It’s amazing how prevalent mobile has become in our everyday culture. With the rise in usage of mobile devices, marketing practices have certainly followed. In place of billboards and radio advertisements, brands have evolved and taken strides towards targeting users via the platforms that they use the most on a more personal level – their mobile devices.

What exactly changed other than mobile devices? Are people engaging in different activities? Are their interests changing? No, the only thing that has changed has been the platform and the accessibility. 11 Eleven years ago before smartphones went mainstream, people were more inclined to divide up their attention. This would span across books, television, computers, and other sources of media. In the present day, we have phones that integrate all of these things into one, making our experiences more personal and our preferences more defined. The introduction to Artificial Intelligence is enabling more machine learning so our devices can learn from us, while we learn from then.

This all happened in such a short span of time. Where did it begin? How fast were people to adopt these technologies and how long did it take for brands to feel confident enough to invest large sums of money in mobile marketing?

Read on to find out!

2003 Short Message Service (Texting) Becomes Worldwide

Can we even remember life before texting? What is seen as such an essential technology today has not even been widely used for 20 years yet we think of it like oxygen or water. This gave rise to the significance that mobile played in everyone’s daily lives, slowly integrating it with everyone’s life.

According to Pew Research Center, there was a 63% increase in cell phone ownership among teens ages 12-17, which set up the next stage of mobile adoption. Smart phones!

2007 – The First iPhone is Released

On June 29th, 2007 the world of technology would change forever. The release of the iPhone gave a whole new meaning to the use of cell phones. Devices that were once used to simply communicate via phone calls, text messages, and an occasional email (typically if you had a blackberry for work) was going to be put on digital (and financial) steroids. As you can see, things didn’t work out for blackberry.

2008 – The First Android is Released

Not crazy about Apple products and didn’t want to by buy into the hype of the new release? Many fell into this category and were more likely to be interested in the HTC Dream, Google’s first Android phone. This offered many of the same capabilities as Apple’s first smartphone.

The introduction of smartphones (Apple and Android) changed the way people did things. From the way they navigate, to the methods of communication, and even the methods of entertainment, people saw potential in smartphones, where marketers found opportunity.

2008 – The App Store Goes Live

2008 changed everything for mobile use, and eventually mobile marketing. Apple’s App Store enabled users to download and install thousands of apps (most of which were free) that would add more uses for their mobile devices. This meant users can integrate apps like their work emails and social media platforms in with their calendars, and capitalize on services that were never before viable on a mobile device, such as paying taxes, editing videos, reviewing restaurants, and much more.

The App Store changed cell phones from a simple communication device, to a hub that enabled users to do just about whatever they wanted from the palms of their hands. How did this affect the future for mobile marketing? It ensured marketers that there would be an open platform with millions of users in which they could invest in. Having more reasons to be on one’s phone provides more opportunities for marketers to reach their audience, which increased the needs for marketers to be able to integrate their practices in with what users were doing via their mobile devices.

2013 – Mobile Payments Goes Mainstream

While it may have taken time for users to adopt, mobile payments have become huge in the world of digital marketing. 2013 was when this became more prevalent and as more people turned to mobile devices for their payment methods, e-commerce companies made the adjustment.

Fast forward to 2018 and everyone is a few taps away from buying whatever they need from their phones. This has given rise to the digital advertising industry, which has heavily impacted the success of major companies like Google and Facebook.

2016 – Mobile Marketing Spending Catapults

This was when brands really started to direct their marketing budgets towards digital (mobile, in particular). The mobile marketing industry has more than tripled over the course of the past three years, and that is not by coincidence. By 2016, more websites were designed for mobile devices, more companies had their own apps, and the average time spent on a mobile device skyrocketed!

Mobile marketing wasn’t only a success for large brands, but for small businesses as well. For example, instead of relying on the yellow pages, a local coffee shop can optimize their website to rank for search phrases like “great coffee shops near me”.

2018 – The Culture of Mobile Today

The way people use their mobile devices is constantly changing because new apps are constantly being integrated into the daily lives of their users. Say you’re a beer connoisseur and are searching for a great Long Island IPA. You can rate your favorite beers on an app, which suggests other beers, based on your ratings.

What’s Next

As we have seen over the course of the last 15 years, technology will evolve, therefore giving rise to innovation, which increases the capabilities of the very same technology. As people adapt to their mobile devices, they become more reliant on them, which gives marketing an opportunity to reach them in ways unlike ever before.

Will the cycle continue? Of course.

Smartphones now have fingerprint, facial, and retina scanning technologies that make mobile devices more personal than ever. The more personal the devices get, the more people will use them, which opens up even more opportunities for brands to capitalize.