The amount of time Americans spend on their mobile devices daily has increased by seven times since 2010. 

By 2020, there will be 6 billion smartphones in use across the globe, each one more powerful than the Deep Blue super computer that beat chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov at his own game 20 years ago. 

And with the rise of millennials, whose attachment to their phones is already legendary — over 75 percent of millennials spend over two hours per day on their smartphone — it's clear that engagement levels will continue to rise.

What does this mean for MarTech? 

Room to Grow

Foundation Capital predicts that by 2025, the amount of money being pumped into mobile marketing and advertising will grow by 10 times — yielding a market value of approximately $600 billion.

media time vs ad money spent on mobile

Today, while 23 percent of users’ time is spent on mobile, only 13 percent of ad spend is there — leaving a $50 billion gap for growth (pdf).

Forecast of mobile spend by 2025

Forecast of total mobile ad spends by 2025 from Foundation Capitol

As you might expect, a huge number of mobile tech startups have emerged to take advantage of this opportunity, but it also presents a chance for more established companies to re-make themselves as mobile leaders, and position themselves for even greater success going forward.

Established companies must do a number of things to become a mobile leader, but a desire to adapt is the most essential. As I previously wrote in The Decade of the CMO, re-making your company as a mobile leader requires a change in organizational mindset — translating a website to a mobile design is not enough. From building an app to collecting data, and then using that data to mold the app into a relevant, feature-rich experience, mobile-first companies are constantly learning, adapting and refining to improve the customer experience.

Uber is one of the best examples of a successful mobile-first company. Its mobile experience is entirely focused on helping users find a ride as quickly and easily as possible. The desktop view of its site, however, assumes that a customer is more interested in their account history, and elevates that information so it's easy to access. In this way, it's giving its customers the best possible experience in both situations — which ultimately translates to a high rate of customer satisfaction and retention.

Larger, more traditional companies are now investing big money to make themselves more mobile-friendly. According to Forrester, Hilton Worldwide is investing $550 million to better serve its guests not just in its hotels, but before they arrive and after they check out. And Home Depot recently committed $1.5 billion to improve its backend systems and supply chain to make mobile ordering easier than ever.

3 Factors to Consider

To truly take advantage of the opportunity presented by a $600B market though, there are other things a mobile-first company needs to consider.

1. Is your mobile experience beautiful and fully featured?

A mobile-first design philosophy can exponentially increase your customer base. Pinterest, for example, was a hugely successful website first, being the fastest site ever to reach 10 million unique visitors. And yet a year after it went mobile in 2012, it had 70 million users, including 500,000 business accounts.

2. Have you built a mobile-marketing stack to effectively track and target your customers in their micro-moments of need?

By combining customer data with marketing automation, you can deliver the right offer to the right person at the most opportune moment — thereby expanding your potential customer base and increasing sales. As previously noted, people are spending more time than ever on their phones, offering company's a treasure trove of data they can use to their benefit.

3. Are you taking advantage of the additional sensors and features that mobile enables?

Even as it becomes an essential part of a marketer's playbook, mobile marketing is still in its infancy, and there are a number of open questions about how its impact will be felt across such verticals as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, medicine, finance and more. Additionally it remains to be seen how concerns about online privacy and identity will impact the extent to which consumer can be targeted.

Still, the $600 billion market opportunity is coming, so the time to act is now. From 2012 to 2014, the compound annual growth rate of mobile leaders was twice that of mobile laggards, and we anticipate that this differential will only grow in the years ahead.

The good news is that there are a number of startups, like Yozio and Localytics, dedicated to helping companies navigate the changing landscape and transform themselves into mobile leaders. It will take a commitment of resources, time and often a change in organizational mindset, but the potential for huge rewards makes a mobile-first mindset a must for every company.