Smartphone and internet penetration in the MENA region have paved the ways for mobile marketers to connect with wider audiences. Currently, 56 per cent of Middle Eastern shoppers are on mobile devices while shopping online.
According to the GSMA report, there would be a significant expansion of network coverage as well as 5G connections by 2025. The seamless connectivity promises to deliver ease of mobile shopping. The eCommerce industry is on the brink of a pivotal shift, and Mobile commerce (M-commerce) is going to be the next big wave in the MarTech industry.
M-commerce delivers next-generation eCommerce solutions with more personalised buying/ selling options. It offers better mobility, payment options, tracking, security, and analytics. A research study estimates that the increase in global smartphone penetration would foster the mobile payment to the value of USD 4,574 billion by 2023 (33.8 per cent increase), which was USD 601 in 2016.
Digital transformation in the MENA region is cultivating the enterprise performance profoundly while enriching the customer experience. Recently MTN, a South African telecom group made a deal with mobile marketing firm Out There Media (OTM) that established digital advertising hub in the Middle East and Africa region. The collaboration aims to utilise Mobucks mobile ad tech platform to streamline public outreach and provide value-added services.
Mobucks notes that their deep integration with mobile operators “allows us to dynamically adjust and target campaigns based on deterministic real-time user data, enabling advertisers to target and engage with their audiences in a continuous flow of interactivity – leading to deep consumer insight and sustainable customer relationships.”
Leveraging Mobile Marketing for eCommerce
1. Automated marketing in the mainstream mobile advertisement
In a survey conducted by Google, mobile-friendly sites influence 67 per cent of the audiences to order the products. But its algorithmic marketing, where web-search crawlers prioritise mobile-friendly sites make them noticeable in the crowded web-space.
The optimisation enhances the web presence, while also making the sites customer-ready. For example, Google’s ad campaign streamlines the conversions and retentions via five key factors – geographic, demographic, keyword search history, interests, and mobile network.
2. eCommerce apps
With the development of agile software, smartphones began giving endless browsing experience on-the-go. However, loading time and convoluted navigation of the retail sites led to increased bounce rates and decreased conversion rates. When it comes to speed and performance, mobile apps play a big role in gaining user traction and retention. Ninety per cent of the screen time is spent on apps because users find accessibility, usability and design features of the contents much more accessible. A recent study reveals that retail apps registered a total of 5.70 billion (3.30 billion in Android and 2.40 billion in iOS devices) downloads in 2018 (up 9.3 per cent over 2017).
3. Mobile SMS:
Though underutilised, SMS is an effective marketing tactic to tap into a large audience. Mobile has simplified the accessibility of emails, yet most users postpone or ignore reading lengthy information at the moment. Consequently, this leads to low responsiveness. It takes an average user 90 minutes to respond to email. However, it takes only 90 seconds for a text message.
According to Gartner, SMS open and response rates account for 98 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively. Whereas, in email marketing, the corresponding rates are 20 per cent and 6 per cent. The survey further reveals that a majority of marketers found SMS advertising an effective tool. Whereas, three-fourth of consumers preferred receiving offers via SMS.
4. Voice Search
The mainstream application of voice assistants is changing the way marketers ranked and optimised mobile websites. Statista forecasts that the smart speaker market is projected to surge from 3.23 billion (currently) to over 8 billion by 2023. Smartphone’s integration with smart speakers has helped the marketers optimise the voice search and keep pace with the market needs.
Apart from entertainment use-cases, consumers are now exploring voice assistants while searching for products. This is because Google excelled in developing voice recognition technology that can comprehend the spoken English language with 95 per cent accuracy rate.
The Head of Communications at SEMrush, Fernando Angulo said in an interview that the voice-based search in English and Arabic yielded more fruitful results in the GCC market. He also speculated that the voice search would go beyond the confines of mobile devices such as a smartwatch or other wearables.
5. Multimedia Advertising
For mobile marketers, multimedia advertising is the best tactic to build instant brand awareness and maximise ROI. It involves programmatic, video, and native advertising. Their contextualised and dynamic creatives help to deliver high-quality and buffer-free ads.
Another popular form of digital advertising is Cinemagraph, which has gained popularity recently. With captivating digital art, Cinemagraph eases streaming and delivers better content than static display ads. Currently, digital ad spending in the Middle East sits around USD 5.5 billion, which might cross USD 6.5 billion by the next year. With millions of handheld devices, multimedia advertising ensures that the content reaches to targeted audiences.
6. Value Proposition
Consumer mobile marketing, when appended with the value proposition, delivers a better brand experience. For marketers, in-app or in-stream video ad has become an indispensable tool to engage audiences with customer loyalty programs such as discount offers, scratch card gifts and complimentary services. Generally, mobile games, for instance, provide value exchange ads where users are rewarded upon viewing the ad to completion. The most prevalent rewards are in-gaming assets. However, this is not just confined to gaming apps, as many retail brands are now offering discount coupons upon streaming ads.
Mobile and tablet video ads have displayed high completion rates. This has left enough space for advertisers to engage with audiences with their lucrative offers and strengthen the consumer base. For example, OTT enables marketers to stream full-screen ads that can’t be skipped or blocked. This helps marketers utilise ad insertion to deliver shorter and personalised advertisements. Consequently, valued consumers are likely to stay with the brand longer.
7. Location-based Marketing
Seventy-five per cent of marketers admit that location-based marketing has helped them to determine the location of prospective consumers and offer real-time push notifications. With social network apps interwoven with the cellular connectivity, GPS-enabled feature provides a more synchronised way of determining location. Location targeting devices such as Geofencing and iBeacon are capable of detecting cellular, GPS, WiFi, RFID-enabled devices when they enter the vicinity. This is an efficient way to push shopping alerts or deals to retail visitors or passerby.
In 2016, location-based marketing registered USD 458.3 million in revenue which is expected to reach USD 1,825.3 million by 2022. During the forecast period, the growth rate of 27.5 per cent (CAGR) is expected.
8. Wallet Beyond Payments
Wallet apps in mobile marketing streamline the buying experience and opportunity for users to receive loyalty bonuses. The non-payment aspect of the mobile wallet mobilises loyalty programs that recreate payment options for consumers. This is broadening new horizons for mobile marketing campaigns and is helping to drive in-store traffic and conversions.
The bigger the basket size is, the better is the loyalty offer. PayPal, Apple Pay (Passbook), Google Wallet, Alipay, and WeChatPay are implementing this holistic approach that enables users to manage eCommerce assets such as redeemable coupons, perks, e-receipts of purchases, etc.
According to the Vice President of Forrester Research Thomas Husson, “The key takeaway for brands is that they should not see mobile wallets as a payment topic. They need to add value before, during and after the transaction by delivering services in the mobile moments of their customers.”
Digital wallet has eliminated the need for physical coupons, event tickets, and plastic cards. Besides instant check-in features, the wallet updates the users with timely notifications on offers, redemptions, and expiry reminders.
9. Checkout Optimisation
Cart abandonment is the major drawback of eCommerce sites. According to research, online shopping has registered an almost 70 per cent cart abandonment rate. Though, the report also highlights that about USD 260 billion can be recovered through checkout optimisation. Most of the abandonment issues are simply due to the browsing behaviours such as price comparison, saving products for later, window shopping, searching gifting options and more.
The study reveals that there are five major reasons behind incomplete purchases
- High shipping/tax charges
- Poor UI design
- Complicated registration/ checkout processes
- Limited payment options,
- Lack of security patches in payment gateways
However, a recent report says that the cart abandonment rate in mobile apps (20%) is considerably lower than mobile sites (97%) and desktop sites (68%). Mobile eCommerce apps, therefore, ensure all five issues are check-marked that allows marketers to drive sales and keep up with further app optimisations.
People are spending more time on a smartphone than on TV or desktop, which is now allowing marketers to harness this growing dependency. Mobile marketing is eclipsing traditional eCommerce practices with a better conversion rate and simplified online shopping experiences.