So, 2013 is over. What can we expect this year in the mobile arena?

Well, there is one particular area that interests me, as it touches on other upcoming mobile areas — which in themselves are fascinating when trying to predict the future.


Yes, we’ve heard it all before. But I do believe that 2014 will see the escalation of mobile monies to a level where we will all start to take it seriously. 

We saw the continued rise of mobile advertising last year, and there is still much work to do. Creative concepts are being developed more and more (much needed); pricing has become sensitive, especially when considering the likes of programmatic trading); and context becomes key as we tailor our offerings.

Mobile is expected to take 8.4% of all ad spend by 2015, according to media industry research Web site MediaPost.

One area of growth here is the so-called “native advertising.” Content and context have always been considerations in the marketing of any product, but with our increasingly digital-aware customers, content and context are now simply essential.

Offering consumers relevant information and/or entertaining content that is tailor-made to a specific context works much more strongly than any traditional approach to advertising. 

The strength of “context-driven content” is what’s driving native. Just look at what’s happening in social media: LinkedIn has its sponsored updates, Twitter has promoted tweets, etc.

In our media industry, there are now many news brands’ own native ad offerings, too. Have you looked further here into this new revenue stream?

I don’t have the time or space here to delve deeply, but check out what opportunities await you. In fact, check out this link from a leading specialist in this space, London’s Tan Media, for news on the New York Times’ plans for native.

Still, with monetisation, m-commerce levels are predicted to continue to grow at pace in the coming year. The latest predictions regarding the increase in mobile commerce activity among consumers were reported recently by e-commerce provider 3dcart, which expects a significant increase in investment in mobile commerce solutions.

The increase was fueled by retailers over the recent festive season, during which a number of initiatives took place. The Christmas period saw a 15% increase in overall e-commerce transactions to US$61.8 billion (£38.8 billion).

This new year, meanwhile, will see more emphasis on mobile solutions by retailers across the world. During 2013, mobile retail transactions rose by 67% over 2012, with this figure only likely to grow further in 2014.

It is also expected that this increased demand and interest for m-commerce will provide real, tangible benefits for both companies and consumers themselves, as people have easier access to their favourite brands and services (and corresponding/complemenatry offers).

And here’s one to watch!  Linked to the above, we all continuously fumble for cash or try to remember our credit card pin numbers. Well, a new service from PayPal now enables stores to identify customers — and charge them — via a simple photograph.

This is not fanciful, but indeed is currently being used by major brands such as Pizza Express and the Thai restaurant chain Busaba Eathai.

PayPal now has added the option to search for local shops using its existing service. Once a user has selected a venue, such as a restaurant or coffee shop, they can “check in” via their mobile device.

The computers in the store then show to the staff photos of the customers who are checked in. When payment is required, employees can simply select a customer (recognised by his photo), and charge his PayPal account.

With this system, Paypal claims, a single password could replace credit and debit card pins (and cash to some extent!). And as Paypal is now accepted online by major retailers, user stores say the service is popular because it replaces the process of having to enter a 16-digit debit/credit card number.

As I say, PayPal is just one to watch for a glimpse of the shaping monetisation eco-system that we will see begin to take flight this year.

Finally, mobile apps and their monetisation. What we know from 2013 is that Apple’s App Store took US$10 billion in gross revenue. Apple keeps US$3 billion, and US$7 billion goes to the app developers. (For some context, the overall app market is about US$15 billion.)

In-app purchases seem to be very much en vogue, and for proof we need look no further than the new, famous “Talking Tom Cat (more than 10 million apps downloaded worldwide).

In short, a user can enhance what she does with Tom, i.e. dress him up, buy accessories, etc., by playing a game with him and winning virtual coins. Or you can simply buy these “coins” with your credit card immediately.

Watch this space on all this, but a model for us all in future? We will see how it all pans out in 2014.

All the above point to a focus on monetisation. The holy grail which we all so crave.

Finally, a true mobile 2.0, if you will?