I was re-reading a presentation from Mary Meeker and Matt Murphy from Kleiner Perkins on mobile trends and found 3 killer slides that articulate why we are taking mobile so seriously this year. Often research reports from VCs like KPCB are designed to guide investment choices that will pay off down the road. That runway gets shorter and shorter. These slides tell me what we need to do today rather than 12 months from now. I encourage you to view their full presentation and hope KPCB is comfortable with me sharing three of their great slides.
Social Network Use Accelerating the Use of Mobile
Roughly 30% of Facebook's 600mm+ membership are mobile active users of the service. Even more interesting - these mobile users are 2 times more active than the desktop users. There are all sorts of implications here. "Using" Facebook often means publishing pictures, identifying your location, event posting videos. This is over and above the text-base updates, chat and simple, gestural interactions with friends. Partner apps like Instapicture which help process mobile phone-snapped images into a richer image start to drive their own behaviors (taking "artful" photos).
High-bandwidth content like video and streaming music are changing services like Pandora which sees 50% of their use base subscribing via mobile. We will take our experience with us and expect it to seamlessly follow. That is why I love my Ford Fusion Hybrid (cl) - my iPhone connects when I step into the car and starts playing my playlist with no effort on my part. Hands-free calls drop back to the handset as I get out of the car. Brands who are not creating useful and frictionless mobile content and services will not only not reach people, but people will drop their service or avoid their content just because they find it too hard.
Mobile "Device" Doesn't Mean Phone
I don't know how many handset types and manufacturers their are but I know its a lot. Even with the growing domination by Apple, Google/Android and Blackberry in the smartphone space, there are all the many more Web-enabled non-smartphones as well. That's a lot of devices for brands to make content or applications for. Now add to that tablets, cars and new home appliances and there is a lot more to device types to think about. More importantly, there is a lot more user behavior and intent to think about. What I am trying to do from inside my car (not while I am driving, of course) is likely very different than when I stand in the sile at the pharmacy. Brands must continue to hone their skills at understanding the "user journey" and the different intents all along the way to successfully deliver content and services.
Location-aware Shopping Will Earn Loyalty
I was reading a great study a while back on what engenders loyalty from customers. The assumption that "delighting" customers with great service or imported chocolates quickly gave way to the reality that we really appreciate simplicity. If you can reduce the number of button clicks it takes to submit a claims form or get through a checkout line (I would pay good money to get the Barnes & Noble cashiers to stop asking me if I have my member card each time. I always say no. They always say would you like to open an account. I always say no. Meanwhile, an unnecessary :15 seconds has slipped by. Before you say "get over it," time is all I have; that's my scarce resource).
Smart brands are jumping on location-aware commerce and hopefully many of them have it in their head to simplify and streamline the customer experience. That will earn more loyalty.
The High Relevance of Mobile Ads Done Right Will Outperform All Others
Let's face it, advertising is changing dramatically everyday. And I am not talking about the growth of digital. More and more advertisers see advertising as a way to extend the reach of their efforts to provide something of additional value via utility or entertainment. Advertisers agonize over whether the content they create to market a product actually meets some genuine need for the user. Not the product, itself, but the advertising supporting that product. Mobile advertising must serve a purpose for the user, and it must resist the temptation to fall back to ways interuptive just because it can. The demands and high performance of mobile advertising will do more to change advertisers (and their agencies) than anything since the emergence of 'social media.'