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As 2014 races to an end, it’s time to look at what’s on the horizon. Here are five of the top mobile app trends and predictions for 2015, along with five questions advertisers should ask themselves to succeed in mobile next year (and beyond).

Mobile Trends and Predictions for 2015

  1. Focus on Innovation and Time to Market
    The innovation bar for mobile apps will continue to be raised as app time-to-delivery windows approach zero, according to Forrester Research. To meet the dual demands of innovation and speedy app creation, developers will move away from “a mentality of creating everything in-house” (Forrester). Brands will increasingly turn to mobile app development platform providers to help them create more innovative apps within a shorter timeframe.
  2. Mobile-First Approach
    Mobile will continue to grow in importance. Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than half of users will grab a tablet or smartphone first when going online. Meanwhile, 2014 Flurry research shows that mobile users greatly prefer apps to the mobile web.As a result, in 2015 “brands that decline to invest heavily in mobile…are bound to get surpassed by competitors,” predict execs from The Nielsen Company and Mobile Majority.
  3. Loyalty Spotlight
    The combination of Apple’s iBeacon, TouchID, and Apple Pay will help advertisers and brands increase customer loyalty in 2015. Starbucks has been an early leader in this regard, according to a senior Nielsen Company executive. Connecting “commerce to loyalty is where I’d put my efforts for 2015,” he said.
  4. Location Targeting
    To increase engagement (and to avoid irritating users) advertisers and brands will need to use geo-fencing and geo-targeting judiciously next year and beyond. For example, retailers “have to not only adopt beacons into their stores, but must clearly articulate the benefit consumers will get” (Computerworld).
  5. Event Enrichment
    Mobile event apps will continue to grow in popularity, predicts meeting/technology consultant Corbin Ball. Organizers will increasingly use iBeacons, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), geo-fencing and other wireless technologies to increase event engagement through gamification, scavenger hunts, navigation assistance, personalized welcome messages and other location-based notifications.

How Can Mobile Marketers and Advertisers Leverage These Trends?

To maximize these trends and be successful with their mobile app efforts in 2015, advertisers and brands should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Who are my app’s target users? When building out your mobile advertising plans, develop customer personas, complete with needs and interests.
  • How will my app make consumers’ lives better or easier? Always keep in mind how your app will benefit your customers—not just your brand.
  • Which features and capabilities should be included in my app? The possibilities are virtually endless. But if you cram in too many features, you might sacrifice usability—the kiss of death for apps.
  • How quickly do I want to release my app? While time to market is critical and there’s pressure to release apps and features ASAP, it’s better to be awesome than early.
  • How should I market my app to drive downloads and recurring usage? Consider press releases, social media and other strategies to stay top of mind with target customers.
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