ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Mobile most effective medium for initiating dialogue with consumers: Experian

Businesses working to integrate mobile into their marketing mix have the ability to prompt immediate response and establish a two-way dialogue with consumers, according to a study by Experian Marketing Services.

As smartphone usage and market penetration continues to grow, the mobile channel is a sure investment for marketers today, regardless of industry or target market, per Experian. As time goes on and technology advances, mobile marketing will become more cost-effective and cross-channel-friendly.

?Consumers are becoming more amenable to mobile marketing and advertising,? said Bill Tancer, San Francisco-based general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services. ?Marketers should recognize that in today?s digital mobile age, mobile marketing is a two-way communication and both directions need equal consideration.

?First, consider that consumers are pulling information in the form of checking prices and reviews via their mobile device, but they are also becoming more accepting of pushed content, specifically in the format of specific coupons and promotions,? he said.

?Even with growing acceptance, there?s room to grow in mobile commerce, with only 36 percent of consumers indicating that they intend to engage in shopping activities from their mobile device.?

Key findings
Mobile phone usage by American adults has increased 21 percentage points from 2006, according to Experian.

Verizon Wireless holds on to 29 percent of the United States mobile market, followed by AT&T at 24 percent. Both carriers? market shares are growing.

Consumers are becoming more receptive to mobile advertisements. They are finding mobile advertising more valuable over time?especially those pushing coupons and special offers.

While phone calls and text messaging (SMS) still dominate regular mobile usage, taking and sharing photographs (MMS) is the next most frequent activity.

Thirty-six percent of consumers plan to use their phone for shopping-related activities, 59 percent of which plan to actually purchase from their device.

The most popular mobile shopping activity is checking prices (24 percent), while the most popular place for mobile shopping activities is the home (59 percent).

Twenty-eight percent of consumers perform shopping activities from their phone in brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Although retailers are quick to jump on the mobile app bandwagon, the majority of applications downloaded are for gaming and entertainment.

Text messaging, not apps, reaches the widest range of consumers. However, there is no such thing as an SMS campaign, per Experian.

The emphasis is no longer on the SMS technology itself, but the overall marketing objective that it enables.

Leading brands are no longer seeking SMS campaigns?they are seeking ways to build mobile communities, create loyalty programs and facilitate geo-specific shopping alerts.

Text messaging, of course, is still the root technology that delivers these experiences, but it is now a means to an end.

SMS programs have many opt-in methods, all of which should be activated, including email, Web site, point of sale promotions and Facebook pages.
?Text messaging does reach the widest breadth of consumers?that being said, marketers should view SMS as an element of a complete mobile strategy versus an exclusive channel, Mr. Tancer said.

?Successful marketers in this space will consider SMS as a holistic means to an end, incorporating an overall strategy that includes location specific offers and social media integration,? he said.

The mobile market is growing at a rapid pace
Marketers are committed to increasing investment in mobile advertising, with spend in the channel expected to near $3 billion annually by 2014.

This growth trend was buttressed in 2010 by two leaders in the mobile space making significant investments in mobile advertising, with Google paying $750 million for AdMob and Apple purchasing Quattro Wireless.

The increases in mobile ad spend also were supported by greater openness on the part of consumers to receive ads on their mobile phones.

Nine in 10 American adults now have mobile phones, up from seven in 10 in 2006. This is an increase of 21 percentage points.

Even kids as young as six years old are getting in the game, with more than one in five kids ages 6-11 reporting that they have a mobile phone.

Key mobile trends
Mobile site traffic is approaching the height of Web site traffic, per Experian.

Last year, the monthly mobile site traffic of E-online, ?The source for entertainment news, celebrity gossip and pictures,? came significantly closer to that of its traditional Web site traffic and solidified the long-held belief that much of their audience preferred mobile for consuming content.

The intersection of mobile and social marketing is a growing trend.

Integrated mobile and social media strategies have become a critical success factor for top brands, per Experian.

Customer reviews, social links and sharing functionality have all become the norm and found their way into the constantly evolving set of best practices.

It is important to note, especially for brands that need mobile services that provide scale, that most of today?s new and buzz-worthy technology options such as check-in apps have less than 5 percent adoption in the United States, according to a November 2010 comScore report.

How can they decide if launching an app makes sense, or if it would be best to advertise within an app with an existing install base?

?The answer to this question is based on a marketer?s ability to provide an app that is unique in nature that generates a very specific, tangible benefit for the consumer,? Mr. Tancer said. ?In other words, developing an app simply for the sake of marketing to consumers without a specific value to the consumer is a losing proposition.

?If you don?t have the specific value proposition to rise above the app chaff, then partnering with an existing app leader would be a better choice,? he said.

Booming tablet adoption is one of the biggest trends in mobile this year.

What do marketers and retailers need to know about tablets?

?According to research from Pew Internet, tablet users tend to be more affluent than the general population, so marketers should consider the overlap of their audience with the specific demographics of tablet users, Mr. Tancer said.

?That being said, marketers should keep tabs on the changing demographics of tablet users as the Apple iPad becomes more ubiquitous,? he said.