It's All About the Smartphone
By Rachael Barthelmes, Intern
It’s difficult to deny that our society is addicted to the Smartphone. In a recent New York Times article by Martin Lindstrom, “You Love Your iPhone. Literally,” Lindstrom compared our dedication or rather obsession with the iPhone to some people’s devotion to the pope. Whether it’s an iPhone or Blackberry, Droid or Samsung Focus, in 2012 the majority of people have a Smartphone that they hold near and dear to their hearts. Our phone in some senses has become an extension of ourselves. Whether sitting in class or at work, walking or unfortunately even driving, we are constantly checking our phones, hoping to see our screens light up with calls, texts, and email notifications.
As a result of the growth of Smartphone use, companies have slowly begun to harness the power of mobile marketing. Brands have found opportunities to reach consumers through text message campaigns, banner ads, mobile websites, and even through location-based searches and SEOs (search engine optimizations). Mobile Active business development manager Vanessa Hunt notes that mobile marketing has the potential to be incredibly successful because “it’s an extremely personal medium; it’s a fact of life and now just commonplace. Mobile devices are a part of our lifestyles, and marketing ties into that.” Companies like iAd and AdMob have emerged specifically to create mobile ads for brands. Additionally Wirenode, founded in 2004, was formed to create websites compatible with Smartphones. Most recently Siri has proved to be an excellent marketing device for brands’ iPhone apps. For example, if you ask Siri to make reservations for you at a particular restaurant, Siri will launch the Open Table app.
However, even with all of these resources available for mobile marketing, companies have still been hesitant to delve into the mobile market. In a recent report from Forrester Research, only 19% of online retailers are working on developing mobile sites for their brands, which means that 81% are withholding from doing so. Additionally, only 593 million dollars are expected to be spent on mobile advertising this year, which is less than .1% of the 31 billion spent on online advertising in 2011. Dollars spent on mobile advertising is predicted to jump 1.56 billion by 2013, but that still remains to be only .5% of online advertising spend. When mobile marketing is such a large opportunity we must ask ourselves why companies are not aggressively pursuing it.
Some companies are arguing that mobile marketing is not showing a great enough impact on revenue, while others are claiming that it is too much of a new and risky market to invest in. Their concerns are understandable, however as Smartphones are predicted to remain an integral part of our lives and revenue return is only continuing to grow, investing in mobile marketing in the long term should prove to be a smart move for companies. We bring our phones everywhere and with GPS technology our phones now have the ability to advertise geographically relevant products. Mobile phones for example can advertise deals for restaurants nearby, minutes before our lunch breaks. We can even apply a discount we received from checking in on Foursquare and garnering points. Ultimately, in today’s age the Mobile phone trumps all, and while the uptake on ads might be slow, it is clear that mobile advertising is the future.