The evolution of mobile in 2011

As 2011 went on, we saw companies transition from adding a mobile presence to searching for ways to expand that presence, according to Mobile Marketer. Mobile was also utilized as a service channel for the first time, with more apps and sites designed to help consumers save time and money.

"Smartphones and tablets proved that they weren't just for the geekiest … among us," Karim Temsamani, vice president of mobile ads at Google, told the news source. "These devices are increasingly becoming the norm and they continue to change how people connect with each other, and with businesses, everywhere."

Temsamani adds, however, that the mobile marketing industry is still in its "earliest stages" and there will soon be a mainstream shift that connects smartphones to brick-and-mortar storefronts as well.

According to statistics compiled by Google and private research think tank IPSOS in 2011, 79 percent of smartphone consumers used their phones to receive shopping assistance - such as comparing prices, finding detailed product information and locating a nearby retailer.

Furthermore, 70 percent used their phones while shopping in-store and 77 percent contacted a business using their mobile devices.

"It's not just that more people are using smartphones and tablets (though the numbers are skyrocketing at an accelerating pace) it's that a huge, and fast-growing base of smartphone users, now expect to engage with businesses on mobile," Temsamani told the media outlet.

Mobile search effectively "changed shopping forever," as people used geo-location technology to find deals on their way to stores. But Mashable reports that consumers, more aware of their bank accounts because of the faltering economy, became more "spending-conscious" as opposed to just being "price-conscious." This places a stronger emphasis on a mobile marketer's ability to convince the consumer that a product has value. Researching spending habits and targeting specific audiences based on their interests will be key to encourage purchases in 2012.

Mobile devices have also extended social media to an additional channel. This is important to note because, according to a recent study from Experian Simmons, 98 percent of 18-24 year olds currently use social media. Developing marketing campaigns through the networks that connect to mobile - such as clicking a Facebook link on a desktop that sends information to a mobile phone to access a discount or QR code - is likely to remain popular in 2012.