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3 things driving the future of mobile marketing

PreApp's Sean Castro lays out the mobile marketer's advantage 

Today mobile phones are being used for purposes way beyond making phone calls. From education to businesses, mobile technology is gradually changing the world for better.

Let's take the example of the marketing industry. Mobile ads and marketing campaigns have become so popular lately that if a business leaders say they have yet to explore the mobile world, many of us immediately become cynical about their ambition to go to the next level. And there is a valid reason behind this. Today more people have access to mobile devices than a toilet, finds a U.N. study. This means more people are connected to the Internet, which wasn't the case earlier and this creates a huge opportunity for marketers to reach out to more people, which again wasn't a possibility previously.

That said, this industry is still maturing. But there is literally no limit to its growth potential, especially after the advent of smartphones and tablets and the growing popularity of the Internet of Things coupled with more advanced tools and sophisticated analytics.

According to an eMarketer report, global mobile ad spend is likely to be over $100 billion in 2016, accounting for 51% of digital marketing spend. More and more brands are investing time and money in mobile marketing strategies. But if you want to create a killer mobile marketing strategy, you need to understand the key factors that are driving the future of mobile ads, which range from mobile videos to programmatic ad buying, location-based advertising and everything in between.

The following are three factors playing a key role in the mobile marketing landscape.

1. Mobile Apps

New iPhone and Android apps are flooding the market almost every day. A Gartner report indicates that mobile apps would reach 268 billion downloads by 2017, resulting in a revenue generation of over $77 billion. Mobile apps are therefore likely to become a significant computing tool in the coming days for users across the globe.

Apps are already dominating the mobile landscape. According to Flurry Five-Year Report, U.S. consumers spent approximately 2.5 hours a day on their smart mobile devices in 2013. Almost 80% of that time was spent on apps and the remaining 20% on the mobile web. This study is enough to prove that businesses need to focus more on mobile apps to grab consumer mindshare and enhance their brand experience.

From shopping to paying bills, more and more users are relying on mobile apps. This trend provides a great opportunity for businesses to gain competitive advantage. In fact, we can also see its effect on the marketing ecosystem. Today almost all businesses, large or small, have dedicated apps to stay connected with consumers round-the-clock. Considering the trend and its impact, industry experts are predicting that the communications and transactions between brands and consumers are more than likely to happen through mobile apps in the coming days.

2. SoLoMo

The idea of Social-Local-Mobile is nothing new but experts believe that SoLoMo will continue to drive the future of the mobile marketing landscape. For the last couple of years, buyers are going SoLoMo. How many times have you shopped socially and searched for products locally on your mobile device? More than you can remember.

Today mobile is strongly linked with social media. We are accessing social media and business sites alike from our mobile devices. A 2013 study by Eventility indicates that almost 97% of consumers are searching local businesses online, 61% of young people depend largely on social media for deciding the right place to hangout, 72% of consumers trust online reviews, and 78% of SMEs are acquiring at least one quarter of their new customers through social media.

Use the power of geotargeting on platforms like Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. For example, you can offer a check-in deal on Foursquare or Facebook to potential customers when they are walking by or nearby your store. Also, optimize your online presence for mobile devices with both mobile apps and mobile websites.

3. Social Media Mobile Ads

Google, Facebook and Twitter are earning over 60% of the total mobile ad spending in the U.S., which is likely to surpass $58 billion by 2018. One reason behind the growing popularity of social media mobile ads is that people are spending more time with their smartphones and tablets than watching television. Even when watching television, a large number of Americans are using their phones.

Marketers therefore have a huge potential to boost their sales through social mobile advertising, especially by leveraging mobile video ads.  In fact, social media mobile video ads are likely to play crucial roles in the coming days. With full-screen images and videos along with 360-degree-rotating images for your products, these ads are likely to change the existing concept of social media ads. These ads will be totally interactive as well, allowing the users to zoom in and change viewing angles by just swiping their fingers across their device screens.

To use the mobile ecosystem to your advantage, you need to keep up to the increasing levels of innovation and creativity that dominate this landscape. Mobile has dramatically changed the customer engagement game. The power now lies with the consumers. Marketers, as a result, must adapt their strategies based on their customers' needs.