2015 saw the mobile marketing space continually evolve at an aggressive pace to amass a splendid list of hits. These range from brands leveraging beacons to pull off innovative campaigns to mobile ad spend surpassing desktop in terms of search queries and television in terms of time spent. At the same time, marketers dropped the ball on several fronts such as the limited marketing opportunities offered by live-streaming apps.

Without much ado, let us take a look at the some of the biggest wins and losses in the mobile marketing space, from which you can take cue to better engage your consumers in 2016.

Mobile marketing wins of 2015

1. Mobile exceeded desktop ad spend to reach $30.4 billion

2015 will go down in history as a landmark year for ad spending in the US, as mobile surpasses desktop ad spending for the first time. Back in 2011, eMarketer had aggressively projected that mobile ad spend in the U.S. would quadruple from $1.2 billion to $4.4 billion by 2015. In reality, mobile ad spend in 2015 was $30.4 billion, exceeding that expectation by seven times! It comes as no surprise then, that 51.9% of total digital spending in 2015 was expected to come from mobile.

To punctuate a benchmark year, Flurry recently released a report stating that 2015 saw U.S consumers spend more time on mobile apps (198 minutes) than watching TV (168 minutes).

2. Real Madrid pioneered beacon usage in football industry to target fans on social media

2015 saw sports teams and venue owners all over the world, make huge technology investments to meet their fans’ demands for more interactivity and information. So much so that, fan experience went beyond the game itself in a holistic sense. A good example of this is how Real Madrid used iBeacon technology to target fans with unique and relevant social media content, during their China Tour this year.

The fans who interacted with the beacon broadcasted content were then entered into a prize draw for having shared the content on their WeChat or Weibo (a Chinese microblogging website) social media channels. Fans who did not attend the matches were also allowed to enter the sweepstake to win Real Madrid home shirts signed by all the players, commemorative scarves etc, if they had already been following Real Madrid’s official social media accounts before the matches.

All in all, the prize drawing generated a huge social media buzz among Real Madrid fans,  that drove the viewership of the beacon content over eight million. This clearly highlights the fact that brands needn’t look any further than beacons to ramp up their mobile marketing strategy with uber-enhanced experiences in 2016.

3. UberEATS successfully paired on-demand drivers and food delivery


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One of the biggest wins for mobile marketing in 2015 is that it saw mobile become more deeply entrenched in the lives of consumers. This is clearly depicted by the way in which Uber ran pilot programs across various cities including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Barcelona, aiming to boldly deliver food in just 10 minutes.

While it initially started off as a tab ‘EATS’ within the standard Uber app, allowing users to drop the pin on their location, hit “View Menu” and to order food, the San Francisco tech giant recently announced the launch of their standalone UberEATS app early December. This is just another sign that Uber sees itself as more of a technology company than a cab company by looking to fight the likes of Seamless and Grubhub.

Missed mobile marketing opportunities

1. Meerkat and Periscope offered limited marketing opportunities


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In the midst of all the above-mentioned hits, few mobile marketing developments failed to live up to their potential this year. The primary ones being, live-streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope, which debuted with significant fanfare in spring 2015. However, in a matter of months, these apps were quickly relegated by brands as a niche opportunity since both the apps currently don’t offer a formal ad product with creative controls, for the brands to capitalize on.  

That said, we’re still in the embryonic stage of mobile live streaming. Adding on to that, most broadcasters still haven’t figured out what makes for compelling content. Keep a close watch on this next year to see which app will survive the mobile live-streaming space.  

2. Instagram Ads saw slow uptake


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Earlier this fall, Instagram with the slow uptake of its advertising offering, looked like it might have been headed toward a prominent place on the list of the biggest misses of 2015. However, once the ads became more broadly available in October, more and more retailers have started to jump on Instagram Ad bandwagon. Experts predict that advertisers will be keeping a close eye on the results to see if they should be joining in 2016.

All in all, besides a few misses, 2015 has been a promising year for mobile marketing. The strong growth in the adoption of mobile coupled with demand from consumers is leading to ingenious ideas, innovative campaigns, and unprecedented user experience. We need to keep a close watch on the year to come!