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2009 – We All Survived It
2010 – We Should Enjoy It

dali_clock-bigger.gifAs 2009 winds down and we all take a well-earned break, it is interesting to look back at the past year and reflect on the changes that have occurred.

Some were expected and some came as a complete surprise. But overall, despite the worst global economic crisis in over 50 years, mobile advertising and marketing continued to advance at a rapid pace.

So here is our take on five of the most interesting developments of 2009, and five that we think will be important for 2010.

2009: Highlights of the year

2009.gifMobile Apps exploded: I guess any list would have to start with this. In the past 12 months, led by the iPhone App Store, apps have become the hottest topic in mobile marketing. The ability to give a great consumer experience, the ease of discovery and download, and the ability to work even when not connected has caused their usage to soar. (see MobiAD article: Mobile Applications: The Next Big Thing In Mobile Marketing?)

2009.gifBudgets survived: It is always hard to get precise figures for the amount of money spent in different media, but it is clear that 2009 saw a very sharp decline in overall money spent in advertising. However, most reports show that digital advertising in general held its own and did not materially shrink. And spending on mobile advertising and marketing, although still relatively small, may actually have grown slightly over the past 12 months. Studies such as the “Market Snapshot” by the IAB-UK show that mobile has been increasing in mind share as well.

2009.gifAugmented Reality took off: Although we are clearly at the very early stages of this application area, it is clear that combining mobile with AR will eventually produce some incredible applications for consumers. Even simple mobile AR applications such as the IKEA’s Interior Planner are catching people’s imagination, and location based AR built around platforms from Layar and Mobilizy have led to a large number of innovative apps. (see MobiAD article: Mobile Augmented Reality Builds Deep Consumer Engagement)

2009.gifMobile internet went mainstream: With the spread of affordable 3G networks around the world, mobile internet usage has become mainstream. In many markets close to 50% of people are now accessing the mobile internet regularly. Along with mobile applications, access to the mobile internet is what is driving the fundamental change in people’s attitudes toward mobile – it is no longer just for talking and texting, it is now becoming a factor in almost every facet of their daily lives. (see MobiAD articles: People Prefer Mobile Web to PC Web, and Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy)

2009.gifMarket value benchmark established: While it is still too early to be certain, the acquisition of AdMob by Google for $750 million this year may well signal a new recognition that mobile advertising does in fact have a very solid future, and that key companies in the industry have significant potential value. (see article: AdMob Acquired By Google)

2010: A look ahead

2010.gifM-commerce will begin: Already 15% of US consumers have purchased products using mobile, and we expect to see the numbers grow around the world. The global rise of m-commerce will result from people’s wider usage of phones, developing m-payment systems, and the spread of mobile internet in countries where internet penetration is low.

2010.gifAndroid will become a serious player: So far Android has been a small player compared with iPhone or Symbian based phones. But with lots of new phones scheduled for late 2009 and early 2010, Android should become the second most vibrant platform after the iPhone. And given its “open” nature, it may well become the preferred platform for developers (as long as it doesn’t fragment into too many individual flavors).

2010.gifMoney will continue to move towards mobile: The ongoing movement of marketing budgets towards mobile will continue. There is no reason to expect a sudden change or “hockey-stick” effect, but as economies improve, advertising budgets increase, and the buying and measuring of mobile improves, a growing percentage of brands should be allocating a growing percentage of their budgets towards mobile.

2010.gifApp store confusion will develop: With the increasing availability of smartphones that equal or exceed the iPhone specs, plus the launch of many individual app stores by mobile operators, OS providers, handset providers, and independents, we can expect to see an increasingly confused market for mobile applications. Developers and brands will find it harder to decide which platforms to launch on, and the common platform standards specified by large mobile operators may well arrive too late to help the situation.

2010.gifVisual interactivity will go mainstream: The use of the mobile camera as an interface device will grow rapidly. We’ve already seen the beginning of this in 2009 with Nike PHOTOiD, QR-codes, visual product search, and Google Goggles. Look for a rapid growth of interesting applications and the start of some serious consumer uptake during 2010. (see MobiAD article: Visual Interactivity: The Next Great Way To Engage Consumers)

So all in all, it looks like we are in for a very exciting 2010!

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