With mobile devices increasingly woven into the fabric of consumers’ everyday lives, it’s imperative that marketers stay on top of the latest trends in mobile marketing. Leveraging insights from these trends will allow you to evolve your mobile experiences and meet consumers where they are.
Here are 7 key mobile marketing trends and their implications for marketers:
1. Shopping Habits Continue to Rapidly Shift.
Shopping habits shifted over the past couple of years and continue to evolve. For some, brand new habits have formed. For others, habits have now started to swing back toward what life was like before the pandemic.
Even though some recent trends will slow or reverse, mobile commerce isn’t among them. The tailwinds there are expected to continue, with a near doubling of sales predicted over the next 2 years. Because of this growth, it’s time for some brands to not just consider a mobile-first approach, but perhaps a mobile-only approach to email marketing and other channel efforts, as 15% of US adults are “mobile only” in their life, according to the Pew Research Center. As mobile devices become increasingly powerful, that percentage is expected to climb ever higher.
Bottom line: Consumers are more mobile-oriented, mobile-committed, and mobile-dependent than ever before, which means the mobile marketing opportunity for brands is extremely strong.
2. SMS Marketing Is Far from Saturated.
The good news is that most consumers aren’t feeling inundated with texts and mobile push messages…yet. Moreover, the channel isn’t nearly as widely adopted as email, for example, which makes that marketing avenue that much more valuable right now.
Recent research shows that the vast majority of consumers want to receive texts from their favorite brands, while only a fraction of businesses are sending them today. That gap is your opportunity.
The opportunity is now though, as it will only get harder to encourage consumers to opt-in for these messages as volumes (and noise) from brands ramp up. That’s because while most consumers aren’t clamoring for more email, it’s much easier to triage an inbox or to simply ignore emails when you aren’t interested than it is for SMS, MMS, and push messages, which demand immediate attention when they arrive.
Check out this on-demand Oracle webinar about improving engagement, conversions, and loyalty using mobile, SMS, and push marketing.
3. It’s a ‘Next Level’ Indicator of Brand Affinity.
Because of the higher intimacy of sharing a phone number compared with an email address, for example, the mobile opt-in tends to show a higher level of affinity to the brand, a higher level of trust, and an openness to a more interruptive and immediate mode of communication.
While a mobile opt-in is a definitive indicator of a higher level of commitment on the part of the customer, it’s also incumbent on marketers to match that commitment with a corresponding level of respect. Recognize that this audience will outperform for you, but also recognize that unsubscribes can come swift if you disappoint or abuse these opt-ins.
Losing access to and the trust of this MVP audience is risky. To manage the higher level of opportunity and risk associated with this audience, consider tracking it separately and treating and rewarding it uniquely.
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4. Mobile Messaging Isn’t Just for Transactional Communications Any More.
While SMS and push messages have a long history of use for transactional messages from brands, some consumers are now open to promotional messaging like alerts about flash sales and coupons. It can be used for behavioral triggers like cart abandonment messages, or customer satisfaction inquiries, including polls and surveys post-purchase, and so on.
In fact, in terms of customer preferences for types of SMS messages to receive from brands, it’s incentives (i.e., discounts or promotions) first followed by loyalty program-related messaging second, according to a survey by Attentive.
This presents an opportunity to conduct a gap analysis on your mobile marketing program to understand where there are natural interaction points with the customer that warrant mobile support but where it’s not provided today. Once you identify the opportunities, you next have to prioritize them. Determine which messages will offer the highest value (to you and the customer) balanced with the level of effort to rank order them for implementation.
5. By Focusing on Relevancy, Frequency Becomes Less Relevant.
Everyone wants to know, what’s the magic number of texts or push messages to send to each person? And, as with email, there is no one right answer—that is, except for “It depends.” That’s because it depends on…
That’s the multifaceted lens through which to view mobile message content and frequency. It’s a complicated calculus because we know that the No. 1 driver for unsubscribing from text and push messages is too much volume. Generally speaking, that’s anything over 1-2 messages per week, especially on the SMS front. However, if that volume is comprised of highly relevant content or tuned to channel preferences at the individual level, then that risk is abated and higher volumes become much safer.
6. It’s Not Mobile Messaging versus Email, but Rather and Email.
We’ve mentioned email a couple of times and that’s because there are some differences in the channels and in the consumers’ perceptions of how each should be used. But don’t let comparisons between the two channels make you think you have to choose one or the other.
These channels complement one another and should coexist within an overall strategy of building a relationship with your customers. Indeed, each channel can be used to cross-pollinate the other, encouraging list growth and opt-ins for SMS in the email channel, and vice-versa. As usual, your competitors for SMS messages are the texts from other brands, push messages from other apps, and other attention-seeking elements of a mobile experience.
A new synergy between email marketing and mobile marketing is using mobile engagement as a proxy for engagement in the email channel for the purposes of defining an active subscriber in the age of Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). With MPP obscuring open signals, which have traditionally been the primary signal used to determine if a subscriber is engaged, brands are turning to omnichannel signals like mobile engagement. The logic is that if a customer who’s an email subscriber and mobile subscriber is engaged with a brand’s mobile messaging, they’re also probably engaged with email, even if that activity isn’t visible because of MPP.
Recently, one Oracle Marketing Consulting client on the Responsys platform used mobile marketing engagement signals to safely grow their mailable email marketing audience by 10%. Taking a holistic cross-channel view of the customer like this was a huge win.
Learn more tips on using SMS marketing and combining it with email to reach and engage more customers with How to Use SMS Marketing.
7. Generational Differences Aren’t as Big as You Probably Think.
You might assume there are vast differences in mobile marketing preferences across the generational continuum, but in fact most age groups aren’t all that different in most cases. For example, across all generations, email remains the No. 1 channel through which consumers want to hear from brands, but SMS/MMS is tied for second in the US along with social, according to SendGrid research.
Where things diverge at the generational level is with social media. Younger generations are far more open to and want to hear from brands via social, whereas older generations do not.
What that means is if your customer base is comprised of a mix of multiple generations or if it skews older, mobile is still a great and welcomed way to communicate with them. One note of caution here is to tread lightly when it comes to using text slang, abbreviations, or emojis that might not be universally understood across generations.
For a Deeper Dive…
Keeping these industry trends in mind, how can marketers maximize the performance of their mobile program? We tackle that question and many more in this on-demand webinar with Oracle Responsys client Fingerhut.
Need help with your mobile marketing? Oracle Digital Experience Agency has hundreds of marketing and communication experts ready to help Oracle customers create stronger connections with their customers and employees, even if they’re not using an Oracle platform as the foundation of that experience. Our award-winning specialists can handle everything from creative and strategy to content planning and project management.
Clint Kaiser is the Head of the Analytic & Strategic Services team at Oracle Digital Experience Agency. His background in the email marketing space includes 20 years of experience with ESPs and digital agencies. His analytical approach to driving change in digital marketing is reflected in his quantitative approach to improving clients' business outcomes.