Most purchases, half of transactions to be mobile by 2015: Google

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Two-thirds of all purchases and half of transactions will occur on mobile devices by 2015, Google executives said February 4. Consumer coupons will also transition from their current rate of 80% push to 80% opt-in four years from now, said David Shapiro, Google's director of small business marketing.

“Marketers must follow the four B's,” said Shapiro, speaking at a Direct Marketing Association (DMA) breakfast at Google's New York offices. “Be relevant. Be found. Be engaging and be accountable.”

Consumers will also digest 80% of all visual content through digital by 2015, he added. Shapiro said 1.9 billion people globally were active on the Internet by the end of last year, while 5 billion people were mobile subscribers and more than 800 exabytes of digital information were created. Google predicted that 5 billion people will be active on the Web by 2020, while 10 billion people will be mobile subscribers, and 53 zettabytes of digital information will have been created.

“Mobile will be bigger than desktop in five years,” Shapiro added. “Mobile searches grew five times in the last two years.”

Shapiro said search is “still the Web's killer app,” adding that mobile and search are becoming increasingly interconnected. One-third of Google mobile searches have local intent, he said. Consumers want to find nearby businesses, whether they are open, and how far away they are.

“Last year, 50 million new websites launched,” Shapiro said. “Google wants to match [consumers] with what [businesses] want to sell and the right context [for ads].”

Michael Becker, North America managing director at the Mobile Marketing Association, said mobile has become a principle marketing channel.

“Mobile is the third most used medium, second to the telephone and Internet,” he said. “We need to drop the words direct and mobile and just call it marketing…because of mobile's unique and personal nature, every marketer is a direct marketer.”

However, Lawrence Kimmel, CEO of the DMA, urged attendees not to abandon direct mail for digital. He said direct mail spending increased 2.2% in 2010 and predicted it will grow anywhere from 3% to 5% this year.

“Everyone moved away from direct mail because digital was the new kid on the block,” Kimmel said. “But direct mail is a $47 billion business. It's incredibly important and it still works.”

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