Guest Column: The evolution of mobile marketing in 2018: Ashwiny Thapliyal, TUNE

As of 2017, over 2.3 billion smartphone owners and consumers were spending 69 per cent of their digital media time in front of mobile devices. Should mobile marketers join the bandwagon or should they continue in the direction they’ve been taking since the beginning of the year?

e4m by Ashwiny Thapliyal
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 8:54 AM

The astonishing growth of smartphone and tablet ownership is almost unprecedented in the history of consumer technology. As of 2017, over 2.3 billion smartphone owners and consumers were spending 69 per cent of their digital media time in front of mobile devices. 2017 may be ending but it looks like mobile isn’t going anywhere and one question still stands relevant: should mobile marketers join the bandwagon or should they continue in the direction they’ve been taking since the beginning of the year? Here are few trends which will evolve the mobile marketing arena in 2018.

Engaging with customers on mobile will supersede the earlier focus on acquisition. Marketer are constantly trying to master customer engagement. But, as mobile, social and messaging become more integrated and distinctions between them blurs, it will become trickier than ever to reach a consumer at the right moment with the right piece of content. The future goal would be to create a seamless experience for customers throughout their physical and virtual lives.

Today’s consumer is mobile-first and marketers will have to optimize content for smaller screens and new channels like apps and social media, in order to improve engagement. The future of digital engagement will largely depend on making optimum use of public and private applications. For instance, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is effectively utilizing platforms like WhatsApp to get feedback on booking experience and seat selection and Twitter to engage with frequent flyers.

Mobile ecosystem has experienced a re-engagement renaissance in 2017. Mobile marketers have understood that building an active user base requires more than just user acquisition. 2018 would witness more of push marketing strategies to encourage frequent engagement and to re-engage dormant users. Two things marketers can do to effectively re-engage their audience are:

o Identify platforms responsible for driving up the app install rate and utilize them often for re-engagement campaigns.
o Use deep links to send users directly to the most relevant screen on the apps instead of the home screen.

Voice search isn’t the future of local marketing, it’s the present. According to ComScore, 50 per cent of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. According to a recent Interactive Advertising Bureau study, 65 per cent of podcast listeners are more likely to purchase a product they learned about from a podcast. How customers consume content and advertising is changing, driven largely by the rapid growth of AI-enabled home devices. Consumers are forming intimate relationships with these new technologies and brand marketers can leverage learning’s from this medium to capture them at the right time.

Marketers should focus on capturing the micro-moments, those little windows of opportunity to engage usefully with the multi-tasking and multi device consumer before they flip on to the next thing. Audio will provide an effective medium to unobtrusively leverage those narrow apertures.

Marketers will have to re-think search. The shift to voice search means that marketers will need to consider spoken queries as part of their keyword strategy. Voice searches and typed searches differ dramatically and search engines are already updating their algorithms in an attempt to deal with it.

OTT video will continue to gain steam. In 2018, both live streaming and on-demand OTT video content are expected to become even more mainstream. Netflix and Amazon Fire TV are changing the dynamics of the OTT video landscape and have steadily become more present in our daily life. Live streaming OTT video content will continue to become an ideal medium for events like concerts, sports etc. Twitter’s experiment with live streaming NFL games was a major success in the US, reaching more than 20 million viewers.

Marketers ought to leverage the evolving regional trends in mobile viewing, live streaming and video advertising, along with advanced technologies.

Fraud is still a major hurdle, as is a broader sense of trust in advertising. Mobile ad fraud in India is 2.4X higher than rest of the world and India is amongst the top 10 countries for highest app install frauds. Marketers should make app install measurement a priority. Fighting fraud starts with a clear view of app install sources and using this core data to develop a clear understanding of ads and ad networks that drive quality traffic. In 2018, more marketers are expected to turn to AI to detect fraudulent activities through analysis of traffic, conversion rates and self-learning ability. By identifying non-human behaviour in real-time, AI will allow brands to intercept fraudulent activities and minimize losses.

Marketers will continue to connect online and in-store events. During every holiday season, marketers aim to increase their brand’s sales volume in both offline and online stores. Since consumers take decisions by touching brands on different channels, omni-channel marketing and integrating online and offline channels will become a more critical area for marketers in 2018. While maintaining customer consent and guarding their privacy, marketers can use location and other specs to serve them more targeted ads offer a discount code, suggest new products or inform about an upcoming event. In addition to this, virtual and physical shopping behaviour can allow marketers to understand their customers better and offer them a more personalized shopping experience by offering them more tailored messages and offers.

With 2018 already on the horizon, the main trend will be the continued struggle to place relevant content in front of consumers in a format that suits them and one that displays correctly on their device.

(Ashwiny Thapliyal is the Regional Head of Sales India & Southeast Asia at TUNE)
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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