2013 was the year of BYOD. Mobility and productivity were at the fore of discussions from corporate America to entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes. So what’s in store for 2014 on the mobility front?
Thomas Husson, a vice president and principal analyst at market research firm Forrester Research, is making some keen predictions about mobile trends for marketers. While he admits that his mobile trend predictions for 2013 are still evolving -- making them still relevant for 2014 -- he has some new thoughts worth exploring.
“During 2014, we’ll pass a key milestone: an installed base of 2 billion smartphones globally,” Husson wrote in a blog post. “Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub but also the bridge to the physical world. That’s why mobile will affect more than just your digital operations -- it will transform your entire business. 2014 will be the year that companies increase investments to transform their businesses, with mobile as a focal point.”
With that in mind, let’s look at Husson’s three big mobile trend predictions for 2014.
Shifting to Big Data
First, Husson predicts, the competitive advantage in mobile will shift from experience design to 'big data' and analytics. That’s a fairly safe prediction given the overall and increasing industry emphasis on these sectors.
“Mobile is transformative but only if you can engage your consumers in their exact moment of need with the right services, content, or information,” he said. “Not only do you need to understand their context in that moment but you also need insights gleaned from data over time to know how to best serve them in that moment.”
Deeper Customer Insights
Second, Husson predicts mobile contextual data will offer deep customer insights -- beyond mobile. As he sees it, mobile is a key driver of big data.
“Most advanced marketers will get that mobile’s value as a marketing tool will be measured by more than just the effectiveness of marketing to people on mobile Web sites or apps,” he said. “They will start evaluating mobile’s impact on other channels.”
Mobile Advertising Matures
Some say Facebook proved the mobile advertising point in 2013. Others say Google pushed the envelope. Either way, Husson is predicting mobile advertising will start maturing in 2014.
“In 2014, we expect new mobile-centric ad formats to emerge, more effective mobile video inventory to grow, and more mobile ad network inventory to shift to the exchanges,” he said. “Improvements in user identification will be a primary driver for these changes, but don’t get too excited yet: No industry-accepted, non-cookie standard for user ID will be developed this year, so no one solution will offer massive reach.”
The China Factor
Beyond his predictions, Husson is also keeping watch on Asia. It will be extremely interesting to learn from Asia how to combine scale and innovation, he said, as Forrester expects China to pass the 500 million smartphones mark in 2014. That would give China nearly as many smartphone users as the U.S. and Europe combined.
“It will drive huge social mobile audiences on the likes of WeChat and Line. Like most Southeast Asian and emerging countries, China doesn’t have the established infrastructure within the enterprise that chains too many companies to their legacy policies, processes, or platforms,” Husson said. “The combined newness of the Internet and mobile makes everyone an entrepreneur.”