The burgeoning communications sector for marketers is mobile applications. However, the popularity of the smartphone has fueled growth in other more conventional communications arenas, particularly email.

Dave Hendricks, president of LiveIntent, a New York City-based real time advertising email marketing company, recalled that before the smartphone, individuals used email almost exclusively at their desktop at work and at their computers at home. However, they were offline on the way home from work — or while they were at lunch or dinner, with the exception of Blackberry users.

“Since the rise of the smartphone and the tablet, email has become the number one thing done on any smartphone device,” Hendricks said. He said that 25 minutes to 28 minutes of every hour by mobile users is spent in respect to emails.

Hendricks was one of a host of participants at last week’s “The Incite Summit: East” conference at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan. Incite Marketing and Communications of Hoboken, N.J. hosted the two-day event.

You are Your Email Address

Hendricks stated the obvious: email is an integral part of mobile communications. “You cannot use a mobile device effectively without an email address. Try doing it. The unboxing procedure of a mobile phone or a tablet involves putting your email address into the phone so that you can receive mail on it.”

He added that Yosemite and iOS8 took email addresses and used them to bind all of a user’s other devices together. “So your identity is your email address. What mobile has done is allow you to be reached wherever you are from this one identity string (email address),” he said.

Heather Sears, vice president of marketing for YP (also known as the Yellow Pages), said that data culled from users of YP.com (approximately half of the 80 million unique visitors are mobile device users) is analyzed by YP personnel, including data scientists, to determine shopping behavior and patterns, customer loyalty, etc. This information is then shared with YP clients.

Sears heads the marketing efforts for the company’s National Markets group that services national brands and national agencies. She noted that the company has more than 150 million consumer profiles and each profile has approximately more than 1,000 attributes. 

She related that while studies continue to show that 20 percent of all media minutes are taking place on mobile devices, many advertising and marketing firms are still struggling to try and convert many of those users into customers.

Not a Seamless Experience

While both believe that mobile communications will continue to grow, the sector has its share of problems. Hendricks said that mobile advertising has its share of issues, such as formatting problems, for example. “Mobile is truly vexing everybody,” he said, noting that most mobile display ads have an X on them which leads to what he termed as “false engagement.” 

Other issues he cited include formatting problems when viewing conventional websites on Safari and Chrome, as well as a majority of mobile advertising that is “disruptive,” such as ads appearing in between levels of mobile games.

He also said businesses that focus on making it easier to complete a transaction with a mobile device are highly successful. Hendricks noted that most mobile users use their desktop to complete online transactions because the processes on mobile devices are either impossible or too difficult to complete.

Title image by Roel Wijnants  (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.