Mobile Marketing Association comes to Toronto, provides insights into the guessing game ahead

The Mobile Marketing Association came to Toronto Monday Morning for a half day conference at the Ontario College of Art and Design.

The North American Managing Director of the Mobile Marketing Association, Michael Becker, led off the conference saying that the number of app downloads had doubled from 9.5 billion app downloads to a projected 18.1 billion app downloads, and that 33 billion app downloads were projected by 2014.

Among other hot mobile trends introduced were GPS, location, proximity, NFC, QR Codes and RFID, which surprisingly weren’t talked about much as some companies have built apps and gone into mobile display and search advertising but not most haven’t ventured into the quickly emerging mobile media frontier yet, which I learned last Tuesday goes well beyond the latter technologies, but I’ll continue to recap the Monday Morning conference.

However, user experience was mentioned as paramount, and that’s something one must consider with new hot trends as well.

Becker said that mobile was merging traditional marketing with digital- that mobile marketing was a set of practices that enable organizations to communicate and engage their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device.

That was of course, if brands had a mobile strategy at all yet in place, to which the Mobile Marketing Association referred to the Mobile Scorecard for a starting point.

Transcontinental Media’s Vice President of Mobile, Brady Murphy said that companies should talk about all aspects of mobile and that they must go through a discovery period, and even said that at a conference in New York last week that someone he talked to was getting 10% of traffic from mobile.

While the learning curve in mobile can be steep, especially for marketers as they don’t usually have a technological background, there were still great examples that came out of the conference from Plastic Mobile’s Pizza Pizza app to the Cineplex/Famous Players SCENE rewards card.

The Webby award winning Pizza Pizza app from Plastic Mobile was said to have hit the targeted percentage of overall business and of digital online orders in five weeks.

SCENE’s reward card program went from 1.7 million e-mails, 48,000 Facebook fans and 3,000 SMS subscribers to 2.2 million e-mails, 150,000 Facebook fans and 58,000 SMS subscribers from June 2010 to June 2011.

Still, Mediative, a Yellow Pages Group Co. stressed: “Avoid the silo approach and leverage mobile devices as a lead nurturing advertising channel”.

While mobile display and search advertising networks have been popular, 25% could recall if it were on a smartphone versus 3% on a normal cellphone, the click thru rates were still about 0.50 % to 0.75%, similar to online search and display advertising’s click through rates.

Another study by comScore done in March 2011 suggested that 32% of subscribers to a web or app ad recalled seeing one everyday, 27% once each week, and 41% once to three times throughout the month. Males were more likely to remember, with 62% recalling vs. 38% of women, and those aged 18-44 recalled most of the ads, as the numbers dropped off significantly for those 13-17 and 45 and above.

Further Mobile Numbers

Michael Becker also gave some great statistics, saying that 1 in 3 searches had local intent, 54% of retailers were using mobile coupons, four out of five consumers wanted to use their smartphone as a wallet, and that mobile commerce was predicted to generate 119 billion by 2015 annually.

Patrick Walshe of Walshe Works continued with statistics of his own, saying that 43% of mobile users use their smartphones for product reviews, 49% for price information and 63% for location finding, up from 28%, 29% and 46% a year ago.

Then Bryan Segal of comScore released his Mobile State of the Nation Canada Edition Numbers for June 2011, saying that smartphone penetration was 37% across British Columbia and the Prairies, 36% in Ontario, 28% in Atlantic Canada and only 20% in Quebec. Smartphone penetration by March 2011 was 33% in Canada, putting us 4th in the world behind the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.

As for carriers, Rogers led the way with 27% market share, followed by Telus at 24%, Bell at 20%, Fido at 8%, Virgin at 6% and Koodoo at 4%.

The most popular device brand was Samsung at 26%, followed by LG at 19%, RIM at 14%, Nokia at 11%, Motorola at 10%, Apple at 10%, Sony Ericsson at 3% and the HTC at 2%, although those numbers could change quickly as smartphone adoption continues to rise.

The young were far more likely to purchase a smartphone than a feature phone, and that in the last 2-12 months people had purchased more smartphones than in the same periods in 2010 and 2009, so we’ve begun to see a rising trend there. Device satisfaction was also 44% for those who had purchased a smartphone in the last month versus 27% across the board.

When people browse the web with their mobile devices, people most often used search at 53%, followed by social networking, personal e-mail, news, weather, instant messaging, entertainment news, sports information, general reference, maps, photo or video sharing service, work email via browser, movie information, tech news and stock quote or financial news.

From December 2009 to December 2010, every mobile category from social networking, classifieds, online retail, general reference, maps, shopping guides, restaurant info, weather, auction sites, and personal e-mail all experienced at least a 39% gain with social networking and online retail leading the way with 56% and 53% gains respectively.

While there is much more research to consider, especially in the area of new emerging mobile technologies, it would appear that mobile is endlessly growing and needs to become part of an organization’s marketing strategy.

There’s just now more to consider when implementing it all, not to mention that there’s been over 3 million tablets sold in Canada.

You’ll have to be good at predicting what’s going to happen, as there’s a longer delay in this country when it comes to research numbers, although many insiders suggest that Android devices will further penetrate the smartphone and tablet markets, as they were just at 12% in March 2011 here in Canada, as US numbers have been reported as much higher, not to mention the impact that invasive mobile media technologies are already having.

To put it lightly, the MMA really left a lot of the bit to be chomped on, but be wise, as mobile is growing at an unprecedented pace, faster than you might anticipate.