“Great Scott it’s a tiny super computer that must allow astrophysicists to triangulate complex equations!” 

When Doc Brown appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live back in October to celebrate the anniversary of ‘that date’ from Back to the Future 2, his surmise on the smartphone was pretty accurate.

However what ‘The Doc’ didn’t know was that this ‘tiny super computer’ we all carry wasn’t actually being used to solve any laws of physics, but more to watch TV clips while on the toilet or document our lives through endless selfies.

I haven’t been lucky enough yet to hitch a ride in the DeLorean to see how mobile has evolved for us as marketeers in 2016, so here are some predictions on what to expect from mobile this year:

Mobile Domination

2015 was the first year that mobile traffic overtook desktop in 10 different countries including Ireland. So expect this trend to continue. Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ algorithm update punished sites that were not mobile optimised, and according to Google a mobile-only site without desktop is totally acceptable. This clearly shows where Google are going and if you’re ecommerce focused, make sure the path to purchase on mobile is a smooth one.

Digital Assistant

The development updates to SIRI and the introduction of Google Now and Cortana could reset SEO strategies in late 2016. Voice command search requests on mobile could mean web platform content being optimised to manage conversational commands. Depending on what industry you’re in, this development could open up another traffic source. How digital assistants will affect SEO longterm is anyone’s guess, so for now cover as much ground as possible with great diverse content. 

mPayments

With predictions that mobile commerce revenue will drive more than 50% of overall digital commerce revenue by 2017, we can expect the flurry of mPayment opportunities to increase. Braintree, a global payment platform, serviced $4bn worth of mobile transactions this year - that’s 1/3 of its processing and growing. Native payment systems (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay etc) have also gained traction in 2015, a trend that’s not declining any time soon.

Social Media

With each social media platform innovating every few months, as marketeers it’s important to understand the commercial implications of these updates. 

  • Buy buttons: soon to be live across both Facebook and Pinterest, expect this to affect consumer buying habits over time and consider the delivery of loyalty programmes through your social media channels.
  • Exclusive disposable content: with the rise of Snapchat & Periscope, expect the younger audience to buy into real life, real time content that expires. Millenials will buy into this marketing model as their attention spans continue to decrease.
  • Inside the app: articles, videos and even websites will all be viewed from within the app. Social media platforms are gearing up to be a one stop shop. 

A commercialised view of mobile consumer experience

With mobile user journeys now being optimised via UX, deep-linking in mobile applications, via device-native tools, digital assistants and mPayments, we can finally have a 360‎° customer view and brands can start to close the loop on mobile.

The data generated from this evolving ecosystem will bring brands further into line, in terms of creating a true omnichannel experience for their customers. This in turn will allow marketing automation through self-service and assisted service to be highly personalised and hyper relevant.

2016 will be a pivotal year for brands and mobile, because the past 12 months have seen all parties - publishers, search engines, social platforms and the smartphone manufacturer - move with the customer and their demand for a seamless more efficient mobile experience. 

Accordingly, we’re about to see mobile take its seat at the centre of what technology has been promising for the past 10 years - the true mobile-first experience. 

Though I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for a proper hoverboard.

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