As we continue our series of predictions posts, we take a look at the quickly changing world of mobile devices, and share some thoughts on some ways that marketers can respond to these changes.
1. 2012 – The Year When Mobile Smart Phones Reach 50% Of The Market
Back in March, 2010, Nielsen projected that the U.S. cell phone smart phone market would finally reach 50% of the total handset market by Q3 of 2011.As it turns out, they were a little premature in their estimates – the majority of Americans still have feature phones (according to comScore’s latest survey, which puts smart phones at 38%). However, with smart phone prices down, tier 2 carrier smart phone inclusion, and increased competition, we can expect to pass that milestone in 2012. With almost half the population accessing the internet on their mobile devices – from social media to shopping sites and more –we can expect the marketing pendulum to begin the swing in favor of “mobile first, desktop second.”
2. The Rise of the Tablets To Main-Stream
The increased competition in the tablet market will drive prices down and increase sales as new models come out allowing the devices to be more main stream. More Americans who use their PC for simple activities like e-commerce, news, web, email, will buy tablets when they want to replace their PC.
So what does all this mean for higher ed marketers? Brands can no longer afford to build and test their websites purely with a desktop user in mind. Sites that are optimized for mobile (including touch screens) will offer a better user experience and in turn, drive better results.
3. Social Sites and Apps will Continue to Dominate Mobile Traffic
All analytics and indicators show the strong dominance of social sites and social games. This theme will continue throughout 2012, and we’ll see more and more marketers exploring ways to leverage that trend to increase brand awareness. In particular, we expect more attention on Android and iPhone GEO Social apps with creative uses of targeting them.. This recent Nielsen Study reinforces this prediction.
4. RIM Losing Market Share
Research in Motion, the manufacturer of the Blackberry, is in serious trouble. With sales already on the decline and a series of network issues in the recent past, they will continue to lose marketshare going into 2012, with the other 3 major players (Google, Apple, and Microsoft) benefiting.
While it’s still possible that RIM could find it’s way back by introducing an advanced touch OS with features and benefits equal to – or better than – Android and iOS operating systems, this doesn’t appear likely at this point. Having said that, marketers should keep focusing on optimizing their mobile presence for all handset types in the market with mobile web design best practices in mind.
5. The Beginning of the Start for Contactless Payments adoption via NFC & Virtual Wallets to Replace Credit Cards
This trend is unlikely to directly impact higher ed recruitment any time soon; however, our list of mobile predictions would be incomplete without it.
Many new smart phones that are coming out now and the rumored new iPhone5 to come will probably have NFC. Allowing users with these handsets to store credit card information in a virtual wallet on the phone and start using the phones at terminals that accepts them like the MasterCard PayPass for quick and easy checkouts. One example is the Google Virtual Wallet.
6. The Rise of Smart Phone-Connected Gadgets
Finally, if you are up to date with the latest trends and hip gadgets craze, you may have noticed new gadgets in your electronics store that take advantage of the smart phone’s connectivity features to enhance everyday life activities. Today, smart phones enable everything from listening to music through Bluetooth connected stereo phones to tracking fitness and health through app-supported devices like the UP bracelet or the Fitbit activity and sleep trackers. Expect more of those life-enhancing gadgets to show up and to satisfy our technology-driven lives.
While this is another trend that doesn’t have immediate/obvious ramifications for higher ed marketers, it is worth watching how this evolves. As more companies come up with ways to take advantage of smart phone connectivity, marketers are bound to follow