CAMBRIDGE, MA: Marketers should fully integrate mobile into their marketing strategies this year if they want to measure return on investment (ROI) more effectively, according to a report from Forrester Research.

Thomas Husson, the research firm's vp and principal analyst of marketing and strategy, posted an update to Forrester's predictions for mobile in 2016.

He revealed that in 2015 only a fifth (20%) of marketers reported back that they had the necessary budget dedicated to mobile while a third (33%) said they understood how to measure mobile ROI, Mobile Marketer reported.

This minority of "leading marketers" will increase in 2016, he said, as they see opportunities to differentiate their brands and increase their investments in mobile initiatives.

Integrating mobile into marketing strategies will be a key differentiator this year, Husson said, but real success will come only to those who "go the extra mile" to serve their mobile customers by "transforming the entire customer experience".

He added that leading practitioners will measure the impact of mobile on offline channels and allocate up to 20% of their marketing budgets to mobile.

He went on to say that consumers are increasingly using fewer apps – the average smartphone user spends more than 88% of their app time on just five apps – and messaging apps are gaining in popularity to the extent that they are emerging into standalone platforms.

With the line between apps and the mobile Web beginning to fade, brands would be advised to use messaging apps as a channel for offering customer service and building engagement.

Forrester also predicts that new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the Internet of Things, will offer opportunities for brand innovation.

Therefore, brands should ensure they keep an eye on technological developments this year, maybe by establishing dedicated teams or projects focused on innovation. However, the key observation for 2016 is to concentrate on effective metrics.

"The main takeaway is that marketers who measure the impact of mobile across channels will be able to demonstrate a ROI," Husson said. "They should really think big and align mobile success metrics with business outcomes."

Data sourced from Mobile Marketer, Forrester Research; additional content by Warc staff