Last year was heralded as the year of mobile in online marketing, but with the introduction of Apple’s Siri, Google’s acquisition of Motorola for $12 billion, and our increasing reliance on mobile devices for search, 2012 may prove to be an equally—if not more—momentous year for mobile marketing.
With this in mind, let’s consider some likely trends, innovations, and transactions that may grab the mobile headlines in 2012:
- Voice search will continue to skyrocket. Although text-based search won’t vanish from phones, as mobile artificial intelligence software (e.g., Apple’s Siri) becomes more sophisticated, we’ll see more people relying on voice-search services (and more operating systems and search engines taking advantage of them).
- Google will unveil a new mobile experience that will favor context over content. Forget content-heavy mobile sites. Expect to see more maps, shopping-comparison results, and even narrated results pages.
- Mobile CPCs will increase. As advertisers flock to mobile search, space will become a valuable commodity. As a result, click costs will rise.
- Mobile websites will become device agnostic. Mobile sites as a separate entity will go away as responsive web design takes hold as the de facto standard.
- Big retailers will embrace in-store mobile integration. Look for more apps that integrate shopping and e-payment options, as well as in-store tablet kiosks and augmented-reality offerings.
- Google will subsidize the little guys. Although Google’s free mobile site-building and GoMo products are helpful, small businesses will need further incentive to shift their marketing budget to mobile devices.
- Mobile analytics will get smarter. In order to increase investment in mobile marketing, the search giants will need to launch products that help advertisers define the value of a mobile click.
- Microsoft will purchase a large mobile-device manufacturer. Look for Microsoft to spend a pretty penny for Nokia or RIM or a similar company to compete with Google and provide a showcase for its Windows 8 operating system.
- E-wallets will wow consumers, but fail to persuade them. For many people, carrying credit-card information in their phone—no matter the benefits—just doesn’t feel safe. It will take time for consumers to get used to leaving their wallet at home.
- Tablets will gain the respect they deserve. As a spate of inexpensive tablet devices floods the marketplace, expect this shift to cannibalize mobile search traffic and pressure companies to design websites for tablets.
For more on what’s in store for mobile in 2012, take a look at my article “The Mobile Revolution is Here ” in today’s edition of MediaPost’s Online Media Daily.