Mobile Marketing in 2013: Predictions From the Crystal Ball (App, of Course)

Smartphones have gone mainstream over the past few years and the mobile space has really grown. 2012 was a strong year for mobile marketing, with many big companies finally throwing their hat into the ring and starting to experiment with how to leverage mobile for themselves and for their consumers.

We’ve seen many different trends come and go as the space has grown and  better defined itself.  I think we will continue to see that happen in 2013, with the space maturing. Here are a few things that I think we will see in the mobile space this year.

Marketers, Not Programmers, Making Apps

Mobile marketing is going to be huge in 2013. The smartphone is the perfect place to engage with users and marketers are finally starting to realize this.

This year there will be a large number of marketers behind the apps, finally realizing the untapped potential that lies within the smartphone users’ hand. Marketers will tailor a mobile experience for users that helps increase engagement while not being overly ‘salesy’. eMarketer conducted a study that found consumers now spend 12 percent of their media time on smartphones, compared to 3 percent in 2009.

Having a sound mobile strategy is an integral component of a company’s overall marketing focus. A Stanford study found 75 percent of iPhone users take their phones to bed with them, leaving marketers with an opportunity to intimately engage and nurture their customers. Because these marketers aren’t as technical as the programmers and developers that lead the first wave of the AppStore gold rush my next prediction is…

HTML5 Makes A Comeback

Many people thought that HTML5 as a development platform was gone, especially after Mark Zuckerburg declared that it was such a mistake for Facebook to go that route in developing their iOS and Android apps. However, HTML5 support on smartphones has matured, and with more “non-technical’ people developing apps, I think we will see a resurgence in cross platform apps built on HTML5 with Native App wrappers. This will empower designers and marketers to make a lasting impression with their consumers without the need to have a full-blown development staff or the need to outsource the development of a native app.

Mobile Coupons Make A Splash

Mobile coupons certainly aren’t new and have seen some decent adoption rates over the last few years. However, in 2013, I think we will see the use of mobile coupons soar. Using geotargeting and near-field communctions (NFC), marketers will likely target the over 3.3 billion coupons that are redeemed throughout the year.

Brand marketers once again have a wonderful opportunity to inject their brand into an engaged user experience. Retailers will likely be the first ones to adopt mobile coupons, including these coupons in their own branded applications; but I don’t think manufacturer’s coupons will be too far behind. This could represent itself through a manufacturer branded app or a collaborative app, much like the ‘all-coupons-in-one-place’ Sunday circulars. It will be an interesting space to watch.

Location Based Mobile Marketing Continues To Grow

We all are encouraged to Yelp, foursquare, Tweet or Like almost any business we visit now. This trend only continues in 2013, with businesses and marketers better using location aware apps and data to create and engage users in a meaningful way. The businesses who get the most out of this data and create a real relationship with their users are likely to be the big winners in 2013.

What are your mobile predictions for 2013?