The 9 Mobile Trends of 2013

2013 was a great year for mobile, perhaps more so than any other in recent memory. The media form became more visual, profitable and viable. Celebrities embraced mobile, as did many brands with responsive web site designs.

Here is a look at nine top mobile trends that dominated headlines this year.

1) Tablets gained momentum

Tablets became a dominant story in 2013 starting with Adobe’s revelation that tablet-based web traffic surpassed smartphones and computers alike, in spite of there being fewer tablets on the marketplace. The news kept coming with developers revealing they are creating as many applications for the tablet as they are smartphones. And then there was incredible growth in tablet sales, too.

2) Smartphones are more prevalent than computers

Not to be surpassed by their younger sisters, smartphones also showed strong growth. If sales continue as expected, 2013 will mark the first year that smartphones surpassed PCs as the top selling computing device in the world. Anytime, anywhere handheld smartphones have become the easiest way to access the Internet, talk with friends in any form, and engage in basic computational tasks.

3) Responsive design boom

Businesses scrambled to make their websites mobile friendly with responsive design in 2013. Those that depend on the Internet were first, now the middle of the pack and laggards are joining them. 2014 will be the last boom year for responsive with brands focusing on custom mobile deployments in future years.

4) Video comes to mobile

If 2011 was the year of mobile social photography, then 2013 had to be the year of video. Vine, Instagram Video, and SnapChat all contributed to legitimizing mobile video. Now with tablets in the mix, people are watching and so are advertisers. More than a half a billion dollars was spent on mobile video ads in the United States this year.

5) Celebrity selfies

When Kim Kardashian is giving tips on how to take a selfie, you know a trend has jumped the shark. And so it is with celebrity selfies. While the rest of the world discovered mobile video in 2013, Hollywood figured out you could take a picture of yourself and post it on Instagram. Go figure.

6) Mobile ad boom

On a more professional front, mobile video ads were not the only aspect of the market that saw a boom. The mobile ad market grew with a whopping 75 percent uptick in 2013. 2014 looks even stronger as mobile continues to outpace PC sales as the primary access device.

7) Twitter becomes the mobile darling

First Twitter bought mobile ad platform MoPub for $350 million, then it had a blockbuster IPO. Twitter’s real-time capability and its soon to be widespread mobile ad network has made it a dream platform for mobile marketing. Expect Twitter and mobile to become synonymous.

8) Real-time marketing

A big driver of 2013 mobile successes was increased real-time marketing strength. Brands could set up geofenced initiatives with apps, ads and SMS, which in turn drove more mobile ROI then ever before. Expect to see an increased focus on real-time marketing via mobile phones in 2014.

9) ROI delivered

Mobile marketing came under fire in recent years, much in the same way social media marketing has. The difference is that mobile is delivering hard ROI figures that are making brands want to invest more. 2013 put more proof of concept behind the medium, and advertising investments are showing it.

What trends would you add?