This post is by Reynold D'Silva, ‎group head, FMCG / CPG, Tech, Telco, Auto, Media / Entertainment at Facebook Singapore.

With the appearance of separate pedestrian lanes for people who walk looking down at their mobile screens, we know we are truly in the age of the mobile-first generation in Asia.

By 2020, 80% of consumers in Asia will own mobile phones, the majority of which will be smartphones. All these devices can and will be connected to the internet and for the majority of people they will be the main channel of internet access and digital media consumption.

Mobile-first consumers already spend from 37% to 90% more time on their mobile screens than they do watching TV screens. But with this increase in time spent comes a reduction in attention spans and a desire for instant gratification.

Personalised video content via social media apps is gaining the major share of audience time. Brand content that is more personalised, more relevant and more telegraphic is most effective on these mobile media.

People are tapping into the collective memory of mobile social networks to inform and influence their brand consideration and purchase decisions. They are also increasingly entrusting their own memories to these networks, with 63% of consumers in China having posted product reviews online.

Branded apps are dead in China and likely to die out in the rest of Asia as well. They rarely achieve more than a tiny reach and cause too much friction in the consumer experience to create value. Brands who combine their ability to develop great creative content with app publishers who have the ability to reach the right people via their services are more likely to get a positive return than those who continue to invest in branded apps.

Mobile convenience apps are feeding the need for instant gratification, providing services from personal transport to in-home beauty treatments and medical healthcare. They have the potential to disrupt conventional distribution channels and to stimulate incremental demand for brands.

Cashless payments and mobile wallets are further reducing friction in the path to purchase, enabling consumers to make payments with just one instant message tap-of-the-thumb.

Social media and instant messenger apps have become the primary platforms for mobile commerce and customer relationship management (CRM). Brand content that creates demand for a relevant product at the right place and time is most effective at stimulating purchase.

Mobile marketing in Asia is leapfrogging the desktop-first digital marketing of the West in terms of flexibility and feature convergence. There is a huge opportunity for brands and digital media platforms to combine their data to build personalized connections with the mobile-first generation.

The consumer path-to-purchase journey is getting shorter and will compress to one step. This is making brand websites less relevant and useful, reaching only the keenly interested few instead of the impatient millions who are the source of growth for most brands. People no longer have the patience to follow a digital 'trail of breadcrumbs' across websites and wait while they load. Facebook's Instant Articles points to a future in which all the relevant content needed to make a decision is brought to consumers at the right time, a future in which consumers will discover, be inspired and buy products in one place and with one tap of the thumb.

Action checklist for marketers:

  1. Integrate mobile media channels as a core part of communication planning.
  2. Adapt creative content to smartphone and feature phone screens.
  3. Use insights combined with data for both creative development and media planning.
  4. Focus on the right metrics: Reach, Resonance and Reaction.

Consumers in Asia have made the shift to mobile and are spending the majority of their time there. It's time for marketers and their brands to do the same.

Read Warc's series of articles of mobile in Asia: