what changes this holiday season for mobile marketers?

What Changes This Holiday Season For Mobile Marketers?

Mobile marketing is innovating at such a rapid pace that a review of last year’s holiday programs is informative, but not the basis of a playbook for 2015.

Why?

New technologies and shifts to consumer behavior have to be factored in as we near the all-important selling season.

Here are three areas to keep an eye on:

Beacons

Beacons received the most attention in 2014, even though retailers deploying the small transmitters to enable engagement mobile users viewed the effort as a test.

Businesses like Lord & Taylor could point to success in reaching mobile device owners in the moment, and ultimately moving product.

In 2015, marketers are looking beyond immediate sales and for beacons to be a source of data collection that eMarketer called “the real-world equivalent to web analytics”.

“With smartphones and wearables, we’re turning the physical world into a real-time digital world, and we’re going to be able to track the physical world just like we’re able to track the digital world, with beacons as a proxy to help understand what consumers are doing, where they’re going and what type of messages are creating action just like we do online,” Jeff Malmad, Managing Director and Head of Mobile and Life+ at Mindshare North America, told eMarketer.

That is in line with what we know is true with mobile marketing automation – the use of analytics lead to more personalized and valued experiences for brands and for the mobile users who they are trying to reach.

An Earlier Start To Holiday Buying

The majority of people surveyed had completed most of their holiday shopping last year by October, according to research by Oracle Marketing Cloud and Edison Research. In fact, individual spending in October outpaced that in December by nearly $900.

With pumpkin lattes on sale the day after Labor Day and holiday decorations available in many places, the belief that we will see an even faster start this year is strong.

And we surely will see more mobile activity. In polling by Signal, more than two-thirds of U.S. adult Web users planned to research purchases more frequently via smartphones and tablets this holiday season than they did last year. Six of 10 respondents intended to increase mobile holiday buying activity.

Even the prime shopping times are expected to shift.

During most of the year, Thursday is the peak purchasing day for Facebook advertisers, but during the holiday season Saturday and Sunday are the busiest shopping days.

Apple Watch

There were wearables in market in 2014 (Fitbit, for one, was extremely popular), but this will be the first holiday season that some will be shopping with an Apple Watch on their wrists.

We previously talked about the initial rollout in the spring and expected improvements to the user experience with the release of WatchOS2 this month. The big change will be that developers will be able to create native apps that are powered by the Apple Watch instead of the iPhone. This is widely expected to significantly improve performance and satisfaction.

Just as important is a significant upgrade in analytics.

At FollowAnalytics, we have developed the only analytics solution that tracks every interaction on the Apple Watch natively.

Not only will marketers and devs get analytics on all custom events for Apple Watch apps, they will be able to see how users are interacting with an app on the iPhone vs. the Apple Watch. Combined with backend CRM data, marketers will have a robust understanding of their users and their behaviors.

As a result, businesses using the platform will be able to use contextual data to segment and personalize the way they engage users.

For the holidays, it is ultra important to send notifications to the watch only if there a solid use case. Consumers are hit with so many communications in November and December that anything other than a message with value will be viewed as an intrusion. That is not the takeaway that you want.

It will also be interesting to see how many Apple Watch wearers use Apple Pay. The feature is one of the best on the wearable and has the potential to speed up checkout lines and make the experience better for all around.

It all means that we need to be on our toes during these busiest of times.