In the past, I’ve told you to keep an eye out for the top marketing trends. But now I want to take that one step further and narrow that focus specifically to mobile trends.
As a business owner, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of modern marketing trends to be successful.
This guide is beneficial for marketers, app developers, and anyone else who wants to improve their business.
While I’m not saying you need to apply these trends to your own marketing, it’s important you’re aware of the new technology that’s available and surrounding you. Who knows, maybe you’ll decide to change your strategy based on this information.
I used research from previous years as well as some recent technological developments to come up with this list.
These are the top 14 mobile trends dominating the year so far. I expect these to continue trending upward.
1. Artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence has penetrated our mobile world.
We’re getting one step closer to mobile devices morphing into robots and taking over the planet. Obviously, I’m kidding.
While that day has yet to come, we are seeing advancements in mobile AI. You may be familiar with some of these:
- Google Assistant
All of these are examples of AI that may even be installed on your mobile devices right now. In addition to these popular forms of AI, mobile apps are now using software such as voice recognition to encourage hands-free use and ultimately optimize the customer experience.
AI software is used to help developers and marketers learn more about the user.
Businesses are trying to get more revenue by using this information to create relevant advertisements that target specific audiences.
2. Location-based technology
Your smartphones and tablets are tracking your location. That’s not a secret.
Mobile applications are also tracking your location, with your permission. Each time you download a new app, it requests your permission to use your location. Here’s an example of this from Nexonia:
Each time you download a new app, you’ll get a notification similar to the one seen above.
You may not even be able to use some apps to their full potential without giving them access to your location. For example, think about a ride-sharing app such as Uber.
They need your exact location to connect you with a driver.
But have you noticed an increase in apps requesting your location even if you don’t think it’s required to use the primary function of the app? That’s because 7 out of 10 apps on your smartphone share your data with third parties.
They do this to enhance their marketing campaigns.
If a business knows where a user is, it can send them targeted ads based on the location. An example of this is when an app uses geofencing technology. Here’s how it works.
Let’s say you own a restaurant and have a mobile app. If an app user walks within a few blocks of your location, they’ll receive a notification about your lunch special.
We’ve seen an increase in this strategy, and we’ll continue to see it used in the future.
3. Augmented reality
Augmented reality takes something that’s real and modifies it.
One of the best examples of this is the face filter options on Snapchat. Recently, Instagram implemented this feature as well:
Other mobile apps use this strategy to generate revenue.
Remember when everyone was going crazy about Pokemon Go? The entire premise of that game was based on augmented reality on a mobile device.
I found some mind-blowing statistics about the game and how successful it was:
- over 800 million downloads
- more than 5 million daily active users
- $1.2 billion total revenue
Those numbers speak for themselves. Based on the success of apps such as Pokemon Go, Snapchat, and Instagram, more businesses have been trying to incorporate augmented reality into their mobile technology.
This will help them create brand awareness, app downloads, engagement, and revenue.
4. Syncing wearable technology with mobile devices
Wearable technology has become increasingly popular.
I’m referring to things such as fitness bracelets, smartwatches, healthcare monitors, and glasses. They all can be paired with mobile apps.
Take Fitbit as an example. All the movements of a person wearing it can be tracked through an app. Users can check their heart rates and how many miles they walked in a day, among other things.
By syncing with mobile devices, these apps can be used socially as well. People can compare their progress with their friends and make it a competition.
As a result, it encourages the usage of the technology and increases engagement.
By the end of 2019, experts estimate that more than 125 million units of wearable technology will be shipped. That compares to just 50 million units shipped in 2015.
The reason for the popularity of this technology is its ability to pair with mobile devices.
5. Revenue from mobile applications
Mobile apps are making a killing. Just look at the jump from 2016 to 2017 in terms of global app revenue:
There was a substantial increase in revenue through both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
This trend isn’t slowing down. Mobile apps will continue to thrive. Experts believe that by 2020 the global revenue from mobile apps will be $190 billion.
That’s triple the numbers we saw last year (2017).
6. Mobile devices syncing with homes
Mobile apps are being developed to help improve consumers’ experiences within their own homes.
You can find businesses that sync your home air conditioning and heating with an app. That way, you can control temperatures whether you’re home or not.
Instead of going to a central thermostat in the house, you can reach into your pocket and set everything on your phone.
Home security has been integrated with mobile technology as well. There are apps that have a video camera synced with your doorbell so you can see who is at your front door when the bell rings.
Home security cameras on the inside and outside of your home can all be controlled and monitored from mobile devices.
There are even smart refrigerators that connect with mobile devices. This technology gives you the ability to see inside your refrigerator while you’re at the grocery store so you can see what you need to buy.
7. Enhanced mobile security
Saying that security is important would be an understatement.
With big companies having security breaches, consumers have become increasingly aware of the potential dangers of giving away their personal information.
Many people don’t like the risks of providing sensitive information to businesses, especially through mobile apps. In fact, security and distrust are two of the top reasons why mobile users don’t feel comfortable using mobile payment applications.
Furthermore, 56% of American consumers say they believe mobile payments will increase their chances of becoming a fraud or theft victim. Only 5% of people think these types of payment methods reduce those chances.
But as previously discussed, mobile app revenue is on the rise. While some consumers are reluctant to pay via mobile, others are not.
Businesses are recognizing these perceptions and improving their mobile security. They want their customers to feel as comfortable as possible when paying using mobile devices.
8. Small business mobile apps
Not long ago, mobile applications were just for the big players. But now everyone is developing them.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business or how small your company may be, you can probably benefit from mobile app development.
Last year, more than half of small business owners in the United States said they had plans to develop a mobile app. Those apps should be in development and launching soon, if they haven’t already.
Why are they building apps? Fifty-five percent of small business owners are using mobile apps to increase sales revenue.
Apps also improve the user experience and help businesses stay competitive in a market that’s always changing. You can’t afford to fall behind, so you need to stay up to date with the latest technology.
9. Increased mobile payments
As mobile security improves and global app revenue rises, we’ll see an increase in mobile payments as well. Among them are:
- bank apps
- Google Pay
- Samsung Pay
- Apple Pay
Just look at the jump in the number of payment apps users we’ve seen over the last three years:
These numbers are continuing to rise.
Again, this relates to mobile security. There is a direct correlation between how comfortable people feel making mobile payments and the increase in mobile payment popularity.
10. Transportation apps
For quite some time, we’ve seen apps for train tickets, local bus schedules, etc.
Ride-sharing apps, such as Lyft and Uber, have been dominating for years now as well. Even car sharing apps, such as Zipcar or Turo, are nothing new.
But new apps are bringing transportation to a whole new level. I’m talking about Bird and Lime Bike. Users can locate a scooter or bicycle from their mobile devices.
When they approach the transport, they can unlock it using cameras on their smartphones. Users get charged for the length of time they used the bike or scooter. When they’re done, they can leave it anywhere.
Note that it’s relevant to our discussion about location-based services and mobile payments.
These new types of transportation are also integrated with mobile technology.
Bird raised $15 million earlier this year from investors. They are seeking an additional $100 million. It’s safe to say they predict this will be a major part of the future in this industry.
11. Virtual reality
Virtual reality is not quite the same as augmented reality. You’ll need more than just a smartphone to experience virtual reality.
Typically, a helmet or some type of goggles get used simultaneously with your mobile device. This technology may even come with a joystick or controller.
It’s estimated that the global valuation for the virtual reality market will exceed $26 billion by the year 2022.
This won’t happen overnight. We’re already seeing virtual reality advancements and I expect those trends to continue as we move forward.
12. Hybrid apps
Mobile app development can be expensive. Business owners have weighed the pros and cons of native and hybrid app development.
While both have their upsides, native development is more expensive. Furthermore, native apps can be built only for one platform at a time.
This is a problem for smaller businesses with smaller budgets for app development.
If you want to have your app available on both iOS and Android devices, you’d need to go through development twice, which is no easy task. Some businesses can’t afford that.
But hybrid apps make this possible. It gives people the opportunity to launch their apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store simultaneously for a fraction of the cost.
That’s another reason why more mobile apps are available for download, which contributes to the rising global app revenue as well.
13. Personal mobile devices in the workplace
Research indicates 87% of businesses depend on their employees to access work resources from their personal mobile devices. This is a big change from what we’ve seen in the past when businesses were trying to prevent this.
The concept is known as BYOD, or bring your own device.
In 2016, 78% of companies that disallowed BYOD said it was due to security concerns. But as I’ve already discussed, mobile security is improving, so now businesses are adapting and changing their policies.
Research shows there is a 34% increase in productivity when employees are allowed to use their personal mobile devices for work, which makes sense.
They are used to handling these devices on a daily basis. It’s easier for them to navigate and stay organized.
This also helps businesses cut back on costs since they don’t need to pay for new hardware.
14. Biometrics advancements
Biometrics are used to enhance security for mobile devices. Examples of biometrics include:
- voice recognition
- facial recognition
- signature recognition
- fingerprint recognition
Your current device may have some of these features installed. We’ll see a lot more of this moving forward.
For example, let’s say you’ve got an iPhone that was released in the last couple of years. You’re used to the fingerprint feature to unlock the device.
But now the new iPhone X has facial recognition software.
Other apps are using biometrics as well. For example, you may be required to use your fingerprint to make a mobile payment through some platforms.
Technology is constantly evolving. Just compare your current smartphone to the phone you had five or ten years ago.
As we continue, we’ll see several different trends. Older mobile technology will be improved, and newer technology will be introduced.
The idea is to understand how consumers react to these changes. They are the ones who shape these trends.
Identify the upward trends, and adapt accordingly to meet the needs of your mobile customers.