Part 1: What Major Trends of 2018 in Mobile will Carry Forward into 2019?

19 December 2018

By Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings

In today’s mobile application-crazed society, consumers expect “smart” applications that understand their behavior, anticipate their needs, and offer relevant solutions. By moving beyond point-in-time pin-drop location services to augment the application with user data in context, mobile marketers can provide a more valuable, contextual user experience that will drive engagement and loyalty. In this two-part series, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, founder and CEO of Connecthings, offers insights on trends emerging in mobile, mobile user engagement, apps that will be most popular, and how businesses will use mobile apps for improved productivity.

Our recent survey, “The State of Mobile Application Usage,” revealed several useful trends for the mobile space related to location data, user behavior and privacy standards, but one overarching theme emerged as a clear indicator of what lies in the future for mobile — applications that deliver experiences and enhance services based on user context will have an increasingly competitive edge, ultimately improving engagement, strengthening the brand and retaining users in the long-term.

After combing through the data and discussing customer experiences with our clients and partners, we put our collective thoughts together to offer some predictions pertaining to mobile trends for 2019. Here is part one of our two-part series.

More Discerning Users

People are downloading apps at an astounding rate, but the competition is fierce for who will win users’ brand loyalty for the long-term. Next year, we’ll see a more mature, discerning user who is taking control over their phone and knows how to tamper solicitations and control privacy. Engagement and retention might be as or more important than user acquisition. The power will shift from regulators and corporations to users and civil organizations demanding more changes, faster.

The key to loyalty is engaging users at the right moments when the content is most valuable. So, apps need to learn when those moments are and what information the user will want. As we turn the calendar to 2019, we anticipate the following trends:

  • Users will continue to want fewer, but timely, contextually relevant content and notifications. They will want to be able to decide what information they want to receive and when – be it plain content of ad targeting.
  • Users will continue to value either richer, longer, more insightful content pieces (e.g., podcasts, TED videos) and/or more visually-driven experiences (e.g., Instagram over Facebook, stories over news feeds, videos and pictures over posts).
  • Users will value more curated and “ethically-sourced” content. Human intelligence will retake control of AI.
  • More apps will be available to help users control time on apps / mobile phones. Their adoption rates will increase steadily, and mobile addiction will become less and less socially acceptable.
  • Grassroots organizations will lead a movement towards writing the “guide to good mobile behaviors,” establishing rules for a good line of conduct online.
5G Potential

5G will reach more than 40 percent of the world’s population and cover 1.5 billion people by the end of 2024, according to the latest mobility report from telecommunications company Ericsson,

so we are still in the early stages. Companies are putting the infrastructure in place to allow people to access more content on-demand, but it won’t affect the public massively in 2019. It will help improve certain categories as well as marketing experiences – e.g. entertainment, location intelligence – but the impact will be mostly felt in very specialized industries, such as autonomous vehicles.

Regulations and Privacy Laws

Regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have helped bring more transparency and control over users’ data, but we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg since companies have not taken a strong stance in terms of implementing a strategy. As current industries — social, search, location, advertising — give way to news, music, fitness/wellness, education, more legislation/rules of conduct will be necessary.

Regulators, social actors and responsible corporations will continue putting safeguards in place, but it will take time. Location actors will have to change – some are already taking action by shifting focus (e.g. shifting priority regions to Asia and the US or launching new products such as mobile CMPs) or evolving their operations so data sharing is done in a more secure way, in full respect of users’ privacy.

Our State of Mobile Application survey also revealed that regardless of age, gender or environment, data privacy is a big concern to the majority of users. Across generations, more than two-thirds of the respondents said that mobile apps should not share their data with third parties. We also found that users have a higher comfort level when they are in control of data sharing practices. While most actively share location with their inner circle, there is significant concern about data being shared with third parties by mobile applications and brands. Blockchain will continue to trend alongside machine learning and AI and could help solve some of these privacy concerns. The impact to the consumer will be limited – sometimes invisible – but businesses will benefit from these layers of security and automation/intelligence.

In 2019, we could also see an ISO certification for data collection, storing and sharing, the same way other industries have regulated since the ‘80s, such as green labels. Companies will build privacy into their products, brands and mission. Those that truly deliver on the mission of tech for good will be hailed as heroes by consumers and the press.

In part 2 of our predictions blog series, we’ll talk about mobile apps for business and consumers. We’ll answer the questions: Which vertical markets will advance? Which consumer apps will be more popular?

This post originally appeared on December 17 in MarTechAdvisor

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