Follow Your Customers to the Mobile Web

Marketing Research Insights

Do you have a mobile marketing strategy? If not, you may want to incorporate one into your marketing planning. Earlier this year, Google CEO Eric Schmidt made the point that “Mobile Web adoption is growing eight times faster than the first wave of PC Internet adoption.” If you’re not reading this on a mobile device, consider that Gartner research projects that smart phone sales will outpace desktop computer sales by 2012. And, according to a recent Pew Center research report, non-voice data applications on mobile phones have expanded significantly in the past year.

Not convinced yet? Then look at how differently consumers spend their time on the mobile web from the way they do on a computer. Nielsen’s What Americans Do Online study revealed that email accounted for roughly 40% of mobile web time versus less than 10% of computer time. This makes sense since checking email makes spare time productive and reduces a necessary task. By contrast, social networking via a mobile phone accounts for less than half of the time it does on a desk or laptop computer because people check in to see where family and friends are or to connect in real time. Also, the percentage of time devoted to mobile search is about double the rate for regular computers since it’s often the only reference available to locate stores, restaurants and other information on-the-go.

What’s missing from Nielsen’s assessment of the mobile web is games, which is the second biggest category of computer usage time. This is attributable to the fact that users tend to download games in app form and play them locally on their mobile devices, not on the web where usage is more easily measured. According to eMarketer, games are the most popular mobile activity in terms of the number of users. (By the way, follow eMarketer’s mobile analyst Noah Elkin to get current information.)

Looking for another entryway to reach mobile users? Think apps! iPhone users downloaded over 3 billion applications from iTunes’ App Store in its first eighteen months. Many of these were free or low priced. Gartner forecasts that this combination of low prices and high volumes will result in $6.8 billion of sales this year.

Another aspect of mobile non-voice information that’s not included in Nielsen’s research is SMS or texting. Based on Pew’s research, text messaging is used by three out of ten Americans. Therefore it’s a good idea to keep text messaging on your marketing radar.

Before you think that you don’t need a mobile Internet marketing strategy because the mobile web can just retransmit your Internet based content and communications, remember that this doesn’t provide for an optimal consumer experience.  Prospects and customers may choose easier-to-use and/or more-effectively presented alternatives.

For marketing tactics, please stay tuned for our next post later this week.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Read some related marketing insights on Cutting the (phone) line.

Photo credit: Kevin W. Burkett via Flickr

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