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Navigating a new path to purchase

By
November 10, 2015

Elizabeth Jackson is chief marketing officer and executive vice president of corporate strategy at HookLogic

Elizabeth Jackson is chief marketing officer and executive vice president of corporate strategy at HookLogic

By Elizabeth Jackson

Whether it is to communicate, browse or shop, mobile is now ingrained in our way of life.

Mobile devices used before or during shopping trips influenced almost $2 trillion in 2014, per eMarketer. In the first quarter, mobile usage accounted for 29 percent of retail ecommerce transactions in the United States, up 10 percent in just three months, according to Criteo.

The role of mobile devices in the path to purchase has fundamentally changed how shoppers are using their mobile devices, both at the beginning of their purchase funnel and for research, and even while consumers are inside of a bricks-and-mortar store.

As we look towards 2016 and think about how brand marketers can drive sales both online and offline, here are three mobile predictions that are key to a successful digital advertising campaign.

Mobile touches, and dominates all
Mobile should be central to a brand’s digital and commerce strategy.

Mobile now dominates desktop, in virtually every way – usage, traffic and conversion.

Globally, smartphone shipments tripled from 2010 to 2013 and the number of global smartphones users will surpass 2 billion by 2016, according to eMarketer.

With the increase in mobile usage, marketers no longer need to run mobile campaigns, but instead ensure mobile is integrated as part of the overall digital advertising campaign.

Especially as we inch closer to the holiday season, mobile will play a critical role in how consumers shop this year.

Last year, we reported that approximately 31 percent of ecommerce searches occurred via mobile Web on smartphones. This year, it is expected to be more than 50 percent.

Mobile’s effect on purchasing increases
It is becoming more common to see shoppers walking down the aisle of their favorite retailer with their phone in hand, eagerly searching for more information or a better deal at a competing store.

Showrooming and webrooming are the norm, as shoppers use mobile throughout their purchase path.

Interestingly, the United Kingdom and Japan are ahead of the U.S. in terms of how they shop on their mobile devices.

In the U.K., mobile attributes to 43 percent of online sales, per Criteo.

With Japan leading as the digital frontrunner, the first quarter marked the first time that the mobile share of ecommerce transactions was more than 50 percent, and 90 percent of those were on a smartphone.

Although mobile’s influence on offline purchases is real and quite significant, attribution measurement is still something the digital marketing industry will need to improve upon.

This will be a key focus for data companies to provide the linkage from online to offline in 2016.

Future of mobile is native
Budgets will no longer be broken out by desktop versus mobile. Rather, all advertising will be mobile-centric.

The projected mobile search spend in 2018 will be at a staggering 83 percent, according to Marketing Land, and based on the trends we have seen so far, after this year mobile and digital will be synonymous.

The key to successful mobile advertising is to be integrated and welcomed into the consumer’s shopping experience rather than intrusive and distracting.

As an example site adapting to this shift, Yelp no longer offers display ads.

Native ads, on the other hand, are targeted, relevant and seamless to the experience.

Product listing ads are one type of native ad format that retailers now leverage.

Amazon offers sponsored product ads directly. Other retailers such as Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Best Buy and Kohl’s also offer sponsored product ads to brand advertisers who want to promote their products across all devices.

Simply stated, the future of mobile is native.

AS MOBILE USE and mobile ad spend continue to grow, 2016 will be the year that brand marketers embrace the new path to purchase which is mobile centric.

That means shifting the mindset from mobile as a separate strategy, to mobile as the central strategy.

It is key for brands to understand how consumers engage with their product content throughout the full purchase funnel and for a larger portion of their ad spend to be put toward media in native formats.

This will not only encourage a seamless path to purchase, but will foster an environment that is conducive for brands and retailers to exceed their sales goals.

Elizabeth Jackson is chief marketing officer and executive vice president of corporate strategy at HookLogic, New York. Reach her at elizabeth.jackson@hooklogic.com.

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