The prediction that "mobile is going to be huge!" has been over-egged for nearly a decade, but the past several years have erased all doubt that may have existed about the truth of this statement.
In 2011 however, mobile "turned a corner", according to Google at least.
The search giant is, unsurprisingly, a big part of the mobile market. From its Android operating system to its AdMob ad network, Google is arguably one of the big tech companies 'deepest' into mobile.
In a blog post yesterday, Google's VP of mobile advertising, Karim Temsamani, summed up the five trends that emerged in the space this past year, and provided some interesting data points.
- Mobile is everywhere. Noting that large majority of consumers using smartphones are using them for shopping and getting in touch with businesses. Temsamani said that it's not simply that people are using smartphones and tablets (though the numbers are skyrocketing at an accelerating pace)—it’s that a huge, and fast-growing base of smartphone users, now expect to engage with businesses on mobile.
- Mobile is impacting shopping. According to Google's analysis of its own search data, mobile-savvy consumers are increasingly using their mobiles to find deals while they're out and about shopping. Needless to say, this has significant implications for business owners and marketers.
- The mobile ad ecosystem is starting to build a solid foundation. It's been sort of a free-for-all when it comes to mobile advertising. As proof, one need look no further than Apple's iAd, which sought to rethink what digital advertising can be. But to make sure mobile ads can scale, standards are needed in all areas of the ecosystem, from metrics to formats. Temsamani says good progress is being made and that this is a space to watch in 2012.
- Tablets have truly arrived. AdMob saw a whopping 440% increase in tablet traffic between December 2010 and November 2011.
- Businesses are getting hip to mobile. Mobile is no longer an afterthought for many businesses. Many are embracing the 'smaller screen', investing in designing experiences specifically for mobile devices.
What will 2012 hold? Temsamani is particularly bullish on offline commerce, predicting that "soon, we’ll see the mainstream shift that changes the way mobile connects people with brick-and-mortar storefronts".
That's a good bet, and in 2012 we may find that mobile is the glue that companies find can bring many, if not most of their channels together.