3 Ways to Grab an Early Piece of the $500 Billion Opportunity in Mobile Marketing

More than $500 billion in sales and nearly 20 percent of all in-store retail sales are now influenced by mobile content – and in 2016, that number is expected to jump to more than 50 percent, according to a study by Deloitte. This means that right now, almost half of a brand’s customers will soon be proverbially “up for grabs” to anyone with an effective mobile marketing strategy.

What’s more is that although consumers are spending just as much time on their mobile phones as they are watching TV, advertisers are spending only 4 percent of their advertising budgets on mobile (compared with 66 percent on TV). This means that advertisers are missing out on an incredible opportunity. Brands who so choose can effectively own the mobile marketing channel and a direct link to both their customers and all of their competitors’ customers.

Related: 5 Ways to Maximize Your Mobile Marketing Strategy

Even though it’s easier than ever for consumers to buy things through mobile devices and even with all of these staggering statistics, many companies have yet to take notice of the opportunity that mobile gives them. Companies that embrace mobile marketing will have the upper hand on their competitors. The time to act is now.

Starbucks, for example, has reaped the benefits of having an effective mobile strategy. Opting to go on the offensive while its competitors were not focused on mobile, Starbucks began capitalizing on its mobile-focused customer base. As a result, it gained upwards of 6 million transactions per week – all by simply making it easier and more enjoyable to shop at Starbucks.

Thanks to its investments, customers can now pay through their phones, never needing to take out their wallet to conduct a transaction. Starbucks anticipated the mobile opportunity long before its competition did and this proactive approach has given the company the equivalent of an added $30 million in business per year.

If Deloitte’s predictions are correct, nearly half of your brand’s customers will be willing and ready for mobile brand engagement. To capitalize on the opportunity at your fingertips, here are a few tips you can employ as you think about your mobile game plan:

1. Guard your mobile-influenced customers

To kick-start your mobile marketing program, start by paying close attention to your current customers. You can do this by utilizing technology (such as Vibes’ mobile customer-relationship-management platform Catapult) that tracks and monitors mobile customers and subscribers, so every customer interaction is personalized and relevant. You can also pinpoint the times that your customers are using mobile in their purchase process and begin providing them with relevant content.

Related: 4 Tips for Passing Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Test

Observe what people on their phones are looking for. Make sure your brand is providing it to them.

Start off with basics such as using push notification engagement or reminders about near-expiring coupons through your app when customers enter or are near your business. You can also leverage relevant, location-triggered messaging to target personalized content specific to the mobile-influenced audience.

2. Aggressively pursue your competitors’ mobile-influenced customers

If you aren’t leveraging the power of location-based notifications, it’s time to get started. If you are, you should be using it to give your competitor’s customers an offer they can’t refuse by linking a mobile advertisement that appears only for your competitors’ shoppers. Amazon is doing this today, and so should you. Take it a step further and only target your competitors’ highest value customers.

By leveraging a combination of targeted mobile advertising and a dynamic mobile wallet, you can find shoppers who should be your high-value customers. Once you have found and identified them, deliver mobile-web and mobile-wallet content to entice them to switch brands. Thanks to the inherent trackability of both mobile web and mobile wallet, you can watch them make the switch in real time. 

3. Become a mobile giant

Take things up a notch by coming at things from both ends. You can create a multi-channel campaign across email and SMS, for example, or solicit customers through personalized advertisements. You can also take your mobile content to the next level by crafting engaging mobile-wallet experiences, personalized for each customer. The key is to balance taking care of your own customers with taking advantage of opportunities to gain market share from your competitors. 

You can certainly choose to do nothing and completely opt out of having a mobile marketing strategy. However, you may find that you will need to implement a mobile marketing strategy in the future and it will end up costing you more.

There’s a huge mobile opportunity for marketers and there’s never been a better (or more important) time than now to make sure your brand is accelerating its investment in mobile.

Related: 10 Tweaks That Instantly Increase Mobile Conversion Rates


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Swrve Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Converser Extending Leadership in Mobile Marketing Automation

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Feb 26, 2015) – Swrve, the world leader in mobile marketing automation, announced today it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Converser, a mobile communication innovator, to provide sophisticated and personal communications for mobile marketers and strengthen its competitive advantage.

“Converser helps build out our vision: helping brands create perfect conversations with their users on the most personal channel there is — the smartphone,” said Swrve Chief Executive Officer Christopher S. Dean. “Converser’s interactive conversation functionality further extends our product, an open-platform that lets a brand easily integrate their other digital and real-world channels and initiatives with Swrve’s rich real-time segmentation and personalization.”

Last fall, Swrve announced it had increased annual revenues in the first half of 2014 by more than 250% and closed a $10M funding round to fuel expansion. The company also announced that more than 3 billion transactions take place on the Swrve platform every day. That number has recently grown to nearly 6 billion, doubling in under 6 months.

Converser technology will complement Swrve’s existing product, extending the campaign types available to mobile marketers, and making the integrated campaigns that deliver increased mobile engagement, retention and revenue more effective than ever before.

“Converser is the best way for marketers to communicate and converse personally with their mobile users,” said Converser CEO Barry Nolan. “With over one billion app installs with some of the worlds most successful mobile businesses, Swrve is the industry leader and we could not be happier to be joining the team and helping to define the next generation in mobile marketing automation.”

Through Swrve’s innovative open platform, more than a dozen partners have pre-integrated with Swrve to help marketers see real ROI and create better customer experiences across mobile and web. Key partners include Marketo (NASDAQ: MKTO), Eloqua, Tableau, TUNE, AppsFlyer, Lytics, Nexmo, AdX and Apsalar.

Swrve and Converser will be demonstrating their integrated functionality at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday March 2nd, through Thursday March 5th. MWC attendees are welcome to visit us at Hall 8.0 Booth Number 8.0 E38.

The acquisition remains subject to customary closing conditions.

About Converser

Converser was established in 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. Converser’s platform offers behavioral understanding, a wide array of marketing communications, in-app customer support, campaign performance measurement, and much more.

Converser’s influential client list includes banking and finance organizations, power and utilities providers, radio and television broadcasters, as well as publishers, including EMEA media powerhouse Future Publishing.

About Swrve

Swrve is the world leader in mobile marketing automation.

Swrve provides a set of tools and best practices that enable mobile and digital marketers to deliver outstanding experiences and ‘perfect conversations’ with mobile app users, and as a result drive engagement, retention and revenue across their businesses. Swrve specializes in real-time segmentation and personalization of content within the mobile app and on the mobile device.

Those tools include everything needed to deliver push notification campaigns, in-app messages and native content changes — all A/B tested and without involvement from engineering.

Swrve is used by some of the world’s leading app companies and brands, and processes nearly 6 billion events a day across a billion devices, worldwide. Swrve was recently featured in a VentureBeat article titled: 19 Startups Ready to Blast Off in 2015.


Proxama and Aconite Up the Ante with Mobile Proximity Commerce Proposition


Proxama PLC (PROX.L), the global mobile marketing, loyalty and payments company, today unveils details of its new end-to-end mobile proximity marketing and payments proposition following the acquisition of Aconite Technology last year. Proxama’s new Digital Payments Division will be led by the team from Aconite as the combination of the two companies brings a true end-to-end model to the payments market for the first time. It will enable card issuers and financial institutions to implement services such as tokenization and mobile Near Field Communication (NFC) payments in this new domain quickly and easily; supporting everything from handset app support, through to risk and credential management as well as handling back-end processing of mobile transactions.

According to Juniper Research, there will be 516 million mobile users of NFC services by the end of 2019, up from 101 million in 2014. With this proposition, and confronted by the looming EMV mandate in October 2015, customers can maximize the opportunity by transitioning from a traditional card issuing model to full in-house support for tokenization and mobile payments without any major internal changes. For card issuers with magnetic stripe cards, this proposition also provides a secure and low cost route to migrate to EMV chip-and-PIN cards and provide a platform for contactless mobile NFC payment systems like Apple Pay.

The fusion of Aconite’s heritage and expertise in card payments and token management with Proxama’s portfolio of consumer-facing and handset-based proximity marketing and payment technologies also provides support for customers seeking to deploy innovative value added services to gain a competitive edge. According to Forrester Research, mobile payment services like the mobile wallet need to be able to add value before, during and after the transaction. By enhancing the end user experience with services that redeem offers and loyalty vouchers, customers can generate new and recurring business for merchants while increasing the volume of payment transactions.

Neil Garner, Founder, Proxama said: “We are re-defining what mobile proximity commerce means by encompassing all the elements of the consumer-merchant dynamic; from when a consumer enters a store to choosing their goods and the final point of transaction.

“The impact of services such as Apple Pay has transformed NFC and it is clear that the appetite for mobile contactless payments will continue to grow. To stay relevant and evolve with the market, companies need to ensure they have the right services in place to meet this demand. Our proposition isn’t a one-off solution that satisfies today’s market needs but a one stop shop that identifies and addresses tomorrow’s market demand for mobile contactless payments.”

Mike Woods, CEO of Digital Payments Division, Proxama said: Both companies have deep rooted experience in providing solutions in their respective domains; Aconite in EMV migration enablement, and Proxama in providing innovative mobile solutions in payments and in customer engagement.

“The combination of both our services will extend our customers’ existing systems by adding the necessary capabilities to stay relevant. Our technology is proven, secure and deployable in industry-standard environments, and by being brand and network-agnostic, it alleviates the challenge that card issuers and processors currently have when it comes to costs, product diversity and time-to-market. This proposition will provide our customers with everything they need, to do what they are used to doing on card, onto mobile.”

Proxama acquired Aconite Technology in December 2014 following a history that dates back to 2008. The two companies first collaborated to demonstrate how to remotely manage NFC mobile phone applications. Both companies have a strong business pipeline in the European and U.S. markets where the demand for the companies’ international expertise in the NFC and mobile payments industries continues to grow.

Proxama PLC (PROX.L) is an International mobile proximity commerce and payment solutions company.

Proxama provides end to end digital solutions to banks and card issuers to securely transition their card portfolio onto mobile for Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless payments as well as solutions for EMV enablement, Electronic PIN Delivery, tokenization and card issuance management.

Proxama’s award-winning mobile proximity marketing platform, TapPoint®, enables brands to connect physical and digital assets via mobile to increase consumer engagement, retail sales and loyalty across a network of locations with high foot traffic. http://www.proxama.com


Mobile Search Spend Share to Reach 83% by 2018

Just before Christmas, research from eMarketer predicted that by 2018, mobile will account for 76.7 percent of search spend. But the market research firm has since come up with an even more staggering number for mobile’s share by 2018: 82.5 percent.

The December prediction was lower than one from June, as a result of major companies having unpredictably high ad revenues. Not even Facebook saw its great end to 2014 coming, which resulted in other marketers moving their advertising dollars from paid search to mobile display ads for that quarter. So eMarketer‘s most recent predicted figure jumping back up so much in just two months fits in with the industry’s overall rapid shift toward mobile.

Back in 2012, desktop accounted for 87 percent of marketers’ search budgets, while only $2.24 billion (12.9 percent) went toward mobile. These figures include contextual text links, paid inclusion, paid listings, and SEO, while mobile accounts for advertising on search engines, search applications, and carrier portals for both smartphones and tablets.

Mobile’s spend share has since increased at a steady rate, climbing 12 percent in 2013 and 15 percent in 2014. This year, another expected 13 percent increase will bring the total amount marketers will spend on mobile search up to $12.97 billion.

As mobile has grown, desktop search spend has decreased just as quickly. In two short years, desktop spend has dropped $1.5 billion, losing 27 percent of the spend share. For 2015, eMarketer predicted desktop search will be $12.3 billion. With 47.4 percent of the share, desktop will be less than mobile for the first time.

“It’s not surprising. I also don’t think the trend is surprising to big players like Google, either,” says Cathy Boyle, a senior mobile analyst at eMarketer. “The writing’s been on the wall for a while now as consumers are getting more and more comfortable doing everything with their mobile devices.”

Boyle sees mobile continuing to grow beyond that, but is unable to venture a guess as to how much.

“There’s still a lot of desktop use in office spaces so it’s hard to predict where the ceiling is,” she says.

Also back in June, eMarketer looked at the mobile search ad revenues for different companies. The research firm found that while Google will still have the overwhelming majority of the search share, the search giant’s growth is tapering. In December, the research firm revisited these numbers and while it still expects that Google’s share will be just more than 61 percent by 2016, Yelp and YP will have slightly bigger pieces of the pie than previously reported.

What’s mostly responsible for Google’s decline is the “other” category. Other’s share declined 5 percentage points from June to December, though that’s because Yahoo is no longer lumped in that category.

The main threat to Google seems to be apps. Boyle explains that’s because people tend to search in verticals – looking at both Kayak and TripAdvisor for travel deals, say – on desktop, whereas on mobile devices, those searches typically happen in-app.

“[Search is] just a lot more niche within an app, which has very specific targeted searching,” she says. “It’s a parallel behavior, just executed in a different way.”


Net neutrality passes FCC, will apply to mobile too

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to approve new net neutrality rules by reclassifying broadband as a regulated public utility, over the objections of the commission’s Republican members and large broadband providers.

The commission voted 3-2 Thursday to approve net neutrality rules that prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic and from offering paid traffic prioritization services. The commission’s vote on the new rules prompted loud applause from the audience at the FCC meeting.

The new regulations will almost certainly face a court challenge from broadband providers, and a court case could drag out for years. Verizon Communications, ATT and Comcast have all opposed reclassification of broadband.

The rules are grounded in a reclassification of broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more heavily regulated telecommunications service, although FCC staff said the agency will forbear from applying about 700 traditional telecom rules, such as price regulation and forced sharing of networks with competitors.

The order applies net neutrality regulations to mobile, as well as fixed, broadband providers, but temporarily exempts small broadband providers from some of the new rules.

No ‘fast lanes’

The new rules will prohibit broadband providers from acting as gatekeepers to Web content, said Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. The Internet is “our printing press, our town square,” she said. “We cannot have a two-tiered Internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind.”

The commission’s two Republicans protested the order, saying it ends 20 years of bipartisan agreement on light-touch regulation of the Internet. The new rules potentially open Internet service up to new taxes, including state taxes that broadband providers will have to pass on to customers or cut from their deployment budgets, said Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai.

net neutrality Flickr/BrokenCities

The FCC could eventually use the order to subject broadband service to Universal Service Fees, a current 16 percent tax on telephone service, he said.

The FCC “flip-flopped” from an earlier net neutrality proposal from Chairman Tom Wheeler that didn’t include reclassification of broadband because President Barack Obama pressured the agency, Pai said.

“Put simply, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet is not the solution to a problem,” Pai said. “His plan is the problem.”

The FCC order also opens up broadband to rate regulation, with the agency banning commercial arrangements involving traffic prioritization, Pai said.

The agency’s ban on commercial arrangements involving traffic prioritization amounts to rate regulation, Pai said.

No plan to regulate the Internet, Wheeler says

Wheeler defended the rules, saying free expression on the Internet is too important “to be left without rules and without a referee on the field.” He also disputed critics who say the net neutrality rules amount to regulation of the Internet.

“This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech,” he said. “They both stand for the same concept.”

The FCC’s vote comes after a year of debate over net neutrality rules, with about 4 million public comments filed in the proceeding, with many of the comments calling on the agency to pass strong rules grounded in the telecom regulations in Title II of the Telecommunications Act. In early 2014, a U.S. appeals court overturned net neutrality rules the agency passed in 2010, saying the FCC pegged the rules to the wrong section of the Telecommunications Act.

In May, Wheeler proposed new rules that would have allowed broadband providers to engage in “commercially reasonable” traffic management, with no reclassification of broadband under Title II. But huge numbers of people filing comments with the agency called for reclassification, and Obama joined their ranks in November.

Dozens of digital rights and consumer groups applauded the FCC’s decision. The vote “preserves the ethos of permissionless innovation that’s always been at the heart of the Internet,” Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, said in a video shown during the FCC meeting.


Google Search Algorithm Adds Mobile-Friendly Factors & App Indexing To …


Google announced it is making two significant changes to its search algorithm for ranking the mobile search results.

Google will be using mobile-friendly factors in its mobile search results starting on April 21, 2015, and it will rank mobile apps participating in App Indexing for signed-in users better in the mobile search results starting today.

Mobile-Friendly Web Sites To Rank Better In Mobile Search

Google said that on April 21, 2015, Google’s mobile ranking factors will not only label your site as mobile-friendly, but will also use that to determine if your site should rank higher in the search results. Google said this algorithmic change will have a “significant impact” in the mobile search results, impacting all languages worldwide.

Google said this is expanding on its mobile ranking demotion algorithm launched back in 2013.

Google also said “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

Why not now? Google said it wants sites to prepare; so, you have a few months to get your websites mobile-friendly. Google told us it had been experimenting with mobile ranking factors recently, and now it is here.

To prepare, you can use Google’s mobile usability reports and the mobile friendly testing tool. You can also see Google’s mobile guidelines.

Mobile Apps That Google Indexes To Rank Better In Mobile Search

Google further said that starting right now, apps that are indexed by Google through App Indexing will begin to rank better in mobile search. Google said this only will work for signed-in users who have the app installed on their mobile devices, which means only Android apps today. Google explained this “may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search.”

To learn more about how to get your apps indexed by Google, see this help area.

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(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)

2015 Mobile Payments Conference Call for Speakers Is Open

PHOENIX, AZ–(Marketwired – Feb 26, 2015) – Mobile Marketing Technology today issued the Call for Speakers for the Fall 2015 Mobile Payments Conference (@MPCEVENT), taking place August 31 – September 2, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

Mobile devices have quickly become integral parts of mobilizing retail, payments, marketing and social infrastructures. The 2015 Mobile Payments Conference will include all the key topics on everyone’s mind, separate FACT from FICTION and help you develop strategies that allow your business to adopt and align with this fast changing industry.

“This year’s conference will provide insights into network, platform and service provider selection, Omni-channel customer experience, loyalty campaigns and integrations, compliance and security, as well as payment trends such as Crypto Currencies, Host Card Emulation (HCE) Near Field Communications (NFC),” said Mobile Payments Conference Executive Director, Marla Ellerman. “We are seeking speakers who can share their expertise on the future of mobile in retail, SoLoMo (Social, Local, and Mobile Marketing), and mobile payments with actionable insights on how these developments will affect the retail and mobile landscapes.”

The deadline for speaker submissions is March 9, 2015. Session tracks will focus on The Consumer and Adoption, Mobile Management, Service Providers and Payments, Compliance, Marketing, Financial, and other essential segments of this burgeoning environment. For a full list of potential session topics, please visit www.mobilepaymentconference.com

“The Fall 2014 Mobile Payments Conference was a resounding success,” added Marla Ellerman. “Attendees enjoyed four days of engaging keynote presentations from leaders in the payment processing space as well as interactive panel discussions and training. We look forward to capitalizing on that momentum at our 2015 event with a compelling agenda that tackles the most urgent subject matter.”

For speaker and general inquiries about the Mobile Payments Conference, please contact Anne Miller at 303-530-4562: anne@mpassociates.com.

Please contact Marla Ellerman at 602-315-8808: marla@mmtmagonline.com, for information regarding exhibit and sponsorship opportunities.

Analyst and media inquiries, or to register as a member of the press for the event, please contact Mostafa Razzak, JMRConnect at 202-904-2048 or m.razzak@jmrconnect.net

Follow Mobile Payments Conference on Twitter at @mpcevent, for the latest news and other updates.

About Mobile Payments Conference
The Mobile Payments Conference (@MPCEVENT) is the industry’s leading mobile commerce event, which convenes executives across the globe from all parts of the mobile commerce ecosystem. 2014 marks the seventh Mobile Payments Conference that Mobile Marketing Technology will produce.

For additional information, please visit http://www.mobilepaymentconference.com.

About Mobile Marketing Technology
Mobile Marketing and Technology is an online publication and community dedicated to educating Marketing, Sales, IT Professionals, and Executives about the latest mobile phone technologies for marketing and communication.


PadSquad Joins Mobile Marketing Association’s Native and Video Committees


All York, Chester, Lancaster county schools closed Thursday due to snow; other cancellations


Mobile marketing startup InMoji raises $1M led by startup evangelist David Chang

paypal david chang

David Chang is the former chief operating officer at PayPal Media.

Sara Castellanos
Technology Reporter- Boston Business Journal


InMoji Inc., a Boston-based mobile marketing startup, announced Thursday it has raised $1 million in seed funding.

The funding was led by former PayPal Media Network chief operating officer and startup evangelist David Chang, and included participation from PayPal’s StartTank and Atlas Venture through Boston Syndicates.

The funding will be used to invest in product design and development.

“We have a long product roadmap for features and functionality assets,” co-founder Michael Africk said in an email. “We are expanding our brand campaign sales outreach too.”

The company is based in Boston with a sales and marketing office in San Francisco. It declined to disclose customer names or revenue.

However, according to a recent report by BostInno, “the company offers a way for brands to get more of their content shared by consumers, and already counts the likes of Walmart, Fandango and DraftKings among its customers.”

The startup employs seven full time with three contractors, and aims to grow its headcount to up to 25 people by the end of the year, Africk said.