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While the decade between 2007 and 2017 marked the genesis and maturation of the mobile industry, technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are poised to accelerate this evolution even faster in the decade to come, according to Adobe—and it found marketers may not be as prepared for the coming changes as their counterparts in IT.
That’s according to Adobe’s latest report, The Next Mobile Decade, which includes a survey of nearly 500 marketing and IT professionals’ priorities and investments in mobile.
Adobe said most respondents have a centralized mobile leadership team, which means mobile strategy is no longer an afterthought. That being said, there’s still potential misalignment between marketers and that must be reconciled if brands want to capitalize on mobile technology and derive maximum benefit for their customers.
Marketers at least seem to view mobile websites as slightly more important than apps: Sixty-nine percent of marketers and 84 percent of IT professionals said apps are extremely or very important, whereas 81 percent of marketers and 83 percent of IT professionals said mobile websites are extremely or very important.
“IT decision-makers report a much higher importance of mobile apps than their marketing counterparts,” Adobe said. “This year we saw a year-over-year decline in the importance of mobile apps and mobile websites for marketers, with more ranking them as ‘very’ important versus ‘extremely.’ This might suggest that marketers are beginning to see mobile as a central component of an integrated strategy and no longer the hot new thing.”
Both groups said they’re somewhat more likely to focus their mobile efforts on apps over the mobile web with the top reason being broader reach and customer preference.
“At least two-thirds of marketers and IT decision-makers report apps being an extension of their web strategy,” Adobe said. “The primary functions and use cases for apps vary, but customer loyalty is still key to both audiences.”
Both IT pros and marketers said roughly one-third of their technology spend goes to apps or mobile sites—and retail companies report the highest overall tech spend for apps and mobile websites, with 42 percent of their budgets going toward apps and 45 percent toward mobile websites.
More than half of marketers said at least a quarter of their digital marketing budget is allocated to mobile acquisition, with an average of 34 percent. Adobe said a balanced approach to media—including paid, earned and owned—works best. But, for apps, paid media is chosen most often to drive customer acquisition, whereas owned media is preferred for mobile websites.
Adobe found IT professionals are more likely than marketers to measure app engagement and usage over time and said marketers “seem to be missing an important opportunity to learn more about their customers and their marketing efforts.”
Adobe also found IT professionals are more concerned than marketers about leveraging AI and other emerging technologies.
When asked how important leveraging AI will be to improve the mobile experience in the next three years, IT professionals said they are more concerned (53 percent) than marketers (34 percent).
Adobe found a similar split when it came to AR and VR experiences and the Internet of Things (IoT) and also that IT professionals are more likely to have a defined strategy for deployment or limited releases and tests in location-based marketing, IoT, AI, near-field communication (NFC) for content/offer delivery, personal assistants, chatbots, mixed reality, AR and VR.
“What has happened is that marketing—becoming increasingly digital—deals more with analytics and the need for real-time automation,” an Adobe rep said in an email. “The net effect is that marketing now becomes an important stakeholder when it comes to IT tech purchasing. It requires that the two teams work together, to implement and manage the tech stack that every company has. The two teams have to work together to drive having a clear/comprehensive view of the customer and be able to deliver a consistent experience on every touch point.”