MMA’s Top Mobile Trends Of 2015

The mobile year in review — and what it means for marketers as we head into 2016.

Mobile works best when it is truly immersive and interactive — that’s the conclusion of the Mobile Marketing Association in its 2015 mobile marketing trend report, which analyzed the success of campaigns considered for the trade organization’s Smarties and Cannes Mobile Lions awards.

Mobile ads were hardly a new phenomenon in 2015, but this was the year that many major retailers began a true exploration of mobile ad targeting beyond its basic functions — using geo-behavioral data to interact with consumers more personally rather than simply delivering information based on real-time geo-fences, for example.

In the era of the “uberfication” of everything, that type of customization matters majorly to in-store sales, MMA says. Below, five key mobile trends from 2015 as identified by the association — and what they mean as we head into 2016.

  • Campaigns should utilize mobile to deepen the personal relationship with the audience: Deepening relationships was at the core of successful campaigns this year, MMA reports. Brands can embrace this interactivity by offering more personalized two-way communication — or offering gratification (rewards or offers, potentially) that comes in real time. Location or personal context is also important, especially when approached in a unique way: Purina, for example, created an app that generated geo-targeted instant lost dog alerts to reunite dog owners and their lost companions. This helped to reposition the brand and boost sales — and bring home some canine cuties in the process.
  • Interactivity and co-creation has become super-charged by social: When marketers encourage audience participation and sharing, consumers become part of the medium, MMA writes. One huge example of viral social success was this year’s much-discussed ALS Association “Ice Bucket Challenge.” The videos were watched (and frequently shared) by 440 million people, resulting in over $100 million dollars in donations. Sure, that was a charity effort — but brands can think the same way when it comes to self-promotion.
  • Even the most creative mobile execution must be supported by other channels: “Omnichannel” may be on its last legs as a buzzword, but the idea is here to stay. Much has been made of “cross-screen consumers,” and it’s because that’s the reality: Shoppers might do research on tablet, circle back at their office on desktop, and then bring their smartphones to the store for product information and price comparisons. Retailers this year rushed to connect these touch points — and this strategy will be crucial heading into 2016 as well.
  • Virtual/augmented reality is coming of age: If you’re not bored of talking about virtual reality already, you probably will be soon. 2016 is already being touted as the year of VR, but a few brands got a jump on the trend earlier this year. Volvo, for example, created a virtual reality test drive using Google Cardboard, letting users experience the XC90 before seeing it in the showroom.
  • The beginning of the Internet of Things as a true marketing opportunity: IoT is emerging as a means to tangibly tie mobile marketing to brand purpose, MMA concludes. 2015 was, of course, the year of the Apple Watch launch, and other connected devices like Fitbit continued their popularity. Was all the chatter a springboard to bigger things in 2016? We’re about to find out.
About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.