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As 2012 is officially over and we've now welcomed in another year, we reached out to a few industry professionals to see what their thoughts are for the year ahead. As we had so many great responses, we have made a series of posts that will come out over the month of January.

To start everything off, we're looking at the future of mobile and what companies need to have in their strategic approaches in 2013.

Julia Rieger, Director of Marketing, LiveIntent

It's become clear that mobile and tablets are no longer relegated to a second screen experience.  In fact, for many people depending on where they live, who they are and what they do, mobile and tablets are their primary experience.  2013 will be the year when Smartphones finally take center stage in delivering news and information as their primary purpose and when people finally realize that referring to them as 'phones' is a misnomer when in fact what was formerly called a phone should rather be referred to as a messaging platform that happens to have a phone carrier and telephony as a feature, not the main draw.

Oscar Trelles, Managing Director, Night Agency

Responsive design is certainly a good thing, but marketers need to realize that context trumps adjusting content to different screen sizes. Adapting to the consumer's state of mind in different situations should be our goal. Let's start practicing contextual design.

CEO, Paul Miller, UBM Tech

B2B media companies need to utilize and leverage the trust they have built with their communities to engage with the audience on a completely different level in the mobile arena in 2013. Basically, repeating a version of industry news on the mobile space is not going to work – we need to understand the workflow and buying process deeply and build new solutions for mobile workflow enhancement. These new products will engage the audience in their workflow and will consist of education, product search and directories, mobile enhancement of the live event experience (networking, management of time via schedule builders etc.) and, potentially, e-commerce.

Shiraz Datta, Lead - Marketing CRM and Business Intelligence at Nokia

Tablets and Mobile or Mobile PC are taking over the world and is expected to grow from 347M units in 2012 to over 809M units by 2017. Equally, this is quickly becoming the first mode of reference for consumer across the globe. One of the fundamental enablers for this massive growth is the Mobile/Tablet ability to marry information to your location. Further this is fueled by the consumers in the emerging market where, mobile and potential tablet (expected growth due to low cost tablets available in local markets) is the first piece of “personal” technology that an individual owns, and is enabling more connected devices to internet.

As we see more consumer looking for information on their mobile, business across the globe are gearing up to ensure their presence on this new mode of consumer reference. For those who are still in process of evaluating their jump; 2013 may prove to be a year that forces them to enter into the space, especially in emerging markets. Hence, it’s proving to be an interesting space as consumers evolution is happening at all possible points of the spectrum.

Carin van Vuuren, CMO, Usablenet

Mobile is growing fast and predicted to become consumers’ first choice in engaging with brands. However, on mobile, one size does not fit all. It is no longer enough for a brand to simply have a mobile presence. To succeed, brands must deliver a mobile experience that has context and is relevant to what consumers want to do.

2013 will be the year that marketers focus more on creating relevance by offering increased personalization and customized mobile experiences. Personalization will become one of the keys to turning engagement into mobile commerce.

Marifran Manzo-Ritchie, Director of Corporate Communications, Monetate

Mobile and tablet web usage is here to stay; by 2015, more than 25 percent of the U.S. population will use an iPad at least once per month, accounting for more than one-third of all Internet usage by individuals of any age. In order to survive in 2013 and beyond, brands must create intuitive customer experiences for smartphones and tablets based on specific customer preferences and the device visitors are using. Delivering deeply personalized experiences is the key to driving conversions and achieving higher revenue from mobile customers.

Natalie Vavricka, Audience Development Manager, Health, Time Inc. Lifestyle Digital

All marketers worth their salt realize that mobile is important. But if your site still isn’t optimized for mobile — or if there isn’t at least an aggressive timeline to do so — you’re so far behind that you may not be able to catch up. Growth patterns for mobile over the past 3 years are parallel to those of the internet circa 2000. Another eye-opening stat? By the end of 2012, the number of mobile devices will exceed the world’s population.

If users attempt to access your site on their smart phones and find a non-optimized experience, it’s simple: they just won’t stick around.

Kunur Patel, brand strategist, Percolate

In 2013, your consumers will surf the web on screens for every need. It’s no longer a matter of formatting web communication for three screens -smartphone, tablet and PC - the devices now flooding the market come in every in-between size and resist categorization. Some smartphones are big enough to be tablets, some tablets moonlight as laptops, the almighty iPad now comes in mini and, increasingly, even the TV screen in the living room can go online. 

The wide spectrum of screens makes fluid design crucial for the web. From e-commerce to customer service to marketing, how does your content look look on those myriad phones, tablets, and laptops? It’s time to consider responsive design, HTML5 or porting web communications to agile platforms like Wordpress or Tumblr because the future lies on screens of all sizes.

Jonathan Gardner, former global director of communications at Vibrant Media

For 2013, advertisers need a better understanding of how to do two not-mutually-exclusive things with mobile:

  1. Create unique mobile brand experiences for consumers that do not merely try to replicate and reuse what was done on desktop/broadcast; and,
  2. Unify cross-platform marketing much more tightly and with deeper integration.

Three years ago every marketers’ strategy was to build an app. But that strategy was not working so well. Most apps got used once and then were forgotten about. The competition and difficulty of getting your app discovered in the app store still looms.

A firmer commitment to “mobile” as a line item/budget bucket (similar to how we have “search” and “display” buckets) with much greater fund allocation among ad agencies. As well, the agency establishment will reaffirm their dominance to PR firms and others who have made inroads into the mobile space.

We’ve seen some promising evidence of consumer engagement on mobile, via branded content and targeted app development, and we’re bound to see more in the coming year. In 2013, everything we do has to put the consumer first, and that means engaging them on their number-one (probably mobile) device, being relevant to the context they’re in, and answering to their needs.

Brands, publishers, and consumers all need it to do different things, and until we see some convergence on the objectives of these key stakeholder groups, mobile will struggle to reach its full potential. I’m looking forward to seeing how brands leverage location technology and social-media data to amp up their marketing, especially as mobile commerce generates more attention.

Jason Baptiste, CEO, Onswipe

The iPad Mini will dominate as the consumer device of choice. Despite a rapidly growing market of devices from Google, Amazon, Samsung and Microsoft, consumers are going to continue to spend more time on the mobile web with Apple devices. With superior quality and an experience that users return to everyday, the iPad Mini will become the device of choice, deeply embedded into our day-to-day lives. 

The iPad Mini delivers the best experience for consumers to read content, watch video and use for everyday entertainment. In fact, we've seen that the iPad is king of our tablet web traffic at over 98%.

Andrew Der, Digital Strategy and Innovation

The ubiquity of mobile and tablet devices has obvious development implications.  In 2013, companies should begin to take a Responsive Web Design approach to their site development, as part of a broader strategy that recognizes every screen as just another device onto which content needs to be rendered properly.  

At the same time, companies need to understand the different use cases for each device to better tailor content and functionality to each, as is appropriate.  For instance, mobile users want convenience and ease of use whereas tablet users want more of an immersive experience.

Kim Ann King, Chief Marketing Officer, SiteSpect

The mobile channel has finally evolved into a revenue-generating line of business for many industries; however, there is relatively little in the way of best practices. That’s why companies must add mobile optimization to their strategic marketing arsenal in 2013.  Just putting together a mobile website doesn’t mean a thing if you’re not optimizing it with multivariate testing. Some companies have learned the hard way that customers on-the-go have an entirely different set of needs than desktop users  — environment, task-at-hand, and physical device constraints all differ, often dramatically.

Optimizing mobile websites via multivariate testing can help organizations learn how to better influence and persuade visitors to interact with their mobile brand, use content and functionality, adopt mobile site features, click-through to mobile ads and geo-aware offers, register for mobile accounts, and download digital products via offers (ringtones, wallpapers, apps, etc.). Optimizing for mobile is a digital marketing “must have” for 2013.

Sean O’Neal, Global CMO, The Daily Mail Online

As media consumption continues to mobilize, sophisticated publishers are embracing the opportunity to deliver their content through multiple channels and on various devices.  The tablet, in particular, represents one of the most exciting opportunities for publishers to innovate.

It combines true mobility with the large format palate that was previously only available with a PC, and advertisers are increasingly developing rich, engaging creative units specifically for this environment.  For marketers and for publishers, the tablet opportunity is both different and potentially superior to anything seen with the PC or smartphone.

Mark Simpson, Founder and President of Maxymiser

Platform-specific offerings that offer a better shopping experience, geo-specific content, special offers, and other elements that complement and enhance life on the go; and responsive design — a mobile site that’s designed for optimal viewing no matter which mobile or tablet device is being used. Consumers are simply going to lose patience with sites that fail to keep pace. 

Ari Paparo, independent media consultant

Content companies seem to be in denial about the volume and quality of audience shifting to mobile and tablet devices. Outsourcing this traffic to a specialized ad network is a short-term bandage, but isn't going to be a winning strategy once 40 or 50 percent of volume is on these devices. Publishers need to get ahead of this and build creative ad units and targeting packages specifically for the multi-channel audience.

Sean W. Bohan, Co-Founder, Decahedralist Strategic Consulting

Companies who think they just need an app are either kidding themselves or eating too much of their agency's dog food. Companies in 2013 need to have all of their websites in a Responsive Web Design format that covers the mobile, table and desktop viewports. Depending on the business/brand, a majority of your traffic could come from mobile/tablet and you want those users to have an experience that is as rich as the desktop, not “close to it”. 

Mobile advertising will continue to be a "slippery fish" with experience-based ad opportunities like Medialets continuing to grow and a few startups with a different model taking root (see Rare Crowd's CEO Eric Picard's great piece "Time for a New Mobile Ad Format" for more).

Jonathan Lewis, General Manager of International Markets, AdGent Digital

The tremendous rise of users accessing content via a browser on tablet seems set to continue. For example, 41% of users access news sites and magazine content via a tablet browser. This upswing should make brands pause and consider how their messaging is reaching said audiences. With Apple being the overwhelming device of choice (55% market share) brands need to consider how their flash ads are executing on Apple tablet devices. 

In today’s multi screen environment brands must be involved in the execution strategy early in the process and for tablets, working in HTML5 provides a solution to this issue. Using HTML5, brands can ensure rich, tacit, engaging ads that play on the tablets usability, giving the opportunity for pinching, sliding, rotating the device, all aimed at heightening the user experience. 

Dax Hamman, Chief Revenue Officer, Chango

Hopefully marketers will realize that the idea of a ‘year of mobile’ is a fallacy. An an industry we coined that term to describe an intent rather than a format, the idea being that when someone is on a mobile they are somehow behaving differently. Today we know that mobile simply means a device type, and whilst there are occasions a mobile visit can be associated with a specific goal that wouldn’t be done on a desktop (“where am I”), most people use a mobile or tablet in the same way as their desktop / laptop. I am just as likely to reach for my phone or tablet at home as I am my laptop, whichever device happens to be more convenient. The year of the mobile isn’t coming; it was superseded by ‘internet-on-the-go’ a long time ago.

Mark Kirschner, Vice CMO, Rakuten

I think we'll see increased mobile integration: Whether it’s a mobile-optimised site or dedicated app, most retailers are coming to terms with the need for a smartphone and/or tablet solution.  However, mobile can offer much more than this, in the next year we expect to see more integration in-store, through the use of apps, QR codes and augmented reality experiences as well as shifts in the payment tools available.

Shrikant Latkar, VP of Marketing, InMobi

  1. Brands must have a mobile strategy: The most important thing that companies can do in 2013 is to engage with their customers on their mobile devices.  Mobile optimized sites will become a de facto standard as companies cannot risk losing customers to their competition. Forward thinking companies are already embracing mobile apps and are increasingly using these new touch points to engage with their customer at a far deeper level.
  2. 2013 will see an increased focus on the user:  In the world of hyper competition and individual targeting, companies that are focused on delivering highly personalized content to their audience will win. We expect to see accelerated adoption of platforms that help businesses to gain deep insights and take real-time action.  

    In the app market, for instance, insights and analytics tools will allow brands and publishers to target ad content to their users in ways that encourage prolonged engagement and offer their app users incentive to make a purchase, watch a video, click through an ad, etc.  We haven’t seen this kind of individual focus before.

  3. For many major tech brands, 2013 will be the year of mobile monetization:  Tech companies have been experimenting with so many business models, but next year, companies like Facebook and others will finally figure out how to profit off of mobile apps and the mobile web.
Heather Taylor

Published 2 January, 2013 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Editorial Director for Econsultancy US. You can follow her on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

236 more posts from this author

Comments (7)

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Juliet Stott

An interesting article, thank you. We have come up with 5 simple and easy to implement content marketing tips for mobile and tablet marketing campaigns in response to the surge in smartphone and tablet purchases this Christmas.

almost 4 years ago

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Graeme Cole, Global Social & Digital Innovation Mgr at Bupa

Will 2013 be the year of the tablet becoming a "mobile" device? It wasn't in 2012 - 62% of them never left the home at beginning of 2012.

Great compilation, thanks for sharing eConsultancy

almost 4 years ago

Oscar Trelles

Oscar Trelles, Agency executive, startup advisor, entrepreneur, connector. at R/GA

Hi, Graeme. Tablets are mobile devices, just typically within well defined geographical spaces, such as buildings. But the increasing popularity of 7-inch tablets may change that, assuming mobile data plans costs become a non-issue.

almost 4 years ago

Geoff Andrews

Geoff Andrews, Lead Generation Manager at Kumon Educational UK

Just looked up from reading this on my SMART phone. My eldest was texting his friend. Youngest was playing on my wife's tablet. Guess the TV ads didn't get much of our attention.

almost 4 years ago

Guy Cookson

Guy Cookson, CMO and Co-Founder at Respond Native Advertising Platform

There's no doubt the second screen is the first screen for a growing number of people. That means people will expect to do whatever they can do on desktop when they're on mobile, and will have vastly less tolerance for online experience that don't allow this.

almost 4 years ago

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Gary Levin

Mobile is the 'BIG" word in health care apps. Physicians now use tablet PCs in the hospital and office because they rarely sit down at a desk. Mobile apps are doctor-patient friendly and fit the ergonomics of face-to-face interactions. The big thing now is the interest in remote monitoring using smartphones as the vehicle for transmitting physiologic metrics, ie, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, physical activity, blood sugar, and soon using nano-technology it will be possible to do 'finger sticks' to measure many serum values. In fact it will be possible to examine for pathogens in the near future, with a breathalyzer test similar to measuring alcohol levels. If you want to follow these developments, visit http;//digitalhealthspace@blogspot.com and please do share...

almost 4 years ago

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Gary Levin

Crikey ! I messed up the url, so here it is again

Mobile is the 'BIG" word in health care apps. Physicians now use tablet PCs in the hospital and office because they rarely sit down at a desk. Mobile apps are doctor-patient friendly and fit the ergonomics of face-to-face interactions. The big thing now is the interest in remote monitoring using smartphones as the vehicle for transmitting physiologic metrics, ie, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, physical activity, blood sugar, and soon using nano-technology it will be possible to do 'finger sticks' to measure many serum values. In fact it will be possible to examine for pathogens in the near future, with a breathalyzer test similar to measuring alcohol levels. If you want to follow these developments, visit http://digitalhealthspace.blotspot.com

almost 4 years ago

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