Some interesting thoughts as a Q&A on the future of mobile from Russell Buckley…slightly angled towards m-commerce and mobile couponing (two areas which I believe in strongly) given his role as CMO at mobile commerce business Eagle Eye Solutions ;)….in future mobile will be like a blood cell – great, where do I plug the charger in?
How (if at all) do you think the mobile landscape is different in the UK/Europe versus in the US and why? How do you these differences will impact the development of each market?
Perhaps it’s best to look at the similarities to start with! In the history of advertising, it was all local markets, with really no global media of any scale. Then along came digital and now mobile, which means that campaigns can be planned and purchased on a local, regional and global scale. This is going to have an increasingly disruptive influence on how advertising is purchased, firstly as digital media grows at the expense of traditional media and then as mobile takes over from that.
That said, there are significant differences too. Europe can’t be treated as an homogeneous single market – the 500 million members consist of 27 countries, speaking 23 official languages and all with distinct cultures and mores. This makes Europe much more challenging for advertisers and planners.
Europe is also facing big legislative changes brought about by the E-Privacy Directive coming into force this year, with fines of up to £500,000 available to ensure compliance. Included in this legislation is a requirement for opt-in for cookies, which is promising to be very disruptive and the implications may also spill over into mobile.
What are three of the most important sectors you see emerging now in mobile advertising?
m-commerce is clearly taking off now, so not much more needs to be said about this.
The second big trend is mobile coupons, but not necessarily for the obvious reasons. The most important feature of coupons is that they allow an advertiser to take the consumer from a digital environment into a physical one and then measure the result. Generally, bricks-and-mortar retailers and brands who sell via them have been slow to embrace digital marketing without the ability to drive store traffic, a purchase and trackability – on average less than 2% of their spend does via digital today compared to an average of 15%+. Mobile coupons solve this problem and as they become more widely available, considerable additional CPG advertising dollars are going to flood into the mobile channel.
The other important part of mobile couponing is the data that they generate – normally in real time. As marketing moves from the dark art of yesterday into the clean, data-driven science of the future, the ability to generate and use data will be central to constructing marketing, re-marketing and CRM campaigns. Smart retailers are realising this and starting to roll out coupon redemption facilities.
Coupons are part of another larger trend. Over 90% of products are still sold via physical stores and pioneering retailers are working out how the mobile can be used to support their stores – this is different from m-commerce, which is the online channel. So, as well as coupons, we’re seeing instore product reviews, cost comparison, instore entertainment, shopping lists, store navigation and peer opinion solicitations. I expect this “s-commerce” (or store-commerce) to be huge in the coming few years.
It wouldn’t be right to ignore in major trends the demand-side platform (DSP) startups and the real-time bidding (RTB) platforms. Buying mobile advertising campaigns across networks and publishers is still a big challenge and I welcome anything that makes things markedly simpler.
What trends and practices will lead to optimizing mobile revenue and drawing spend from big brands?
As I wrote above, the major brake on spending has been the ability to drive purchase via stores and measure results. Coupons solve both problems, provided that redemption is digital and secure, so we’re starting to see this more widely adopted.
What is the importance of mobile commerce and mobile payment to the mobile industry as a whole? Who will emerge as leaders in this field and how will they take control?
I think the market is wide open in the payment sector. History does show that real innovation comes from outside the incumbents, so there’s always room for a scrappy startup. PayPal though – a halfway house between an incumbent and startup, seem well placed at this point.
One thing we can say for certain is that payments will join many other industries that mobile has already swallowed, from pagers, calculators and alarm clocks to music consumption, photography and handheld navigation.
What are your predictions for the connected, social, mobile future?
My first prediction is the end of the PC as a form factor. We’re increasingly getting better tools to use the mobile, so most of us will access the digital environment via our mobile most of the time within the next three years. We’ll also see the mobile morph into other form factors in the next 12 months, with HUD (heads-up displays) becoming available that allow us to live in a blend of augmented reality and pure digital all our waking lives – and maybe in our dreams. After that, contact lenses with the same functionality will be on the cards.
Ultimately, what are mobile devices today will be absorbed into our clothing and ultimately our bodies. If this sounds unlikely, based on technology progress in the last 25 years and projecting into the next, by 2037 our mobile will be about the size of a red blood cell and 1 billion times more powerful. With growth like that, predictions really go out of the window!