The Search Agency’s Mobile Predictions for 2012

Written on
Dec 30, 2011 
Brian LaRue  |

ADOTAS – As we consider where we’ve been over the past year and where we’re going, opinions and predictions abound regarding mobile technology and what it means for marketers. Online marketing technology and services company The Search Agency chimed in this week, with a list of their top 10 mobile predictions for 2012. Per a recent press release, here they are (quoted directly from the company’s statement):

• Voice search will continue to skyrocket. If Apple’s Siri voice assistant has taught us anything, it’s that software can sell smartphones. And, while text-based search won’t vanish from phones, as mobile artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated, drivers will be more inclined to keep their hands where they belong—at the wheel.

• Google will unveil a new mobile experience that will favor context over content. Voice-activated search not only will change the way we interact with our phones, but also the type of information we search for and the form in which it will be delivered. Mobile search strings will grow longer and more nuanced, and, consequently, Google’s search-results page will shed its text-swaddled skin in favor of a form driven by the context of the query itself (e.g. a map page, shopping-comparison page, or even a narrated results page).

• Mobile CPCs will increase. As advertisers flock to mobile search, space will become a sparser commodity. As competition for these spots intensifies, Google and Bing will need to find ways to increase ad inventory. Voice-controlled search will alleviate some of this shortage, but text-based search ads will remain popular with advertisers. As a result, click costs will rise.

• Mobile websites will become device agnostic. Mobile sites as a separate entity will go away as responsive web design takes hold as the de facto standard.

• Big retailers will embrace in-store mobile integration. Retailers now recognize that smartphone users are — for lack of a better word — mobile, and highly susceptible to in-store shopping incentives. In the coming year, look for more apps that integrate shopping and e-payment options, as well as in-store tablet kiosks and augmented-reality offerings.

• Google will subsidize the little guys. In effort to expand its mobile advertising base, Google unveiled a free mobile site–building tool this summer and its GoMo initiative in November. Although these products are helpful, small businesses will need further incentive to shift their marketing budget to mobile devices.

• Mobile analytics will get smarter. Google and Bing are banking on increased mobile ad revenue in 2012, but in order to get advertisers to spend a larger share of their marketing budget on mobile devices, they’ll need to provide the same robust analytics that advertisers have come to expect from search marketing online. The search giants will need to launch products that help advertisers see the value of a mobile click.

• Microsoft will purchase a large mobile-device manufacturer. The past year in mobile was not a good one for Microsoft. Google’s continued success in mobile puts pressure not only on Microsoft, but also on device makers like Nokia and RIM, who are running rival platforms. Look for Microsoft to spend a pretty penny for one of these companies, to compete with Google and provide a showcase for its Windows 8 operating system and beyond.

• E-wallets will wow consumers, but fail to persuade them. Although the integration of near-field communication technologies within smartphones (with the exception of Apple’s iPhone) has laid a broad foundation for mobile point-of-sale payments, the barrier to consumer acceptance may end up being more psychological than logistical. For many people, carrying credit card information in their phone — no matter the benefits — just doesn’t feel safe. It will take time for consumers to get used to leaving their wallet at home, but e-commerce is already second nature.

• Tablets will gain the respect they deserve. In 2011, tablet devices assumed the role of online advertising orphans. Marketers know that, when presented with the choice, consumers prefer to buy with a tablet instead of a smartphone, but limited search traffic has made it difficult to pay tablets much attention. This will change in 2012 as a spate of inexpensive tablet devices floods the marketplace. Expect this shift to cannibalize mobile search traffic and pressure companies to design websites for tablets. In 2011, Forrester Research estimated that mobile commerce made up just 2 percent of all e-commerce. Tablets may just provide the spark that pushes shoppers to their mobile devices.

Adotas Senior Editor Brian LaRue has been working in journalism in some form or another for slightly longer than his entire adult life, having won his first SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Award while he was still in high school. Prior to joining Adotas, he served as a reporter, editor, columnist, critic and blogger, mostly for a number of daily and weekly newspapers scattered around his native Connecticut. In his off hours, Brian maintains an active parallel life as a musician and music blogger.

Reader Comments.

Mobile payments are safer than plastic cards, especially if you’re using a trusted mobile payments app. CSI globalVCard allows me to create one time use credit cards on my phone. I never have to worry about my credit cards being misused or stolen with this app.

Posted by Todd Klein | 8:03 pm on January 3, 2012.

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