At the end of 2014, it became official: comScore reported that 60% of all online activities are now done using mobile devices by people across the planet.
The stats are staggering. Analysts at Gartner expect 2.9 billion smartphones to be sold across the globe by 2017. Modest expectations suggest that mobile browsing share will rise to 65% overall, but some experts say it could go as high as 70%.
A 2012 study underscores the American mobile Web love affair—3 of 4 smartphone owners in the US have admitted to using their devices while they were on the toilet.
If you’re still skeptical about the big changes that mobile is bringing – and will continue to bring – to the web, wake up and smell the coffee. A revolution is happening all around us, and the ones who can adapt the fastest will be the early winners of an exciting new online marketing landscape.
Marketers and business owners alike will benefit from the following titbits that reflect how mobile is changing how we do multichannel marketing:
- 4 out of 5 consumers have tried smartphones for shopping
- 70% of mobile searches led to online action within 60 minutes
- Mobile phone users vastly prefer apps over mobile-friendly sites (88% to 12%, according to the NY Daily News).
- 87% of American adults use the Internet (Pew Research Center). More than half of these people are expected to have a mobile device or two in the remainder of 2015.
Having said that, the “Add to Cart” and buy rates for mobile devices are still lower than those of their desktop counterparts. However, ComScore reports that the typical consumer is increasingly showing more “multiscreen” behavior when making their buying decisions.
That means conversions may not ultimately happen on mobile devices, but they play a crucial part in the research and comparison stages of each buying cycle.
The next question in your mind might now be: how can you leverage the mobile Internet trend to grow your business? Truth be told, there is no magic bullet for this challenge.
Marketers operating on the cutting edge are experimenting on a daily basis to figure out what models and techniques can be used to facilitate more fluid consumer behavior on their phones. This can be compared to the years 2007 to 2010 when social media marketing was still at its Wild West stages. Pioneers need to set up their roots and dig in to learn how to live off the land.
Here are some insights that could give you a headstart in your specific industry:
Apps are the Key
At the moment, apps are the best and fastest way to influence a target audience via mobile devices. Apps occupy permanent real estate on a smartphone’s home screen, giving them a top-of-mind advantage over mobile websites.
Even if your site is mobile-friendly, it still requires a browser to be opened and usually depends on a search query to lead a user to it. With apps, you get primary consideration whenever a mobile user looks for something that you’re offering.
Of course, not all apps are built equally. Some have a much higher install base than others due to the value that they provide users. You can’t develop an app for the sake of marketing. The app should be built with unique values in mind that the user can’t get with a mobile website. Functionality is key, especially if it takes advantage of a smartphone’s hardware.
Location tracking, biometrics, cameras, and gyroscopes are just some of the features that you should consider taking advantage of. If you’re an ecommerce site, think about alerting users about sales and coupons whenever they come within walking distance of your store. Biometrics-based personalized shopping experiences via mobile apps are also viewed as part of the mobile future.
Less will be More
Given the small screens on smartphones and tablets, plus the fact that users only have limited scroll down attention spans, long-form sales copy could become obsolete in the near future. Instead of making users read blocks and blocks of text, marketers may up their copywriting games and write shorter, more profound copy.
Conversely, they may opt to give users more engaging content, such as demos, videos, or presentations within apps, to avoid losing audience interest midway through the pitching process.
Digital Identity Will Continue to Rise
As social media and mobile Internet continue to grow side by side, online anonymity is expected to take a hit. Apps will be able to get information about you based on the social network personas that you are logged in as with your mobile devices. This allows for more targeted advertising that’s better able to read your interests, tendencies, and needs.
Facebook and Amazon have already demonstrated this kind of synergy. Notice how ads on Facebook reflect the kind of items you’ve recently browsed on Amazon. It may be a little unnerving to the average user, but to marketers, this is a potential gold mine.
Less Movement, More Focus
If apps end up dominating the mobile web, we could be looking at an Internet that’s very different from the browser-based experience that we’re used to. Desktop browsers allow people to surf the Internet through links that lead from page to page,
With apps, there won’t be much surfing taking place as developers will try to keep users within the app for a more focused experience that leads to goal completion. Getting your audience out to the open web is usually counter-intuitive and unlikely to be encouraged by app creators.
App Store SEO
Search engine optimization has been a very important facet of digital marketing for about 20 years now. As the Web changes and goes more mobile, emphasis on websites diminishes, and interest in apps grows.
Just as it was important to get your site ranking on the first page of Yahoo, Bing, and Google in years past, it will become increasingly important to show up for target keywords when searches for apps are entered by users trying to decide which ones to get.
Reviews and ratings will be more crucial than ever. Having a dedicated following that spreads word of mouth about your app will also have tremendous value. Sharing on social media becomes ever more precious, and developing apps that have inherently good content will be the keys to the mobile marketing game.
Mobile isn’t the future of the web – it’s the present. Instead of fearing the changes happening all around us, the better attitude to take is to embrace them and think creatively about how we can use them to take our businesses to greater heights.