This is the time of year when we reflect on the past, and look to the future. Through the end of this month, we'll be sharing guest blog posts in our the annual Predictions & Reflections series. We asked some of our smartest guest writers to reflect on the past year and look to the upcoming year. This post is by Seth van der Swaagh. Seth has held a variety of sales management roles at Google since joining in 2004. He currently manages an advertising sales team focused on the Telecom industry, and also oversees Google Boston's local industry relations efforts. Seth has his MBA from Boston University, and BA from Brown University.
I've been at Google a while. In my time here, I’ve had innumerable conversations with all types of advertisers as to whether this will be the year of mobile, and what that will mean. Well, I think it is safe to say that mobile is here, it’s here for good, and it's only getting bigger.
Consider just some of the statistics:
- Wireless Intelligence forecasts that unique mobile users will grow to 4 billion globally in five years.
- By 2014, global mobile internet usage should surpass desktop internet usage.
- In the U.S., 17.4 million mobile devices were activated this past Christmas day. That is more than 2.5 times as many were activated on Christmas day 2011.
- 64% of smartphone owners are now using their mobile devices to shop online.
- And search queries from mobile devices continue to grow at an astounding pace.
And yet, despite this growth and the obvious consumer demand for enhanced mobile experiences, marketers have still been slow to adapt. It is astounding that many companies, including major online retailers and consumer oriented brands, still do not have mobile optimized sites (no need to name names, you know who you are). Quality mobile apps that add real value to a consumer’s mobile experience have been too few and far between. And when it comes to mobile advertising, many marketers treat it as an appendage to the rest of their efforts. They aren’t creating uniquely mobile advertising campaigns, and they are allocating too little budget to whatever mobile ad campaigns they do run.
Consumers love their mobile devices. And that, in and of itself, presents the biggest opportunity and challenge for marketers this year. The form factor is different, the screen real estate is smaller, and the room to get your message across is less. These are challenges. Yet consumers are highly engaged and carry their devices with them everywhere. It is a personal environment with innumerable “moments that matter..." highly relevant points in a consumer's day when the right message can have high value for the user - and high payoff for the advertiser. This is an enormous opportunity.
So get moving. Make mobile a top priority. Consider how your consumer wants to interact with your business in a mobile environment and act on that. Create a mobile optimized site now, and rethink all your digital assets for the mobile environment. Build better brand awareness campaigns that are customized for mobile, leveraging the interactivity and unique features of mobile devices and the rise in video and rich media consumption on mobile. Craft customized mobile search campaigns to take advantage of the ever-increasing query volume coming from mobile devices. And most of all, don’t wait. Consumers and technology are moving too quickly, and if you wait another year you will most certainly get left behind.