Going Mobile: The $100 Billion Climb To Power
Most of us started out exploring the idea of a belt clipped device to manage life back in the early 2000’s. It was thick, had a grey(ish) and black screen & gave us the power to move conversations, approvals & ideas faster than the rest of the world. That device was of-course, the Blackberry.
At the moment it seems only the die hard business users are grasping onto their Blackberry devices (and things are getting worse by the day for Blackberry) but to get a full understanding of how the mobile industry has become the largest part of our consumer life, we must look at how it all got started. Anyone who came to live with mobile email in their hands quickly found themselves in a rushing flow of data and communications in the early 2000’s. Before then only the stock traders and wealthy had palm pilots and text pagers. When the Blackberry first came to market, it was a serious business tool. Just having one meant you had some important things to keep tabs on. As time went on, everyone “needed” a Blackberry. The device (or the representation of its capabilities) was an admired, important piece to anyone’s social status. This obsession with up to the minute email notifications eventually lead to a massive push in the mobile markets to come up with cooler devices. While Blackberry stayed true to its users, the younger tech nerds started building devices that were at the time, pushing the limits of mobile technology.
Life changed for all of us when Apple released it’s first iPhone. Let’s be honest, nearly all of us bought an iPhone 1, but still used the Blackberry for the real world. But something was changing the way we thought about mobile and soon a craze for mobile movies, music libraries, and web surfing from our mobile devices was a must have. A steady growing rush of developers and platforms came to market all trying to impress the now expanded mobile user market. It wasn’t just business people anymore. The kids had the technology now and when kids get their hands on things, they quickly learn and beg for more. Fast forward 10 years and we’re looking at a full blown industry that is making money from all angles. For the purposes of this article we are going to look at how the advertising industry found ways to take advantage of the massive number of eye balls staring at their screens at 2am in bed. As well as where things are headed, now that the entire world is connected to a device.
Android vs. iOS
The market share between iOS and Android powered phones has been in flux since the start of the race. iPhone seemingly taking the lead mid 2010 but Android regaining power around 2013. Currently iOS holds 47.7 percent & Android holds 47.6 world wide. In the U.S. however, the numbers are a bit more contrasted with Android taking a full 55.6% of the market in early 2015. There are a few other players in the market but aside from what we’ve heard of the new Windows OS (Cortana), no others will likely have enough of a user base to attract the app developers nor the advertisers.
In general the iOS platform and app store are much more streamlined and monitored for quality. Getting an app placed in the app store is a process that can be complex requiring many revisions before Apple will approve the app to go live on its marketplace. This has kept a lot of the smaller app developers at bay when it comes to advertising & tracking data. Aside from apps like Facebook, the way an app monitors and pulls information on the iOS platform is more regulated than its competitor Android. Even Still iOS does its fair share of data collection.
The Android OS (Latest edition Lolipop) is a much more advanced OS built with the future in mind. The platform allows for more fringe functionality like torrent downloading and hacked versions of old 90’s games. The android platform is “open source” which means anyone with development knowledge can start to build apps that will work on the platform. The system allows for just about anything you can imagine & create, much like a real desktop OS. For the longest time iOS was considered the top dog in the mobile game, but the android OS has been the testing ground for a lot of advanced apps over the years and I believe this is whats help Android grow. However, the open source nature of the OS has also kept the door wide open for apps to run a muck of your personal information. Android is doing a much better job than in the past, but even still there are thousands of apps in the Android market that exist only to grab as much personal information from your phone as possible. With 2 billion smart phone users worldwide thats a lot of data collection! Which brings us to the reason for this article, mobile advertising and the rise of a 100 billion dollar industry.
The use of advertising on mobile platforms was more of a furtuist buzz topic in the early 2000’s. But it hanst taken long for the major creative advertising firms to find amazing ways to interact with customers on their devices. The capabilities of Youtube alone are enough to kill off an entire market for paid TV ads. Before we talk about the mobile applications side of advertising, lets make a quick nod to the huge infrastructure of mobile optimized sites capable of pushing out pre-roll, banners, and text links to targeted users directly on their phones. The modern newspaper is a digital company, pushing content nearly 100% through websites and mobile applications. Its advertising dollars that made this happen. Millions upon millions each month being spent to reach customers directly from the devices.
Mobile Apps & User Data:
Along with responsive mobile friendly websites, apps have before a major stream of ad revenue for a lot of content creators in the digital space. Each year the total spend on mobile marketing has risen at a steep incline. This year its estimated to hit 100 billion by the end of 2015. We’ve already talked about data points and mobile tracking and this is largly was has grown the interest in mobile marketing. By knowing so much about your potential customers, you can pick & choose & tailer your content to segmented markets. No other platform in the history of advertising can come close to the deep drill down data mobile data points can provide. If you want to market to users only walking through a Walmart store, under the age of 40 with two kids, you can make that happen!
All apps track some kind of information about its users. For the perfect example of “big data” lets take a quick look at what Facebook knows about you (80 Things FB Knows About You). A lot of this information is validated via the app on your phone. Further more to a possible advertisers, these and much more are presented as data points to pick and choose from. We urge you to read all 80 as you’ll start to get a real scary picture on just how much they can learn from you.
Some of you may be thinking “well I’m safe, I don’t have Facebook”. Keep in mind nearly all app developers are building with controlling data points in mind. In a lot of cases the drive behind building an app is simply to gain insight and advertising space in front of its users. This is true for Android & iOS alike. Trust us, there is no escaping some form of tracking. The rabbit hole is large & very deep 🙂
As advertisers, our job has both become easier to find target markets and at the same time harder to create powerful content that will stand out in a 100 billion dollar world of mobile advertising. There are many who are not comfortable with the information technology is providing on its users, but in reality these systems are creating better experiences for the end user. Tailoring content, offers & information to those who want it most. One day very soon, we will wake up in a world where our device know so much about us, it will be able to provide what we need & desire before we’ve taken the time to go search it out. It’s a powerful time to be in the mobile advertising business.