Mobile phones or smartphones have gained quite the attention for several years now. They offer convenience and technology at the palm of the user’s hand. The growing functionality of smartphones has also made it a formidable industry not just in tech but also in mobile marketing.
Ericsson’s latest Interim Mobility Report reveals the direction the future of mobile is taking. According to the interim update last August 2014, among the 6.8 billion mobile subscribers around the world, the use of data has grown 60% from the second quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of the current year. The previous full report from June 2014 also reveals that video is the largest segment of this mobile data traffic, and it is expected to take 50% share of mobile traffic by 2019.
The data from Ericsson’s Mobility Report shows clearly that the paradigm of mobile is changing. It isn’t just a device for communication anymore, and while it will be a largely media-centric device in the next five years, there’s more to the story. What can you expect in the future of mobile?
Mobile Takes Priority Over Desktop
In the Moz blog “Why Mobile Matters Now,” Dr. Peter J. Meyers quoted Google’s lead designer for Google Search Jon Wiley on a Google+ post from March of this year that reveals the future of mobile search as taking a mobile-first approach. Wiley said, “Towards the end of last year we launched some pretty big design improvements for Search on mobile and tablet devices (mobile first! :-). Today we’ve carried over several of those changes to the desktop experience.”
Meyers points out that for the longest time, many thought the natural flow was that mobile would take after and adjust to the aspects of desktop, especially in search. This statement from Wiley shows that mobile has already taken priority over desktop, and Google seems to be set on keeping it that way in the future.
Personalized and Improved Mobile Marketing
Steve Olenski recently published a piece on Forbes about the future of mobile marketing and the retail shopping experience. In the piece, he interviewed Josh Marti, CEO and co-founder of Point Inside, who echoed the sentiments of other SEO experts when it comes to the future of mobile, particularly in retail and shopping.
According to Marti, the future is “personalization, increased engagement, improved customer service and more informed retailers.” All of these are already being observed by SEO practitioners today, but what will be given emphasis in the following years is the integration of smartphones into the selection and buying process.
Another thing pointed out by Marti is the increasing use of retailers of the shopper’s location. Marti points out that while this is currently in the early stages, many retailers are already looking to see how they can use location technologies to drive sales. This is in line with KaiserTheSage founder Jason Acidre’s statement that “mobile search may display listings that are based on the searcher’s location.”
Predictive Search as the Standard
When you look at what influential SEO experts say about the future of mobile search and marketing, you will find many of them talking about the evolution of search on Google and how features like Google Now and Siri point towards predictive search as the future of mobile search.
Gary Viray, co-founder and CEO of Search Opt Media, wrote an article picking thoughts of industry influencers, asking about the future of mobile search and, if ever, what it means for SEO. According to the article, mobile search optimization will require focus on long-tail keyword and conversational search optimization. You will also have to ensure strong local optimization, establishing local presence on Google Maps and Local. Optimizing for predictive search will come in handy especially with the next item on this list.
Targeted Search Segmentation as a Requirement
Just because mobile is becoming the priority over desktop doesn’t mean you won’t need to segment your audience between desktop and mobile. Dan Shure, owner of and consultant for EvolvingSEO.com, notes that people surprisingly do not segment their market strictly to mobile and tablets only.
“[There’s] a lot of insight you can get from this basic segmentation,” he writes. “For instance, you can then sort landing pages bypage load time, and find the slowest pages on mobile devices. Then fix whatever is causing the slow load time for those pages. He goes on to discuss how basic segmentation can also give you insight on page bounce rates.
Shure does, however, indicate to do the segmentation for search traffic only, as a way to see what Google sees on mobile search.
Wearable Tech is the Future
Going back to the Moz feature, Meyers points out that wearable tech is the future of mobile. He demonstrates this with a simple line diagram, showing where your mind is compared to wearable tech like fitness bands, smartwatches, and Google Glass. He writes, “I expect solid smartwatch adoption over the next 3-5 years, and with it a new form of browsing and a new style of search.”
“The natural interplay of smartwatches and smartphones (Android Wear already connects smartwatches to Android-powered phones, as does Google Glass) will make the mobile scene even more rich and complex,” Meyers predicts.
Participants of this year’s MobileTECH 2014 event in Australia agree with this. Their post-event feature writes, “The next step in mobile technologies for industry is through context and wearables. It’s about providing access to the right information at the right time and place by combining rich context and real-time data.”
Mobile as More Than Communication and Media Devices
You’ve probably heard of the term “the Internet of Things” – wireless machine to machine (M2M) connectivity. Wearable tech is just the beginning of this – according to Mobile Future, an organization of technology and communications companies and non-profit organizations in the US, you can expect over 10 billion mobile devices connected, and the wireless M2M market is expected to reach $136 billion by 2018.
Mobile Future explains that this is more than just about connecting things. The “Internet of Things” is expected to improve lives of people. Their view involves using mobile as a driving economic force as well as a way of improving the quality of lives of people. Some examples they gave are using connected medical tablets and wired first respondent tools.
As the years progress, you can expect mobile devices to be much more than communication and media tools. These predictions from experts show that the general direction mobile is taking is towards becoming less of a simple device and more of a complex extension of each user.