Here are some of the most important mobile developments marketers should know about this year.
1. SHORT-FORM VIDEO APPS
In the fall of 2012, Twitter acquired the, at that time un-launched, six-second video app Vine. The short videos, or “Vines” as they have been come to be known, quickly rose in popularity. Competitor Facebook, not one to be left behind, soon followed with its own version in June of this year — the fifteen-second Instagram Video.
Both Vine and Instagram Video were quickly pounced on by a number of brands. Mountain Dew, Tide and Lowe’s have all experimented with Vine videos. Moments after Instagram announced its video option, yoga clothing brand Lululemon posted a video on the mobile app. MTV even announced its VMA nominees over Vine and Instagram Videos this year.
According to a report from Cisco, two-thirds of the world’s mobile data will be used by mobile video by 2017. To answer the growing popularity of Vine ads, video analytics company Unruly began offering its content creation skills for the platform. That development further shows short-form mobile video not only opened doors for brands, but also for the firms that service them.
2. MOBILE AD RETARGETING
Major players in the mobile app and social networking business made advances in mobile ad retargeting this year. With the increased use in mobile and the potential reality of a cookie-less world, advertisers are looking for ways to retarget ads to users on mobile.
Facebook developed a custom ad tool that utilizes its rich first-party data by allowing advertisers to track users from their own websites back to Facebook on both desktop and mobile. Twitter followed suit this month with its “tailored audiences” product, which allows advertisers to target Promoted Tweets across multiple devices with a focus on mobile. Twitter is also using MoPub, a mobile ad company the social network acquired this fall, to help advertisers target users as they use their apps.
Google may have the biggest advantage when it comes to mobile retargeting because of its expansive access to first-party data. Users login to multiple points with the same user name, so the search giant’s retargeting is quite accurate. Google also boasts the most-used mobile OS and runs AdMob, its own mobile ad network.
3. NEW SOCIAL NETWORK ADS
As more people began accessing their favorite social networks through mobile devices, the platforms had to adapt to keep advertisers interested. Most notable among new ad products were those offered by Facebook and its darling acquisition, Instagram.
In the past year and half, Facebook has been scrambling to meet a user base that is switching to mobile much quicker than expected. According to its own calculations, 70% of users now access the social platform through a mobile device. To offer more mobile options to advertisers, Facebook moved in-stream display ads and in-stream video ads to mobile.
Meanwhile, mobile-based, image-centric social app Instagram started running ads for the first time this year, as well. The platform tested the waters slowly in an attempt to make the transition as smooth as possible for users. The first brands to test out the Instagram ads — Michael Kors, Lexus, Levi's and Ben & Jerry's — all saw an increase in likes, comments and followers. Ads started appearing on a nearly daily basis soon after the initial rollout.
4. MESSAGING APP MARKETING
For this development, we can mostly blame the explosive popularity of popular messaging app Snapchat. Numbers vary on Snapchat’s exact reach, but the company reports an estimated 30 million messages are sent everyday on the platform.
The young demographic drawn to the app is very attractive to some brands, and there are a few who have even experimented with marketing on the platform. The messages automatically delete after 10 seconds, presenting a bit of a challenge to brands looking to spread a message. Tongal, a crowdsourcing contest platform, recently ran a contest to help generate marketing ideas for brands on Snapchat. The contest resulted in 583 unique ideas, many of them targeted toward particular brands. Brands that have already undertaken fairly successful Snapchat campaigns include Taco Bell, Acura and frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles.
Facebook reportedly offered to buy Snapchat for the attractive price of $3 billion, but Snapchat spurned the offer. In what seemed like a response to Snapchat’s refusual, Instagram launched a direct messaging feature this month — a feature that has already been used for marketing by the Kardashians.
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