Microsoft To Buy Nokia and Other Predictions
Looking back, 2010 saw increased usage and understanding of location-based services, as geo-fencing went mainstream and location data emerged as a new mine for marketing insights. From apps to operators, there was a surge in location-based mobile technology offerings. O2, a major carrier in the UK, turned on geo-fence mobile marketing to over 1m opt-in customers, with Starbucks and L’Oreal as the first brands on board. These events were all predictions that Placecast made for 2010.
In 2011, we predict that local mobile advertising will be a new media darling market. BIA Kelsey has reported that mobile local advertising in 2011 will reach $692m, climbing steadily to over $2bn by 2014, and Google has recently gone on record to say this this market is its priority.
In addition to businesses and advertisers, we will see carriers playing major roles in the acceptance and understanding of location-based services in countries all around the world next year. So what will 2011 bring? Three ‘M’s; Maturity; Mass-scale; and Microsoft’s big bet.” Here are our five predictions for 2011
1. Carriers make a comeback and will reach 50m opt-in consumers with location-based marketing at mass-scale
2011 is the year that carriers take back the lead in location-based mobile marketing, leveraging the trusted relationship they have with their subscribers, combined with access to location information. Carriers will combine to reach over 100m consumers with their own location-based marketing programs in 2011, making them a major player. Expect to see more carriers rolling out opt-in location based offers, coupons and other services that help consumers understand the environment around them and what’s available at that moment. SMS will beat the sexy app stereotype as carriers’ preferred method of contacting consumers.
2. Facebook wins the location wars - Foursquare pivots and Gowalla goes cult status. Apps aim beyond the check-in for cool factor
The game-mechanics of just checking-in will not be enough to maintain media buzz and interest, even according to Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley. For that reason, like Facebook’s own Places product, both Foursquare and Gowalla each have under 10m active users in 2010. Despite Foursquare’s push into deals and discounts, Facebook will combine its scale with engineering talent to surpass both startups in 2011. Most will think this is solely their integration of 'deals' but in fact, Facebook will invest in traditional offline marketing to drive its leadership in the space. But look out - Mark Andreesen, an investor in Foursquare and board member of Facebook,will most likely still lead Foursquare into new areas that won’t be touched by Facebook, with the hopes of helping Foursquare pivot beyond the check-in. Gowalla won’t be so lucky.
Companies like Foursquare and Gowalla will need to go beyond the check-in and find ways for consumers to connect, once inside a location. Expect more interest in the technology of proximity-based sharing 'after the check-in' such as that developed by apps like Bump and LoKast.
3. Location land grab comes to an offline location near you
2011 is the year that location-based mobile begins to play a substantial role accessing in the $133bn local media budget*. Using location and tracking closely with the trend to buy more locally, expect to see yellow page companies, Facebook and Google all launching hyper-local mobile offerings for consumers that tap the SMB (small to medium-sized business) budget and siphon dollars away from traditional channels. Expect bigger marketing and advertising budgets by location-based services to appear in more TV programming, commercials, stadium announcements, and other offline events, ranging from the Super Bowl to NBA games and NASCAR races. Groupon will continue on its seemingly unstoppable hot streak, integrating more mobile and location-based (beyond just city input) services into its offerings in 2011.
4. Google’s Android platform matures, catches up on infrastructure to match Apple’s iOS
2010 was a big year for Google. After finally getting approval from the FTC on the AdMob acquisition, the company showed signs of integration at the end of the year, with much more to come in 2011. From a developer standpoint, Android will be challenged a bit by device fragmentation, but the platform will finally crack the code on in-app payments, improve app discovery, and continue to buy mobile startups. Also, look for Android to explode in markets like India, thanks to groundbreaking concepts like Bollywood music streaming via Google OneBox search, and the availability of ever more affordable smartphones.
5. Microsoft needs to do something big, and will buy Nokia
Microsoft has a viable mobile operating system to replace Symbian, as well as brand reach, consumer base, and the ability to build a developer ecosystem, while Nokia brings handset manufacturing and the distribution power of hundreds of millions of handset sales each year around the world. The combination creates a viable third competitor to Apple and Android in the smartphone handset market. This year Nokia replaced its CEO with Microsoft exec Stephen Elop so the bond remains for a potential ‘speed-dial deal’ between Espoo, Finland and Redmond, Washington. Other players to watch include Dell, HP and Comcast.
Alistair Goodman is CEO of location-based services firm, Placecast