A new year is upon us, a chance to make positive changes in our lives and get a fresh start. The impending New Year also prompts companies to evaluate their 2014 marketing strategies to see what worked and what could be improved upon.

Mobile marketing has skyrocketed in recent months, as evidenced by record Black Friday sales on mobile devices, and there is no reason to believe this will change any time soon. Between the need for mobile-friendly websites and the widespread use of apps, marketers are scrambling to accommodate these new technologies and target consumers more effectively.

After scouring the internet for mobile marketing trends, here are five things that marketers should keep on their radar in the coming year:

  • Apps are still making an impact

Companies across industries are reaping the benefits of a mobile app, especially retailers, the media, and consumer services companies. Apps offer a mobile shopping experience, exclusive deals, and personalized content for the mobile user.

However, do you need to have both a responsive website and an app?

Generally speaking, having a responsive website is a necessity; people are accessing content from a variety of devices nowadays, and a website that’s not compatible across devices won’t see as much engagement and return visits. A 2012 Google study found that 74% of people said they would return to a website if it worked well on their mobile device. On the other hand, 55% expressed that a poor user experience would hurt their opinions of that brand.

Determining whether or not you need an app on top of a responsive website comes down to knowing your audience and what their preferences are. If you are targeting a very “connected” market, need to provide educational resources, or have a product or service that consumers purchase regularly, then having an app is a great supplement.

Apps allow another opportunity to get in the consumer’s mind and hopefully put your brand at the top for consideration. Your website serves as an information powerhouse, the place where people learn how your company can meet their needs. An app complements by providing a personalized, branded approach and keeping people engaged with a more “human” element to marketing. This keeps your prospects sticking around longer and potentially turning them into customers.

To keep up with the rapidly expanding variety of apps on the market, make sure yours is customer-focused, easy to use, and creates an experience that will make the user want to come back and use it again. Keep your apps up-to-date and looking current so customers recognize your company as such, but don’t overdo it with constant updates. I can probably speak for a lot of people when I say that getting an alert to update my Facebook app every week gets old fast.

  • Be careful with your advertising

Ads are everywhere, this is nothing new, but it seems that consumers’ perceptions of advertising have changed a bit. With the amount of technology readily available to us, we really are in the driver’s seat. We can say “yes” to watching an ad on the side of a webpage by clicking on it, or we can choose to skip an ad that plays before our favorite YouTube video. That’s why it’s more important than ever to understand your audience and the types of ads that they are receptive to.

Mobile app tracking tool AppsFlyer breaks consumers down into four categories when it comes to mobile marketing:

  • those who ignore marketing completely,
  • those who are indifferent,
  • those who want to control what marketing they consume,
  • and those who are open to receiving marketing messages and are indifferent to what types of content they receive.

It’s essential to know where your customers fall so you can target appropriately.

Mobile advertising is a crucial part of the marketing mix, but remember that not everyone is going to be a fan of it. When Facebook announced that they were going to start monitoring the number of ads displayed in a user’s newsfeed, they were praised for it.

This doesn’t mean we should ditch advertising altogether; we just have to be more strategic in how we reach our target audience. By allowing people to opt-in to email marketing or advertising, then you aren’t wasting your energy on people who are indifferent or uninterested.

  • The rise of mobile pay

People have been making purchases on mobile devices for a little while now, but like every other technology, something easier and more efficient is bound to come along.

The latest trend indicates an increase in using mobile pay, where you can simply hold your phone in front of an electronic scanner to make a purchase. Mobile pay is being regarded as a potential solution to identity theft and fraud because shoppers will no longer need a wallet full of credit cards that are susceptible to being stolen.

While this isn’t something that is going to be unanimously adopted overnight, all signs point to mobile pay as the predominant form of payment in the future. We are already seeing a similar form of adoption when it comes to store loyalty cards, where cashiers can simply scan a barcode on your phone and you receive store rewards and discounts. Some stores have this feature right in their mobile app, and for those that don’t, you can use the Passbook or Key Ring apps that come standard in your smartphone.

  • Video will continue its upward climb

According to a study by eMarketer, we should expect to see the number of people consuming video on a digital device top 200 million in the U.S. in 2015. That’s almost two-thirds of the population! While we’ve already seen the largest expected transition over to mobile, with about 23% of people using smartphones to access video content, this number will continue to rise (just at a slower pace) in the coming years.

This doesn’t mean we should abandon ship when it comes to more “traditional” devices. Desktops and laptops are still the primary means of accessing video, so companies are now faced with the challenge of appealing to a large number of devices and making sure their content is easily accessible and compatible.

What won’t change is the impact that video has from an advertising and entertainment perspective. How many times have we heard that if you aren’t using images or video in your marketing that you’re missing out? Whether you’re catching up on Modern Family reruns or checking out a how-to video for a recipe, video plays a critical role in the consumer experience.

  • Keep branding consistent across mediums

Companies are beginning to be more strategic in their marketing approach, ensuring that users have the best possible experience when interacting with their brand. How often do you find yourself using multiple devices throughout a search process? Probably quite frequently. Because of this, it is essential to provide a seamless transition between physical locations, websites, mobile sites, and apps to keep a consistent brand image.

There are so many things to keep in mind when it comes to your company’s marketing strategy that it’s seemingly impossible to focus on every one of them. The best way to determine which tactics to pursue is to look at your analytics to see what’s already working and what isn’t. Then analyze your customer base; who are these people, what type of marketing content do they like to interact with, and how frequently do they want to engage with content? If you can answer these questions, you’ll definitely get your New Year started on the right foot.