Mobile marketing’s great expectations

It’s been a big week for mobile marketing.  On Tuesday Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared to the world, “Now we are a mobile company.” Then on Wednesday Apple unveiled its new iPhone 5, with a larger screen that can accommodate more apps. These are interesting—and related—developments for mobile marketers for a few reasons.

One of the apps that is bound to be landing on most of those expanded iPhone screens is Facebook’s. The monster of social media is integrated into the iOS 6 operating system incorporated in the iPhone, and that is a very big deal according to one agency technology head.

“Last year Twitter integrated with the iPhone and and Twitter subscribers jumped 25%. Now Facebook will likewise be integrated. People will be able to walk down the street, talk to Siri, and post to their timelines,” says John Haro, chief technology officer of the Chicago-based mobile marketing vendor Vibes.

Another feature of interest on the iPhone 5 is Passbook, which allows marketers and retailers to interact with customers who are in or near their stores. “Coupons, loyalty points, movie tickets—this moves front and center on the phone,” Haro says. “Marketers will be able to play with things like offering people 20% discounts when they walk past a store carrying their brands.”

Forrester Research principal analyst Charles Golvin, who attended the iPhone5 launch, says that Apple’s updates to the device adds velocity to a long-building trend. “It’s just another advancement in the trend that mobile is the first screen people turn to,” he observes.

This is likely the reason for Facebook’s public commitment to mobile, as it’s the medium that the company expects will drive its growth. “People will interact with Facebook differently on their phones than they do on their computers,” Haro says. “It’s a whole new level of intimacy. Mobile is the future for any social media company.”

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