In the past year, mobile developments have led to the adoption of the Twitter and Facebook "buy" button in limited areas, the rollout of Apple Pay, lackluster Samsung earnings, and the recent announcement of Xiaomi's growing dominance in China.
By 2018, nearly half the world is expected to have Internet access, with the largest increases anticipated to take place in emerging markets. That increase is caused in large part to initiatives such as Facebook's Internet.org and significant investments being made in infrastructure to establish connectivity in global markets Africa and India, with a majority of connections taking place on mobile.
Moreover, GSMA predicts that by year's end, global connections will reach 7.2 billion (equal to that of the global population total projected by the United Nations).
We are living in a mobile-first world, continuing to drive brands not only to evolve with the rapidly expanding mobile landscape but compelling brands to capitalize on new opportunities and capture the attention of the next five billion consumers in developing nations.
Following are three global mobile marketing trends that we can expect to see in 2015.
- Increase in localized content and network. Consumers in developing nations have trouble accessing localized content, as shown in Upstream's "2014 The Next Mobile Frontier Report" (email required) with 20% of consumers in emerging market nations, such as Nigeria, Brazil, China, India, and Vietnam indicating content not presented in the local language as a barrier to entry.
For purposes of purchasing mobile apps, and accessing content such as news and health services, localization is of great importance. As consumers are increasingly looking to access different types of content, taking a localized approach will be crucial to refocusing efforts to grow on mobile in non-Western markets. This will include addressing specific language obstacles, network speeds, and the varying content desires that exist.
- Brands reaching consumers via the mobile ads. Facebook's advertising revenue in the third quarter jumped 64% to $2.96 billion—two-thirds of that from mobile alone. There is no greater indication that the power of mobile for brands is bigger than ever.
As more consumers enter the mobile space, reaching and targeting them is increasingly vital, and Facebook has risen to the challenge to provide an outlet to do so. Facebook's approach to emerging market advertising is also a win for brands. Facebook's new mobile advertising strategy bypasses current technological infrastructure issues in emerging markets—namely network speeds—and instead formats ads as missed calls, so consumers' interest with the ad is relayed back to the advertiser. The advertiser then can call the user back and deliver the information audibly.
Facebook is paying heed to the intricacies of advertising methodology in the mobile sphere, and the company is the first step in completely transforming the mobile-ad experience.
- Localized payment methods, such as Apple Pay, with service provider partnerships. Payment structures should not pose an obstacle to consumers. As revealed in Upstream's "2014 The Next Mobile Frontier Report," 44% of Nigerian consumers indicate that the preferred way to purchase content is through their mobile operator. In accordance with the need for localized content, localizing payment methods is vital.
Moreover, more than one in five (21%) consumers in developing nations do not have access to credit or banking facilities, making a typical credit card payment service like Apple Pay ineffective. In those nations, Apple Pay cannot be unveiled universally but on a case-by-case basis. Across Nigeria, Brazil, India, China, and Vietnam, 19% of consumers say they would like to purchase mobile content using a credit card and 10% via a debit card. There will need to be more collaboration with local operators with whom consumers have clearly indicated their intent to purchase.
More than three quarters of the world's mobile phones are located in emerging markets, and that figure is only growing, meaning developing nations are home to the largest mobile growth worldwide.