Marketers Agree: Consumers’ Increasing Mobile Use Shakes Up the Digital Marketing Landscape

February 4, 2014

EconsultancySEMPO-Impact-Mobile-Use-Digital-Marketing-Feb2014The increased use of mobile by consumers is having a highly significant impact on a variety of digital marketing efforts, say company marketers responding to a study [download page] from Econsultancy and SEMPO. The study asked respondents to describe the impact of various trends and technologies on paid search, SEO, display, social media marketing, and email marketing: consumers’ mobile use topped the impact rankings across 4 of those areas.

The following is a brief breakdown of how in-house marketers and agencies rated the impact of the various relevant trends and technologies on each digital marketing area.

  • Paid Search

Roughly 9 in 10 company respondents described the impact of consumers’ increased mobile use as highly significant (49%) or significant (40%) in the context of their paid search marketing efforts, putting the impact of mobile ahead of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns and changes to AdWords (87%) and integration with social media (67%). Mobile’s impact is particularly apparent when looking just at the percentage of respondents deeming it to be “highly significant” – the 49% rating consumers’ mobile use this way was far ahead of the 33% deeming Google’s changes to be highly significant.

For their part, some 93% of agencies rated consumers’ mobile use as highly significant (55%) or significant (38%) to their paid search efforts. Fewer than one-third rated Google’s changes as highly significant.

  • SEO

This was the only area in which consumers’ increasing mobile use was not seen as having the biggest impact. Instead, “not provided” keyword data was rated as “highly significant” by 52% of respondents, compared to 38% each saying the same about Hummingbird/Penguin/Panda algorithmic changes and the increased use of mobile by consumers. Each of those 3 trends, however, was rated at least significant by 83% of respondents.

As for agencies, the increasing use of mobile by consumers was rated at least significant by the most respondents (90%), but the “not provided” keyword data option was rated “highly significant” by the largest proportion (58%).

  • Digital Display

In this context, 84% of in-house marketers rated consumers’ increasing mobile use as either highly significant (30%) or significant (54%), ahead of improved marketing attribution (79%), real-time bidding (55%) and ad blocking (49%).

While agencies were as likely to find improved marketing attribution to be at least significant as consumers’ mobile use, they were more likely to attribute a high degree of impact to the mobile factor.

  • Social Media Marketing

Here again mobile use scored highest: more than 8 in 10 company marketers described mobile’s impact as being highly significant (42%) or significant (40%). The closest competitor in terms of being “highly significant” was improved marketing attribution (27%), followed by changes to social algorithms such as EdgeRank (24%). Agencies responded in much the same way.

  • Email Marketing

No surprises here, particularly as email opens continue to gravitate towards mobile devices. Some 84% of marketers described mobile as having a highly significant (37%) or significant (47%) impact on their email marketing efforts, making mobile more significant than consumer data protection laws (73%) and Gmail’s “Promotional” email tabs (56%). Agencies were even more convinced of mobile’s impact, with 91% rating it significant.

Biggest Trends in Mobile Marketing

So what about the mobile space itself – what are the most significant trends shaping mobile marketing?

According to company marketers, Google’s Universal Analytics is the most “highly significant” trend, rated as such by 30% of respondents, twice as many who said the same about “superfast” data connections. However, the latter was rated as being at least significant by a larger proportion of respondents (73% vs. 63%).

For agencies, it was a much different story. Agency respondents by a large margin described geotargeting as the most significant mobile marketing trend. Exactly half rated it highly significant (compared to 24% for Google’s Universal Analytics), with 92% rating it at least somewhat significant (versus 80% for “increased screen sizes”).

Where’s the Budget?

With consumers’ use of mobiles proving to be of such great significance to marketers and agencies alike, one would expect that they would be spending more money marketing on mobile. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

In fact, when companies were asked to break down their digital marketing budgets by channel, paid search marketing came out on top with an average of 31% share of digital budgets. Next were SEO and email, tied at 18% share apiece. As for mobile? It sat at the bottom of the list, with just 3% of digital marketing budgets.

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of more than 400 companies, agencies and consultants, 53% of whom manage strategy, budgets, and direction of marketing. Some 73% are based in the US.

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