Be Smart, Think Mobile
As part of the migration process to our new site, I thought I would highlight some of our blog posts from the previous site that can make a difference to your online presence. Although this article was written 10 months ago, the rise of smartphones and mobile usage has continued to trend upwards, so there are some salient points made that are still highly relevant to today’s marketplace.
Over the past few weeks we have seen the launch of the iPhone4, heralded by Apple as yet another re-invention and revolution of the mobile phone market. While I wouldn’t quite go as far as Steve Jobs has put it, the handset did sell 1.7m units globally in just THREE days and the number could have easily been higher but for stock issues. Factor in the 50m iPhones that have been sold worldwide since its incarnation as well as the 160,000 Android phone activations Google processes daily and you begin to see how being prepared to engage your audience via mobile web is going to be very important in the next 12 months.
The growth of the smartphone market has been reported by comScore as expanding at a rate of 70% year on year in the UK, so there are now approximately 11 million smartphones in use, meaning that one in five Brits now own one. In December 2009 alone, these people viewed 6.7 billion web pages and spent an incredible 4.8bn minutes online via their mobile, of which 2.2bn minutes were spent on Facebook alone.
So it would seem that phones are no longer just a device for calling and texting your friends. In fact iPhone users only spend 45% of their time actually making voice-calls on their handset and the average Android & iPhone user spends 80 minutes per day using their apps, whilst downloading an average of 9 apps per month.
It must also be considered that smartphone ownership is actually double in teens and students compared to the rest of the population, making this generation the most receptive to mobile marketing. This younger generation is choosing their handset based on its ability to help them connect their online and offline lives into one harmonious existence. It’s no longer about the amount of megapixels the camera has or the size of the phones’ built-in memory, instead it’s the number of apps to download, the speed it browses the web, multi-tasking functionality and the ability to access their social media personas. Watch the first two minutes of this video clip and you can hear some US students discussing why they bought the phones they did.
So why have we really seen the smartphone become such a booming market? The massive improvements in mobile web browsing speeds to 3G from WAP and the expanding 3G coverage across the UK (now at 54%) can be seen as a similar turning point to the ‘broadband revolution’, which saw faster internet speeds reach the whole country. In addition, the increasing reductions in mobile browsing tariffs to much more affordable levels for ‘unlimited download’ packages have made these phones more accessible to a mass consumer market.
There is a steady move towards the saturation of the mobile market by smartphones (currently at 20% in the UK and rising) and network operators are constantly making mobile browsing more affordable, so considering mobile web as a potential marketing channel and engagement tool is essential. Mobile browsing is only going to get faster, with 4G on the way and open Wi-Fi networks becoming more prevalent. If your organisation isn’t already thinking about how to approach mobile web, now’s the time to start. Don’t be left behind by more forward thinking competitors!