listening, content production and response management. It’s a network of very talented people who possess great knowledge of social media in their local context – one of them being Nishanth Krish from India who shares his insights into the social media trends, prospects and challenges in India right now.

 

 

India is a mobile first country where 41% of total mobile users are active on social media. And it remains the fastest growing market for social networks in the world. The increasing affordability and use of Smartphones as internet devices means India is serving data to almost one billion mobile phones, and an individual spends an average of 3 hours on social media every day irrespective of device.
However, this rise of social media adoption among Indians has led to a growing concern over poor Internet speed in the country. Internet access is still unevenly distributed with connection speeds remaining disappointingly slow at just 2 Mbps on average, far below the global average of 4.5 Mbps.

Digital India, a program to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by the government is expected to enable high-speed Internet connectivity across the length and breadth of the country, which will ultimately join the social media bandwagon and create a positive network effect for further growth.

 

Personalized Content is the Key

As much as our counterparts in other countries do, we consume content, but are averse to sharing. We Indians are conservative by nature and often not as open to sharing content online. Brands have realized that social media is not only about posting brand updates, but also about driving engagement by creating meaningful conversations. In our country of diverse culture, language and practices, brands are developing customized content, which is both relevant and appealing. Top brands such as PepsiCo and Bharti Airtel have integrated regional languages into their digital campaigns, resulting in more than 150% engagement compared to identical English posts.

Indians today are looking for a more personalized social networking platform where they can communicate with different groups of people. As eyeballs have shifted into the digital world, media spend has been following suit. Indian advertisers are spending far more on social media ads compared to their global counterparts. India is projected to be amongst the top three countries in the APAC region as regards its CAGR (2012-2016) in digital media ad spend and many brands have effectively developed tactics to enhance visibility by investing in promoted posts/tweets that carry targeted information about offers, coupons and contests through custom targeting.

Social media platforms have been a melting pot for running promotional campaigns for e-tailers understanding the different user behavior attributes, interests and changing buying behavior patterns. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and e-commerce brands like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal are blending their assets across platforms to tap into customer preferences. Moreover, e-tailers are reducing the length of the purchase cycle by using features like the ‘Get Deals’ button.

 

Catching the Eye Balls

Images and short format videos are gaining traction in India. Visual rich media content clearly dominates the social media space and gains the majority of engagement with Indian audiences as more people than ever before are sharing, discovering and engaging with videos on Facebook and as content creators build and engage a global audience. From increasing audience traffic to digital publishers and the high level of online conversation during major events, this growth in content discovery and discussion is taking place across social platforms.

 

Reaching the Rural 

The soul of India lives in its villages with 60 percent of the population residing here. To reach the under-penetrated areas, Facebook has initiated the Internet.org project with a vision to provide basic mobile Internet services for free. The service is run by Internet.org in collaboration with a number of telecom players. This service is available in English and six local languages — Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi — and can be accessed via a dedicated Android app.

Facebook is by far the social networking platform with the widest reach, boasting of 118 million monthly active users in India, out of which 55-60 million are daily active users. 95 per cent of these users are ‘mobile-also’ users.

Twitter has specialized its service for the Indian audience with hashtags in regional languages and the ability to support regional language scripts, which has helped the social networking giant to reach out to the large number of non-English users in India who were previously untouched by the phenomenon of micro blogging.

Twitter in India takes center stage for breaking news and special events, bolstered by its partnership with broadcasters and media distributers. These partnerships have allowed Twitter to make the most of product innovations like polls, audio cards and the ability to share videos on the platform. Its rich media tweets gain far more reach than standard text-only tweets.

 

Focus on Social Mobile

Whether it’s discovering information about a breaking news story or an upcoming TV show, an exclusive screening of a movie trailer first or celebrities engaging with fans in authentic and meaningful ways, people converse on social media around the things that matter most.

As Indians continue to gain access to cheaper smartphones and data plans, with shifting platform preferences, it is imperative that brands shift focus to social mobile communications to reach out to an audience that are always on the go.

The future of social media marketing is expected to be mobile driven and in the year ahead it is most likely that we will be seeing more contextual and location centric content, helping brands to evaluate the different platforms better with accurate reporting capabilities for tracking engagement.