We are all equal before a wave. But we can learn to surf it!

Mindshare's Armin Huska on why mobile must be your main marketing priority.

ArminHuskaBy Armin Huska, Chief Digital Officer, Mindshare

With the Mobile World Congress just having wrapped up in Barcelona, one prophecy already did come true: The internet is the operating system that manages our lives; and our mobile devices are the defining peripheral that help us navigate it. They are our personalized remote controls that enable autonomous and convenient living.

As famous surfer Laird Hamilton once said,“We are all equal before a wave. In our case, that wave is currently made of 16 billion globally IP-connected objects — from homes, cars, wearables, voice search, assistants, and micro-payment systems to AI, chatbots, augmented and virtual reality, and everything in between.1 In three years, this number is predicted to grow to 26 billion— and our smartphones will be the gateway to all of these connected objects.1

As a marketer, you don’t have to ask what the state of mobile is when mobile is the state. Seventy-six percent of Canadian internet users over 18 now own a smartphone.2 Canada’s 4G LTE infrastructure is amongst the most sophisticated in the world, and its share of total mobile connections is estimated to rise from 54% in 2015 to 76% by 2020.3 In the U.S., experts estimate that commerce via smartphones will pass the $100 billion mark for the first time.4 And not only are the world’s largest media sellers mobile-first, two of the most anticipated public offerings of 2017 (Snapchat and Spotify) will be subscriber and advertising-funded companies that exist primarily on mobile.

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Mobile has certainly hit a critical mass for consumers, but it hasn’t in the experiences we’re delivering to consumers. A recent study by Think with Google explored how mobile and advances in technology impact Canadian consumer expectations and made it very clear that consumers don’t see mobile as a channel, but rather as a tool to manage their life or enabler for making it more convenient.

It’s 2017, so if you are still working on your mobile roadmap and aren’t  meeting your customer’s expectations, then you need help. Fast and desperately. Don’t look at mobile as a shiny innovation play, but rather make it your main marketing priority.

It’s critical to develop meaningful customer-centric engagement platforms that provide fast and easy services to make people’s lives more convenient. Forty percent of consumers, for instance, hope they won’t have to go to a physical branch to do their banking two years from now.5 Mobile technology is playing a major role in this. Large banking brands have taken note and are rolling out mobile cheque deposit functions on their banking apps with Scotiabank’s latest ad campaign focusing on the institution’s mobile capabilities.

TWG_ArminHuska_Mindshare_nugget_B_03062017_nugget2_v2 (1)For Mindshare, mobile has an even higher purpose than just serving as a media channel. It’s the connective tissue that allows for smarter cross-channel attribution, deeper levels of ROI-measurement (especially for brick and mortar businesses) and the identification of what we call Adaptive Marketing moments (akin to Google’s intent-rich “micro-moments”) that respond to consumer dynamics in real-time with highly relevant content and advertising.

If, for example, you include location signals in your media planning efforts and combine them with first-party CRM data to build custom audience segments, you will be amazed how much actionable insights you can gather. So much so that you can predict certain consumer dynamics and purchase behaviour based on true cross-channel attribution models without relying too much on cookie-based tracking.

Yes, there are still many hurdles that we, as an industry, must overcome. Hurdles like dealing with privacy compliance, ad format standards, and even the vast technology stack available out there. One thing is clear, though: The mobile advertising wave is coming. And since we’re all equal before the wave, it’s time to learn to surf it!

For additional insights (and tips on surfing the mobile wave), subscribe to Think with Google.

1)   Cisco US. VNI Global Fixed and Mobile Internet Traffic Forecasts. USA 2016.

2)   Catalyst Canada. SMARTPHONE BEHAVIOUR IN CANADA AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR MARKETERS IN 2016. Canada 2016.

3)   Cisco Systems, “Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI): Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2015-2020,” Feb 3, 2016.

4)   eMarketer, Jan 2017, “US Holiday Shopping Preview 2017: Recapping 2016, and Looking Ahead to This Season”

5)   Google / Kelton. How digital innovations influence consumer expectations. December 2016. Online study to a nationally representative sample of Canadians 18+. n=3,077.