The digital marketing channel - and particularly the mobile side of it - changes at lightning speed these days, evidenced by the rapid progression of retail and marketing technologies onto mobile devices to align with consumers' increasingly mobile lifestyles, according to mobile advertising firm Widespace which here highlights the eight key factors that will shape the mobile marketing landscape in 2015. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

When Apple launched the iPhone it was a device that changed the world forever. And the mobile networks have grown through ever-faster data technologies, while tablet devices have grabbed themselves a huge share of the home and work computing markets.

"We can see some clear concepts that we believe will be realised in 2015, but the one that outshines them all is probably this: most people's top-of-mind screens and contact surfaces will be mobile devices," said Joy Dean, head of partnerships for Widespace. "Consequently, a greater investment will be made in them for everything from advertising to marketing, sales, and business development."

The company's list of eight factors that are most likely to steer the development of the mobile channel are as follows:

  1. Engaging
    Brands that seek dialogue and want to learn from their customers will become tomorrow's winners. A mobile device is a personal channel - something that marketers should leverage. Campaigns next year will be even more entertaining and emotional - and not only in terms of humour, as storytelling and drama already increased steadily in 2014. Advertisements with a personal appeal that trigger involvement will gain ground. Daring to cut back a bit on sales pitches in your communication - and instead crank up the emotional part - will definitely pack a brilliant campaign punch.
  2. Video, video, video
    As a follow up on the entertaining and engaging trend above, video plays a natural role in delivering on this advertising promise. Greater effort and resources will be put into creating snack-size video content, resulting in incremental advertising opportunities. Linear TV will continue to lose viewers, and as content consumption continues to shift to mobile platform, Widespace also predicts that TV will not be a consideration in the advertising mix when targeting younger audiences.
  3. Programmatic on a broader front
    The 2014 buzzwords were "programmatic selling" and "real-time bidding" (RTB). In Europe, the trend so far has been relatively low key. Basic technologies will now become more sophisticated - compared to automatic advertising deals based on parameters that advertisers and publishers set up. Earlier, publishers primarily used programmatic selling to get rid of unsold ad space. Now technology is gaining ground. Customised ad solutions that reach the right target groups will continue to be attractive - regardless of whether or not the purchase is automated. What can be automated will (eventually) be automated.
  4. Customer value
    Customer service has always been key to success, and companies now know more about their customers than ever before. Many customers are willing to share personal data in exchange for simplicity and better service. Build your customer value based on this knowledge. Help customers select the right products with messages and campaigns based on data rather than gut feelings. Understand the driving factors of the customer's decisions. Ratings, influencers as music stars, viral and more will give a hint on your product value.
  5. Cautious start with smart gadgets
    Gadgets certainly become more intelligent with each passing day but, seriously, how much fun is it to follow the washing machine's programmes in an app? It's not that smart toasters and refrigerators will be a trend to watch in 2015 (well, not for most marketers, anyway). But there will be continued strong trends for wearable technologies and 'gear'. Apple is definitely not the first to offer a smart watch, and not one of its precursors became a bestseller (not even the multi-platform friendly Pebble), but Apple is phenomenal when it comes to developing products that we didn't know we needed. So wearables will become a cautious challenger, not least within health and sports contexts. Apple will take a leading position.
  6. M-shopping
    Will 2015 be the year when consumers stop using wallets? Maybe not, but the smartphone will advance its position as a means of payment in 2015. Apple, Google, and Amazon drive this trend (along with exciting start-ups). This, in turn, forces card companies and banks to develop new services. Easier payment solutions will benefit traditional retail and particularly e- and m-commerce. Even today many e-tailers sell an increasing share of their products on their mobile sites and apps. Given that ads on mobile phones are currently becoming richer in content, it will soon be possible to sell products directly in the ad - without the customer having to click through to the store.
  7. Optimised geo-targeting
    Geographic location often steers advertising. It is a very powerful tool. Combined with other target group data it allows advertisers to become much more relevant and specific. Looking ahead, geo-data will be even more powerful and will increasingly be used to predict behaviours as well as creating new data models. Marketers already use geographic data both hyper-locally and broad-ranging, delivering the ability to reach certain groups of people across many markets. Additionally, in-store technologies like iBeacons will provide brands with more timely communication and tracking opportunities. Used correctly, they open up for possibilities to draw connections between mobile behaviour and actions in a physical store.
  8. More mature measurement
    Click-through rate is an imperfect measurement. More capital will be injected into mobile devices, and with that comes demand for better key performance indicators. The smartphone is one of the best branding channels - it is not just a conversion channel. The entire consumer journey occurs in the smartphone but the most common measurement focuses on the journey's last step.

"For a long time now, we've measured observation, purchase intent, and message - and we believe that there's still more to do - to be able to measure a campaign's value," concluded Dean. "New interaction methods with voice, among other things, provide additional opportunities. More models will emerge for following consumer interactions among media channels and consumer behaviour in the physical world. There will be more standards on definitions to support this development."