Do you remember purchasing your first television? I can’t remember buying my first TV, radio, VCR, or computer, but I remember buying my first iPhone. Buying that initial iPhone was truly an event, and though I didn’t know it then, the iPhone has gone on to change not only how we conduct and manage our everyday lives, but how we market and sell.

Introduced to the market on June 29th, 2007, the iPhone just celebrated its 10th birthday. Now the most popular smartphone in the world, we want to celebrate the anniversary of the iPhone by explaining the tremendous impact it has had on marketing.

We’ve Become Addicted to Our Phones

Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO, first described the iPhone as a “revolutionary product that changes everything.” We may have been skeptical in 2007, but few of us would disagree now. In fact, 50% of teens think they are addicted to their mobile devices and nearly 70% of adults check their devices at least hourly.

hurk / Pixabay

Ten years ago we marveled at what we now consider “basic” features of the iPhone, including the ability to play music, videos, and podcasts, as well as store photos and browse the web. Since then, iPhone usage and smartphone usage overall has steadily risen, with nearly three-quarters of Americans (77%) owning a smartphone. Now, we’re using our smartphones as the new hub for everything:

Over half of global website traffic comes from smartphones.

Marketers Respond By Shifting Ad Spend to Mobile

Now that everyone lives on their iPhones, we must market there, too. Not only has the iPhone changed our daily lives, but it has dramatically changed the way we approach advertising in the past 10 years. In order to target consumers where they spend their time and research purchases, many marketers started shifting their budgets to mobile. Today, more than half of digital advertising spend is mobile.

Ad recall for mobile ads is astounding, with 9 out of 10 users recalling seeing ads within the first few days of seeing them. Furthermore, nearly 50% of users take action after seeing mobile ads. Quite often this action is a phone call, especially when it comes to searching for a local business. This year, according to BIA/Kelsey, digital advertising advertising on smartphones will generate over $130 billion phone calls to U.S. businesses. According to Google, when people search on their smartphones, they are 40% more likely to call a business. This explosion of calls thanks to iPhones and smartphone is great new for marketers since phone calls convert to revenue at a high rate:

Call convert to customers and revenue

How the iPhone Changed the Way Marketers Measure, Optimize, and Target Ads

The iPhone changed marketing by also changing the tools and data that marketers need to measure and optimize performance . When we were focused on desktops, digital marketing was easy: people saw your online ads on their desktops, they visited your website on their desktops, and they converted by filling out a form on their desktops. It was all very linear. Marketers could get by with a tool like Google Analytics to understand ad performance. But thanks to the iPhone, you can’t simply measure what happens online anymore to prove marketing ROI: you need to also track phone calls.

So marketers have now adopted call tracking (or call attribution) tools to get insights into how their digital advertising and website generate calls. It’s become an important part of any business’s marketing stack. And many marketers also pass that data to their CRM systems and other marketing tools to be able to see exactly how to optimize ad spend to generate the best ROI.

The iPhone has even changed the way we think about ad targeting. We can now target in ways that didn’t seem possibly before smartphones. Options now include targeting via location radius, contextual characteristics, and retargeting based on a user’s actions, such as making a phone call on their iPhone.

What Is Next?

The iPhone may have made big waves in the advertising world in the past decade, but it isn’t finished yet — it’s still changing the way we market and conduct business. New technologies such as voice search are beginning to change the way we shop again, and it is threatening to make the keypad obsolete. According to a recent survey, nearly half of US respondents (49%) used their voice assistants on their smartphones on a weekly basis.

Smartphones Owners Use Voice Technology

Many point to voice assistants on smartphones as perhaps the next big innovation and battlefield for marketers, but time will tell. In the meantime, we know that phone calls are now a vital piece of the customer journey, and we have the iPhone to thank.

So Happy 10th Birthday, iPhone. We can’t imagine a world without you!

If you want to more about measuring and optimizing phone calls from your digital marketing, download our free guide, The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Call Attribution.