5 Mobile Trends for Businesses to Follow Right Now

5 Mobile Trends for Businesses to Follow Right Now

Mobile phone technology, apps, and usage have seen significant year-on-year growth every year this decade. As we move through the first quarter of 2018, it’s easy to see how mobile has become an integral part of consumers’ lives.

 

You only have to watch the hype that surrounds the release of the latest smartphone to understand how much we are invested in our mobile phones.

 

It’s important for any business owner to read and interpret the ‘signs of the times’, particularly when it comes to technology.

 

Reaching your customers requires an understanding of how to use the mobile platform to market effectively.

 

Here are some of the trends we see happening this year and into 2019.

Businesses must offer mobile / responsive version of their website

 

A report by Flurry Analytics shows that app usage in 2016 grew by 11 percent compared with the year before, and the amount of time spent in apps grew by 69 percent.

 

Most of the growth was in the social media and messaging channels, but the message is clear for businesses: Consider releasing a mobile version of your website if you haven’t yet, because they are great tools for getting data on users and for improving customer engagement.

 

B2B research company, Clutch, reports in a new survey that nearly 50 percent of small businesses will have a mobile app or version of their website by 2018. Viktor Marohnic, CEO of the app builder Shoutem, says: “Three years ago, a small business might see 10 percent of its total traffic coming from mobile, but right now it’s closer to 70 percent.

 

Within the next couple of years, a shift to a mobile app or a mobile-friendly site will become obvious.”

 

Businesses should carefully monitor their social channels, respond with tailored messages and use the opportunity to build customer loyalty.

Mobile payments will increase

 

Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable using mobile for a range of payment options, despite initial concerns over issues like security.

 

This includes online and in-app payments online and on mobile. You can see their popularity in the increasing number of ‘Buy’ buttons seen on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

 

Millennials will lead this trend by ditching card payments in favour of the easy-to-use and seamless experience of mobile wallets.

 

This fintech uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, with major players delivering these digital payments through mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

 

Apple CEO Tim Cook noted last year that Apple Pay was seeing a million new users per week and that transaction volume was “five times higher” than in 2015.

 

This technology is likely to experience exponential growth in the coming year, particularly given the convenience and improved buying experience that mobile payment platforms offer.

Mobile creates super-fast retail experiences

 

Customers have increasingly high expectations when it comes to digital purchases.

 

One example is the assumption that the delivery of online purchases will be done within hours now, not days. Mobile will drive this on-demand economy in the next few years, with consumers buying, receiving updates and arranging delivery or pick-up from their mobile phones.

 

The real-time capabilities that mobile smartphones offer will be a feature of the mobile landscape in the coming year.

The (targeted) customer remains king

 

The customer experience will be influenced increasingly by technology in the next 12 months, with mobile making the biggest impact.

 

Businesses will need to invest in technology smarts that can track and follow their customers’ digital journey, analyse their online behaviours and usage patterns and come up with personalised programmes across multiple channels and devices.

 

Marketing automation, custom audiences and exclusion lists are becoming important tools for following customers around the web and re-targeting them as they move from web to mobile and other channels.

 

These tools allow businesses to make their offers even more personalised and relevant than before, based on each customer’s online and email behaviours.

Google is increasingly prioritizing the mobile world we live in

 

In November 2016 the search giant announced it would be shifting to mobile-first indexing in late 2017 / early 2018, and businesses should make sure they prepare for this by ensuring their website has good information that can be picked up by Google’s mobile ranking algorithm.

 

If your website was built or significantly updated in the past 18 months, your website should already be optimimised for mobile.

 

If not, now is the time to engage Ben & Sam to upgrade your website to ensure all your years of head work in getting Google to rank you high in search positions is not threatened by your competitors having a mobile responsive website and Google taking preference over yours. Times are changing. Act fast.

 

Keep a close eye on customer behaviors and expectations, as these are key elements in successful Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

 

As part of this, it’s important to identify the mobile search terms that are relevant to a business’s industry. This is why it is so critical that businesses create responsive versions of their websites.

 

Responsive version of your website means that they automatically adjust to the device they are being viewed on – such as a smartphone or tablet.

Send the message. Ask the question. Start the conversation. Do the thing.

ISN’T IT TIME?

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Are Cryptocurrencies the Money of the Future?

Are Cryptocurrencies the Money of the Future?

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies came of age in 2016, with a big rise in the profile of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. And this year has seen them get a lot of serious attention from the financial sector and even some high profile individuals like the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. One of the reasons is that these virtual currencies have leapfrogged ahead of stocks, bonds and most other investments in their level of return.

 

The price of Bitcoin hit an all-time high of $7,800 in November, from $1,000 at the start of the year. Ethereum, a not as well known – but quickly growing – cryptocurrency has shown even more dramatic gains. It shot up nearly 5,000 percent midway through 2017, up to a record price of US$407, before settling back down.

 

The total value of these virtual currencies has grown remarkably too. Their market capitalization shot to more than US$200bn in November, from US$20bn at the beginning of the year. That is already a quarter of the market cap of Apple ($800bn) and it keeps growing.

 

And although some financial analysts warn of a crash in cryptocurrencies – along with the lines of the dot-com bust – it’s becoming very clear that they are providing a new global market for assets similar to stocks, bonds, mutual funds and government-backed currencies.

What are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and cryptocurrencies?

Although those in the investment and financial services industries are close to the cryptocurrency market and the Blockchain technology they reside upon, most people don’t really understand what they are and how they work. Here is a useful summary.

 

  • This is an online, digital currency – a ‘virtual’ version of money. The name comes from the cryptography used to encrypt transactions and control production of the currency. It is a strictly monitored process, using blockchain. It is not issued by any central authority, making it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.
  • This technology is a distributed (in different locations) database that’s used to manage and maintain a growing list of data blocks, using a peer-to-peer (P2P network). In a blockchain, once a piece of data is recorded, it cannot be edited or changed.
  • Cryptocurrency mining. This is the process of creating new units of a cryptocurrency. To do this, you need a powerful hardware and software combination. Since the value of a currency depends on the number of units available in the market, this process should be carefully monitored to make sure the value of the existing units doesn’t depreciate.
  • Cryptocurrency price. This depends on supply and demand. If more people demand a specific cryptocurrency and it’s short in supply its value increases and more units are mined to meet the increased demand. However, many choose to restrict this number. For example, the number of Bitcoins is currently restricted to a maximum of 21 million.
  • Cryptocurrencies list. While there are many cryptocurrencies to choose from, here are some of the main ones:
  • Bitcoin. This is the most well known and currently the highest rated cryptocurrency. Interest in the market increased when its rate surged suddenly earlier this year and has continued steadily since then, despite some ups and downs. As of November 2017, the price a single Bitcoin token is around US$7,000 and it has a market capitalisation of around $100 billion.
  • Ethereum. This cryptocurrency is responsible for diluting BItcoin’s dominance in the market. Launched in 2015, it is being touted as the cryptocurrency of the future. It is decentralised, secure, and could be used to trade almost anything. An Ethereum token will set you back about US$300 and it has a market capitalisation of around $31 billion.
  • Litecoin. This is based on the same common P2P Blockchain system, but with big technical improvements. It has substantially reduced the time for transactions to be completed.
  • Ripple. This cryptocurrency allows banks around the world to directly transact with each other.
  • Dash. Otherwise known as ‘DarkCoin’, this is a highly secretive cryptocurrency. It’s almost impossible for anyone to trace where it has been routed and it is used mainly on the Darknet.

Should I buy Ethereum or invest in Bitcoin?

While the cryptocurrency market is definitely on a bull run, much like the stock market, values can also drop at short notice and the market is very volatile. It’s hard to tell whether the current surge is due to historical precedent, a monopoly on investment, or simply an easily swayed investor pool. Irrespective of the reason, it seems likely that the recent rise of cryptocurrencies will lead to some sort of drop.

 

However, experts note that while drops in value are likely, they won’t signal an end to cryptocurrency by any means. Brian Kelly, CEO, and founder of global investment management firm BKCM, said recently that Bitcoin is in the first years of what is likely to be a multi-year bull market. He explained that while there will be corrections, and even crashes along the way, Bitcoin is here to stay.

 

Investment website mic.com suggests that if you feel like investing a small amount of money in cryptocurrency, be sure not to dip into your emergency savings. It’s rarely a good idea to buy something when its price is at its all-time high. And remember that there are a lot of horses in this race.

 

If you have some ‘play’ money and want to make a bet on cryptocurrency, you should feel 100 percent comfortable with the idea of losing it all. Cryptocurrencies have crashed before, often, and probably will again in the future. They’re also historically expensive — if you must buy some, it might be wise to wait a bit for prices to drop.

Send the message. Ask the question. Start the conversation. Do the thing.

ISN’T IT TIME?

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