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Social and Mobile: Symbosis

This following article first appeared in Mobile Marketer. I wanted to share it with you. It really sums up how important social is, how important mobile is – but most of all how these content and delivery platforms work together in a really tight symbiotic relationship today and going forward.

SAN FRANCISCO – An eMarketer executive at the ad:tech San Francisco 2013 conference said that marketers will see more of an effort put in to driving the social experience to the forefront of mobile devices and the overall mobile experience.

During the “Moving on Mobile: Understanding User Behavior and Taking Advantage of New Paradigms” session, executives discussed how the mobile ecosystem is constantly changing. The session was moderated by Rachel Pasqua. “We rely on mobile devices to get to where we’re going and find what we want,” said Noah Elkin, principal analyst at eMarketer, New York.

Fifty percent of U.S. smartphone owners use location-based services,” he said. “Things like time and place become increasingly important. Social of course remains a key pillar as well. Sixty-one percent of U.S. mobile users will access networks in 2013. If you think about some of the moves we’ve seen in the industry, like the introduction of Facebook Home and Graph Search, the social experience is going to be increasingly front and center on our mobile screens.”

Naturally, mobile and social go hand-in-hand. More marketers are increasingly marrying the two in their marketing efforts to bolster brand awareness and, ultimately, drive consumer engagement.

In addition to social, consumers are also increasingly using their mobile devices to shop. According to Mr. Elkin, 24 percent of retail ecommerce will come from mobile devices by 2016. And, mobile helps influence those purchases. There is also a split taking place with mobile – specifically with smartphones and tablets. With smartphones, consumers are making certain purchases whenever they are on-the-go. Mobile provides them with the convenience where they can shop anywhere. Then, there are tablets, which are competing for lap space at home with PCs.

“What all of this boils down to is that mobile is rapidly becoming a bigger part of our day,” Mr. Elkin said. “Time spent with mobile is growing at 14 times the rate of the desktop Web and 35 times that of TV. If we think about that trajectory over the next couple of years, mobile and desktop will equalize on the amount of time that our audience spends with it,” he said.

The age of consumers passively consuming TV content has passed. Increasingly, audience are steering more towards mobile devices while they are at home on their couches. Thus, second-screen experiences are essentially increasing. Nowadays, it is all about the multiscreen, cross platform consumer.

According to Mr. Elkin, every key consumer activity now takes place across multiple screens. And, smart devices are at the center of this multitasking. Marketers are seeing this trend and are acting accordingly. More companies are incorporating a variety of different platforms into their second-screen efforts.

As a marketer, you have to look at what activities your users are looking at and how do those activities correspond to the day part. There’s a lot of convergence with the peak hours and you also look at the off-hours with how those activities are taking place. It’s about looking at the relationship as with the desktop, where display search relationship works similarly in a mobile context. You start to see an emergence here with very distinct usage patterns.”

As more tablets come into the market, marketers will see that split widen even more. To help with that, it is important that marketers pay attention to location, channel and intent. “A lot of mobile search activity is designed to qualify future purchases, not satisfy immediate needs,” Mr. Elkin said. “It’s all about how you take advantage of the innate qualities of mobile.”