Assessing Mobile Predictions To See If I Was Seer or Fool

Before I forecast the next six months in mobile, I revisited my last series of predictions to see if I was a seer or a fool. Happily and perhaps surprising to some of you, I envisioned much of what went down over the second half of 2010: Last June, I said that more ads were coming and so were questions and concerns about privacy. According to a new report by Millennial Media, verticals stunningly got active in mobile marketing during 2010. The financial services category grew an eye-opening 802 percent year-over-year, while retail and restaurants moved by 745 percent.  The telecommunications vertical was right behind with 719 percent growth. Overall, according to market intelligence firm IDC, spending on mobile advertising in the U.S. grew 138 percent to reach $877.2 million in 2010. As for privacy, Facebook, among many others, continued to be cited for lapses (if not downright intentional information sharing). According to an October report in the Wall Street Journal,\ many of the most popular applications on Facebook had been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies. The issue affected tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook's strictest privacy settings. Still, Facebook had a stellar 2010 with a high-profile movie, appearance by Mark Zuckerberg as Time’s Person of the Year, and the site eclipsing Google as the most visited on the Web. In my last set of predictions, I said that mobile loyalty clubs will continue to gain favor given their success to date. According to Hipcricket’s third annual survey ,both interest and participation in mobile loyalty clubs remained steady at 35 percent and 9 percent respectively. However, the research found that 90 percent of those who had participated in a mobile loyalty club gained value from being a part of the club, representing a significant untapped opportunity for brands. In June, I said that complexity was returning to phone bills positioned by the carriers as more transparency. In 2010, Verizon and AT&T moved to tiered data pricing. Has anyone stopped to think that text messaging became a mass activity – 72 percent of all U.S. subscribers – and super easy, if not easy peasy, when unlimited plans were introduced and suitably priced? Now we are going to ask mobile subscribers to count “MBs” and “GBs.” Yeah, you can go to a Web site or send a text and get an update, but who has the time or interest to do that? Finally, I predicted that Google and Apple were in back rooms trying to wrest additional influence from the mobile operators. A story in late December suggested that Google could become a mobile carrier in 2011. The report was widely dismissed by Google and mobile watchers, but it doesn’t change the fact that Google and Apple are all about gaining additional control from carriers who need them. Their maneuvers in 2011 are likely to be among the most intriguing. (Article first appeared on iMedia Connection --