Facebook and its big step in mobile marketing

The year 2012 was a mobile year when the advertisements through mobiles crossed a mark of $6,525 million worldwide. Moreover, the increasing use of smart phone is enabling the users stay connected via mobile internet all the time (Cengiz Yilmaz, Varnali, & Toker, 2011).

Today consumers are not hooked to television screen especially when one sees an advertisement they either flicker the channel or shift their attention to a tablet or mobile device. This shift in the paradigm has caused changes in habits of media consumption and thus advertisers are required to consider mobile phones playing a significant role. Consumers with smart phones find themselves using mobiles to educate themselves on different products and thus, mobile marketing can be a great way to engage the audience with a brand (Stuart & Palmieri, 2012).

Reaching a customer on a mobile phone

Mobile is a channel of communication which has delivered great results. Mobile marketing has observed to create a positive impact on the Return on Investments over marketing for several companies and thus, it has become an inseparable part of the marketing mix today. Mobile devices are no more just a medium to contact someone but their significance in the life of consumer has become more prominent with mobile applications offering facilities such as alarms, watches, news, games, songs, videos and many more (Stuart & Palmieri, 2012).

Mobile marketing can take many shapes and a brand can reach on to consumer via this channel in different ways such as mobile applications, image ads, search ads, QR codes, local ads and the traditional SMS route.

Facebook and its advertisers

“Mobile is not just a fundamental change in marketing – it’s a fundamental change in the way we do business.” says the Carolyn Everson, the VP, Global Marketing Solutions of Facebook. Facebook’s recent acquisition of Whatspp for $19 billion was a significant move in the direction of mobile marketing in addition to the already running and widely used Facebook mobile application on smart phones. Whatspp, which started only in 2009 was claiming over 500 million active users per month by mid of 2014 and these users were observed to share over 10 billion messages, 700 millions images, and 100 million videos every day (Chowdhry, 2014).

Facebook was nowhere in the mobile space till 2012 but by 2013 itself, it had taken more than 16% of the mobile display ad marketing. Strategies that are being followed by Facebook on this front were addition of video advertisements in mobile newsfeed, modification of mobile page layout, improvement in mobile user experience, adding of search feature, rebuilding of mobile apps, etc. (Tode, 2013; Sterling, 2013).

This turnaround of the company could be attributed to the ‘mobile first’ Marketing strategy adopted by Facebook in 2012. Facebook was a late adopter of mobile marketing in the world where most consumers were already using smart phones but the move paid off well and since the adoption of new strategy, Facebook has grown its revenue in such a way that by 2013, 41% of the Ad revenue of Facebook was coming from mobiles (Brandon Bailey, 2013).

The ‘Mobile first’ strategy of Facebook has significantly changed the way Facebook is seen on mobile. While earlier the advertisements were shown below the posts, the placement has shifted to the news feed section with an advertisement appearing on screen after a few posts. This move however, was not welcomed initially as the ads posts were too frequent which reduced satisfaction of customers. To this, Facebook responded with decrease in the frequency of ads to one newsfeed ad after every 20 posts(Brandon Bailey, 2013).

For strengthening its mobile presence, Facebook has also purchased several promising standalone apps other than the much talked about Whatsapp. These include Instagram, one-two punch messenger and the paper app(Knibbs, 2014).

Future of business on the go

It is not just the Facebook but more giant organizations like Google, Pandora, Amazon are now focussing on mobile marketing because of the business advantages coming from significant level of consumer engagement with brands through mobile.

Experts have forecasted a huge increase in mobile marketing expenses and consumer engagement with brands through mobile. It is predicted that the revenue from mobile advertisement would grow to $24.5 billion by 2016 (Foong, 2014). Some observations strengthening these beliefs can be the user engagement statistics like:

  • 40% of buyers use QR code scanning before purchase.
  • 57% of the users do not recommend brands if their mobile website is not good.
  • SMS coupons are forwarded by users more than 8 times of the coupons received via emails.
  • USA alone is expected to earn a whooping $400 billion from Mobile marketing by 2015.

There is no doubt that the mobile marketing is going to see a huge surge with more and more companies adopting the platform for their product promotions as well as more consumers engaging with brands over this media. 

References

Abhinash Jena

Partner at Project Guru
Abhinash has worked in sales, branding, and marketing functions for GPS companies including MapmyIndia Navigators (www.MapmyIndia.com). In addition to writing for Knowledge Tank articles, he also writes the expert's advice for Thesis & Dissertations and Power Designs.

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