By: Heidi Kulicke
If 2011 is any indication, 2012 is the year of the mobile phone takeover. Mobile device sales skyrocketed in 2011 and show no signs of slowing down. Reports estimate more than 5 billion people have mobile phones — with text, email, and Internet usage taking up a huge chunk of their use.
Added to that, tablets and smartphones were the highest-selling consumer electronic device category in 2011. Roughly 115 million units were sold worldwide in the third quarter of 2011 alone, outpacing combined sales of PCs, laptops, and netbooks, according to market research firm Gartner.
What does this mean for newspapers? Readers have gone mobile. People are picking up mobile phones more often than newspapers. Publishers can improve overall delivery by posting content where their audience is. Here are our predictions for mobile publishing in 2012.
Mobile advertising will replace Web ads as the most sought-after format
Advertisers want to be where the consumers are, so 2012 is the year to push mobile initiatives through to your clients.
Mobile advertising networks delivered 350 billion global impressions in 2011, earning $275 million in revenue. Mobile marketing and advertising revenues are estimated to reach $54 billion by 2020 worldwide, according to research firm Mind Commerce. And 2012 is likely to be a huge year for advertisers seeking to penetrate the mobile market.
An AT&T report suggests 88 percent of marketers will increase their advertising budgets on mobile-based campaigns in 2012. Juniper Research predicts that mobile retail marketing will be valued at $15 billion in 2012 — up 50 percent from 2011.
Mobile commerce will become more widespread
Mobile commerce will have a huge year in 2012, with technological developments becoming even more sophisticated. Publishers have the opportunity to improve their revenue stream by expanding to e-commerce.
According to PayPal, mobile sales volume increased 516 percent on Black Friday 2011, and 552 percent on Cyber Monday. Online sales used to peak in the afternoon, and then shoppers would log off their computers following business hours. Cyber Monday 2011 was different as shoppers used tablets and smartphones to continue shopping late into the evening. Cyber Monday sales broke records and brought in $1.25 billion, comScore reported.
Of great interest is mobile point-of- sale (POS) technology and Near Field Communications (NFC), also known as “swipe to pay,” phones past a merchant’s reader to pay for goods and services. International banks are already utilizing the technology, with plans to replace credit cards in a few years. According to Nielson, about 43 percent of Americans own smartphones, so the U.S. is likely to see similar technology as user-friendliness and security measures improve.
New imaging technology will overshadow QR codes
QR codes offer an exciting ability to connect the print product with an enhanced mobile experience that includes both content and advertising, but they can be cumbersome (not to mention unsightly) to include in story layouts. As demonstrated in the January issue of E&P, new technology now enables the same scannable data to be embedded in a watermark within a photo (read: no ugly codes clogging up your pages).
A recent survey commissioned by AT&T found that mobile barcodes have huge potential for innovation, and 66 percent of respondents agreed mobile barcodes and similar technology will drive new campaigns in 2012.
The NFC technology that is revolutionizing mobile commerce could also make it possible for publishers to link consumers to mobile sites, videos, ratings, and cost-comparison tools. NFC would eliminate the need to download a reader, open the app, scan the code, wait for the page to open, and then access the desired information. Instead, NFC users simply tap their phone and the information appears.
The tablet wars will continue
Rumors are swirling that Apple will introduce the iPad 3 sometime in 2012, which would likely be followed by steep price cuts to the previous models, iPad 1 and 2, making these high-end and highly desirable tablets accessible to the Average Joe consumer.
The market demand for budget tablets is growing. Amazon sold 4 million of the $199 Kindle Fire tablets in the month of December alone, and RIM slashed the price of its PlayBook tablet to $299 for all three models.
Apple’s iPad is still top of the heap in terms of sales, but acceptance of Android-powered tablets continues to grow. More affordable prices could signal a mass entrance to schools, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, opening the door for publishers and advertisers to reach this wide audience.