I attended the Forum back in 2007 and again this year. Oh, what a difference two years makes. Back then, the iPhone was only a few months old. Android phones weren't even on the market. Carriers controlled the majority of subscriber's web experiences; "on-deck" and "off-deck" were the buzz words of the day. Fast forward to present day and here's what we have now:
- 100,000 apps in the iPhone app store with a total of 2 billion downloads
- For the first time in this year, the total number of text messages sent exceeded the number of voice calls placed.
- The average age of "texters" is 38-years old.
- Mobile phones outnumber PCs by 4 to 1 worldwide with 6.8B people, 4B mobile phones, 1.4B TVs, and 1B PCs
- Mobile adoption is no longer the domain of the affluent. Of the 4.1B mobile subscribers, 70% of them live in so-called "developing nations".
- An extra ten phones per 100 people in a typical developing country boosts GDP growth by 0.8 percentage points. (The Economist, November 2009 issue)
- There are >4.1B text msg sent in the US every day compared to 304M Google searches in the US every day
- The mobile phone has become the convergence of many consumer devices. Quick question: who is world's largest manufacturer of digital cameras by total units sold? Who is the world's largest manufacturer of MP3 players by total units sold. Answer: Nokia on both counts.
- There are seven Mass Media Channels defined as: Print, Recordings, Cinema, Radio, TV, Internet, Mobile. The mobile device has become a single device that can consume all 7 channels of mass media.
- Thanks to the precedence set by the iPhone, carriers' roles are changing from media empire to ecosystem enablers.
- Revenue from voice has been consistently falling over the past 7 years while revenue from data has been consistenly rising over the same time period.
- The Kelsey Group projects that total US spend on mobile search will grow from $162M 2009 to $2.3B by 2013. 50% of US mobile search ad revenue is local search.
- Monthly searches per user are ~20% greater for mobile local search vs. online local search. Call through rates are 30x greater.
- For many people across the world, the mobile device is the only way to access the Internet. By 2020, it will become the #1 access point to the Internet worldwide.
So what's still next for mobile marketers?
- Mobile marketing works best when integrated with other media channels. But how to tie all channels together with integrated consistency? It's still too fragmented; it's difficult to communicate the value of mobile advertising; metrics have to be understandable.
- As mobile marketing becomes more mature and marketers become more sophisticated, the need to have independently verified measurements becomes greater.
...and it wouldn't be a gathering of mobile marketers without a dig at carriers for continuing to make the SMS campaign provisioning process unnecessarily painful.
So was 2009 the Year of Mobile Marketing? Only time will tell. But from what we discussed this time around at the 2009 Forum, mobile marketing is certainly one of the fastest growing channels worldwide.