There is probably only one truism in digital marketing, and it’s that things change quickly. Just a few short years ago it was hard to be sure if mobile marketing would ever really catch on. Today, the notion that marketing doesn’t work on mobile sounds almost laughable. Indeed, the industry is growing faster than even many of the optimists had predicted.
So, what can we expect in the year ahead? Will 2015 be the year that mobile makes the transition from fast-growing trend to fundamental tactic that can’t be ignored? Or is the truly explosive growth that many are now predicting for mobile marketing still a few years away?
To get to the bottom of these and other critical questions about mobile marketing in 2015 Chango recently surveyed more than 500 brand and agency marketers. The results of that survey, recently published in Chango’s Mobile Pulse point to a bright year ahead for mobile but also indicate that many marketers aren’t quite ready to go all-in.
There is no question that 2014 was a big year for mobile marketing. Many of the brands that had been waiting on the sidelines — e-commerce retailers in particular — took a big step forward over the previous 12 months by releasing apps, optimizing their mobile sites, or both. Our survey found that 86 percent of respondents now have a mobile-optimized site and that 76 percent have a mobile app.
Of course, whenever we talk about mobile, it’s important to remember that we’re talking about lots of different devices with screens of different sizes. What’s true of tablets isn’t necessarily true of phones. Agency marketers who responded to our survey were generally more bullish on tablets than brand marketers, and the agency marketers make a good point. According to Thomas Husson, VP principal analyst, Forrester Research, retailers still report much higher conversion rates on tablets than on smartphones. This isn’t to say that mobile marketers can ignore phones. “If you don’t optimize for both the mobile and tablet experience, you will face a challenge,” Husson noted.
Still, if mobile has come an astonishingly long way in a relatively short period of time, there remains plenty of catching up to do. Our survey found that when it comes to spending on mobile, many marketers have yet to go all in. Only one in seven of the marketers we surveyed had spent more than 40 percent of the budget on mobile over the past year. Nearly 80 percent said they had spent 30 percent or less of their marketing budget on mobile over the previous year. A quarter of respondents reported spending between 30 and 40 percent of the budget on mobile.
Why some marketers are still dragging their feet is no secret. Desktop conversion rates are still much higher even than tablet conversion rates. But the marketers who responded to our survey think the gap is going to shrink very soon. More than half of marketers said that they expect to see 10 percent or more of their conversions taking place on mobile devices over the next 18 months. Meanwhile, 16 percent of respondents anticipate that mobile will account for more than a quarter of all their conversions over the next 18 months. The takeaway is clear enough: Today’s digital marketers believe we’ve arrived at a point at which it only makes sense to go with a truly omni-channel strategy.
To learn much more about how leading marketers are approaching mobile in 2015, be sure to download your copy of the Mobile Pulse. True, you can’t always predict what will happen in digital, but you also can’t afford to make uneducated guesses.