Mobile as a digital channel has evolved a lot in the last few years. Mobile used to be a standalone channel, mobile is now the predominant channel; mobile is now digital. Indeed, eMarketer has predicted that mobile advertising will outstrip spending on all other channels by 2020. The implications of this are going to be profound on the media landscape, but it hardly surprising given how we, as the audience, interact with our mobile devices. Mobiles used to be dumb, up until around 2006 they were just really used for calls and text and bar the odd ringtone (Crazy Frog, anyone?) the internet capabilities of these devices were underutilised.

Enter Apple

As soon as the iPhone landed on the market, things changed. Apps, maps and Tinder taps turned the mobile into an extension of us and a device intrinsic to the way we lived our lives. Hardly surprisingly the usage of text messaging started to decline, as Over The Top (OTT) Apps, such as What’s App, email and Facebook Messenger started to ascend. In parallel, you may have noticed the amount of SMS ‘spam’ has also started to decrease. This is partly due to GDPR regulation and also due to the cost of sending an SMS message.

Messaging Grows Up

The way marketers now use messaging is now, no longer, a blunt instrument. Mobile messaging strategies now tend to really focus on enhancing a consumers experience of a brand. This, we suspect, is two-fold. First and foremost the cost (as above) and secondly, more interestingly, we think that due to the number of mobile messages a consumer receives has probably led to a sense of ‘message fatigue’ — how many What’s App groups do you belong to, for instance?

Some nice use cases

On our travels, over the summer we noticed a couple of instances where brands deployed messaging really well. The first was when travelling back from some meetings in London, we entered Euston Station. In unison, our pockets beeped as we entered the station and we were alerted to the fact our train was at platform 12, a 30 seconds before the train’s departure flashed up on the board. This was really useful.

The second (for me) was when I booked a flight with KLM. During the check-in process, I was told I could receive my boarding pass in a number of ways, via their app or via What’s App. Not being a frequent flyer with KLM I saw little point in downloading their app, but the What’s App message was genuinely useful.

Mobile for CRM

What is apparent is that in both the use cases listed above, the point of the message(s) were to augment my travel experience. Brand messages were not soliciting me to action to engage, the point of the message was to make my life easier. eMarketer’s prediction around advertising shifting to mobile will be, we suspect, driven by mobile display and mobile search. In other words ‘the traditional’ digital advertising channels are simply being transposed on to mobile, as our focus, as digital users, move from desktop devices to mobile ones.