American Marketer


5 trends to watch as mobile transforms

May 21, 2014

Jim Porçarelli is executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Active International Jim Porçarelli is executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Active International


By Jim Porçarelli

With 2014 well underway, the media and marketing landscape continues to evolve at an increasingly fast pace.

Mobile marketing is at the forefront of some of the biggest transformations that we are seeing across the board. With these changes comes uncertainty, and if we stick to the standard and known ways of doing things, we will fall far behind.

Prescient marketing teams will not only embrace the latest trends, but proactively test new ways to promote their brands. Some of the most important mobile trends to watch include:

As the purchase funnel evolves, personalization is increasing

Marketing teams are beginning to incorporate video, audio and display into their promotion strategies.

With more media formats to reach consumers than ever before, the purchase funnel is now becoming more of an ellipse, with these multiple touch points revolving around the consumer.

As a result, the time in which it takes consumers to receive, process and act upon marketing messages is much shorter. This shifts even more power from marketers to consumers.

Marketers will have to customize their messages to their consumers more than ever. One example: improving the process of displaying mobile ads to consumers who search related content and are located near a particular retailer.

Consolidation is continuing across the board

Increasing numbers of companies are merging or creating alliances.

BMW and Toyota, as well as Mercedes and Infiniti, have been in talks about innovative joint ventures.

Publicis Groupe and Omnicom tried to merge into an agency behemoth, albeit the effort to become a more efficient and global powerhouse failed recently over leadership differences.

Joining forces provides companies with extra resources to do more than they could independently. It also helps these brands differentiate themselves in their respective industries since decreased business is often the result of a saturated market.

Content is getting shorter and more visual

Marketing teams are striving to create more bite-size content to further appeal to mobile consumers. This condensed content can be anything from quick Vine videos to eye-catching infographics.

There is a lot of room for experimenting with different platforms and types of content to support the marketing effort.

According to YouTube, mobile consumers now account for almost 40 percent of its global watch time.

Additionally, between 2010 and 2012, the word “infographic” increased in search engine results by 800 percent, according to Neo Mammalian Studios.

Native advertising and gamification of mobile ads is expanding

The budgets for native advertising and mobile ads that increasingly resemble games are growing.

Native advertising has been around for a while, but only now is it ready to assert itself as a big player in contextual advertising.

As long as marketers carefully tread the waters between advertising and content, their efforts will likely be profitable.

More mobile ads are now joining those hazy waters by incorporating more gamification, or lures, for consumers to click on them.

Enticing tactics, such as earning points, competing with friends or unlocking certain content, drive and boost consumer engagement in a new way.

Experimentation is name of the game

Most marketers are under serious pressure to “do more with less,” meaning drive and support company sales with less time, budget and manpower.

Luckily, new technologies and tactics are increasingly offering marketing teams unprecedented options to do just this.

Twitter’s promoted tweets and Facebook’s in-stream ads are good examples of this.

As alluded above, mobile video ad formats are sources of untapped marketing exploration. With the mobile arena growing more competitive and crowded, marketers will need to be bolder in order to stand out.

WITH THE MEDIA and marketing landscape changing at lightning speed, marketing teams will have no choice but to incorporate the latest trends into their strategies.

While this means a certain level of uncertainty for marketers as they forge new territory, the positive side is that they are now being encouraged to think outside the box, promote their brand, and engage their consumers in new and bold ways.

Think of it as portfolio management. Not all risks will deliver results, but you only need one huge win.

Jim Porçarelli is executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Active International, Pearl River, NY. Reach him at