Mobile-first predictions for Asia Pacific in 2017

2016 was an eventful year for mobile in APAC. KPMG claims at least 90% of online shoppers in China used their smartphone at least once to make a transaction on Singles Day. Black Friday saw a record US$1.2bn in purchases from mobile. At the same time, high-profile controversies surrounding Facebook’s measurement accuracy surfaced, bringing the need for accreditation to the forefront. On the technical front, Moore’s Law is making healthy progress on smartphones. In markets such as Singapore, smartphones packaged with basic subscription plans now sport features such as an octo-core processor, fingerprint sensor and high-resolution cameras.

In light of these trends, here’s what marketers should look forward to in 2017:

Omnichannel marketing will grow exponentially

The growth of tourism in APAC, coupled with e-commerce set to hit $1488.42 billion in 2017, signal tremendous possibilities for integrated campaigns. Customers buy online for convenience, but travel to physical retail outlets for the brand experience. Mobile is the only media today that can bridge the online shopper in a brick and mortar establishment. Hence, advertisers will need to think mobile-first to better understand their customers’ buying patterns. This year, brands will be more proactive in using information such as their product preferences and location to personalise offers and consequently, drive higher sales and loyalty.

Measuring human actions will be the new norm

As Facebook continues to face controversy around its measurement accuracies, the industry is reminded that we need impartial measurements and this will be a priority as we head into the new year. As ad spend shifts to mobile channels, more investments will be at stake. Measuring human actions and aiming for engagements is the only way to ensure these investments meet sales objectives. In 2017, independent accredited metrics will be the new norm. Actors such as the MRC, MOAT, Nielsen and ComScore will play a bigger role to ensure that campaign results are transparent. Measure metrics beyond the click, such as landing page visits and app installs and pay only for human traffic from fully-loaded ads. With this mentality, the advertisers will be better informed and less tolerant about wasted mobile ad spend in the coming year.

Think mobile-first and everything else will follow

In the last quarter of 2016, Asia Pacific stands as the leading region in terms of mobile connection penetration at 112%, with 1,480 million people on smartphones and tablets* (excluding China and India). This figure, from an eMarketer and Ericsson report, will continue to rise in the coming year. Brands need to focus and master the mobile channel if they want to win over today’s mobile-first consumers. This means stop re-adapting desktop or TV campaigns for mobile, and define mobile-specific strategies and creatives for this channel. Creative formats will need to incorporate native functionalities of mobile devices such as the camera, vibration, swipe, geolocation, and fingerprinting.

Making sense of 2017’s trendsAs customers are spending increasing time on their mobiles, this channel will account for an ever-growing amount of sales and revenue. The good news is mobile offers a greater myriad of possibilities for creativity, user engagement and transparent measurements. Hence, brands should think mobile-first in this coming year and create fully immersive mobile experiences, to connect with their highly-sought after consumers this coming year.

Gavin Buxton is VP of sales APAC at S4M. He can be found tweeting @GavBuxton

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