What Were the Top Mobile Trends of 2010?

I’m catching up with a slew of items after being out for a week, including our forthcoming 2011 predictions. In the spirit of looking forward, mobile ad exchange Mobclix looks back on the top mobile trends of 2010.

This of course joins the requisite year-end top 10 lists flying at us, but notable nonetheless. Here’s the list (verbatim from Mobclix’s blog post):

1. The Platform War Gets Bloody — Android impressions on the Mobclix Exchange has grown by 420% since its inception, 2010 will go down as the beginning of the smartphone wars.
2. In-App Purchasing, Enabling a New Economy — Developers have seen that free apps with in-app purchasing, are reaching more users and increasing revenue dramatically. In-game purchases are expected to surpass $11 billion by 2015, according to Jupiter Research.
3. Advertising on Mobile Gets Smart — Real-Time Bidding hit the mobile app market this year; RTB inventory is expected to make up 10% – 15% of total ad buys for 2011.
4. Apps Aren’t a One Trick Pony — Constantly re-engaging with users has proven to be successful; Angry Birds launches an update to their app every four weeks and sees an 80% retention rate.
5. It Pays to Be Pushy — Customer retention is 2.7x better with push-notification; Apps are opened up to 228% more and weekly session times have increased by 103%. (Source: Mobclix survey)
6. Rich Media Ads Pay More — The launch of iAd this year magnified the importance for marketers to have a more engaging user experience; approximately 37% of impressions on the Mobclix exchange were for Rich Media units, a 115% increase over 2009.
7. Games Are King — Games have become the most popular category of apps; 70% of the chart-topping applications — in both usage and gross revenue — are games.
8. Apps Are Here to Stay — The success with mobile apps has led to the expansion to other product lines, such as TV’s, desktops, Blu Ray players and even web browsers. Google, Apple and Samsung all released their own TV systems this year
9. Apps Are Everywhere — Apps have become part of our daily life; the average smartphone user spends 2.8 hours/day using applications and 3 in 5 people first turn to an app before searching the web. (Source: Mobclix survey)
10. Don’t Underestimate iCurrency — Apple has driven over 10 billion downloads of digital content through iTunes, and delivered over $1B dollars in earnings to developers. With apps penetrating all areas of our lives, we’ll be spending a lot more iCurrency. (Source: Apple Insider)

The data behind ad performance are most notable, particularly the growth of real time bidding, push notifications and rich media ads. Apps vs. mobile Web will continue to heat up, and I envision more of a shift to the browser (vs. apps), though perhaps not until late 2011, if not 2012.

As always, these data must be treated as specific to Mobclix’s network (exchange), rather than the entire market. The full report can be downloaded here. Also stay tuned for our upcoming report.

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On a related note, Mobile Future’s viral video gives further perspective on the strides made in the mobile industry this year.

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