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What the Rise of the Mobile Consumer Means for Your Business
Posted on April 19th 2012
The world is going mobile at an exponential rate. Consider two facts:
Apple sold more iOS devices in 2011 (156M) than the total number of Macs sold in all 28 years of its existence (122M).¹
Google recently announced that 850,000 new Android devices are activated daily; the total number of Android devices around the globe has surpassed 300 million, with a year-on-year growth rate of more than 250 percent.²
Based on the number of iOS5 and Android6 devices currently in existence, and the number of new devices being activated each day, advertising software solutions provider Marin Software estimates that there will be one billion smart mobile devices in-use globally sometime between December 2012 and June 2013.ONE BILLION.³
They’re not talking about cell phones; they mean one billion smart phones and tablets, i.e. one billion mobile computers.
All levity aside, the rapid proliferation of smartphones and tablets is changing how consumers make purchase decisions and interact with brands.
Increasingly, purchase decisions are being made with the aid of user-generated content such as online reviews and peer opinions found on social media. According to data gathered by emarketer, one-third of US consumers, or 42.6% of mobile phone users, will log in to social networking sites via mobile devices at least monthly in 2012.
Already more than 50% of Twitter and Facebook users are regularly accessing the social media sites via mobile devices. eMarketer estimates that by 2014, over 98% of these users will be accessing Facebook on a smartphone.
The emerging world of the mobile-enabled consumer is blurring the lines separating online and offline commerce. This reality is already felt by retailers, as consumers can now check product reviews and compare prices while they shop in a physical store.
This has implications for mobile search, as mobile-enabled consumers are much closer to the final purchase point than a desktop search. Many consumers are also using their smartphones in a geo-local sense, i.e. to find local businesses while on the move.
With smart mobile devices becoming the rule rather than the exception, companies need to shape their online marketing strategies around how people search.
There are some key differences between a desktop and mobile search experience. For one, given the smaller screens of mobile devices, there is less room to display the results of both organic search and PPC ads. Interestingly, Marin’s research suggests that users are actually more engaged with search results on their mobile devices. Smartphone and tablet users have click-through-rates (CTRs) that are respectively 72% and 31% higher than users on desktop computers.³
The nature of mobile search may actually favor paid ads, especially when you consider that search engine providers like Google stand a lot to gain from the shift to mobile. According to a research report from Cowen and Company, Google earned $2.5 Billion in mobile revenue in 2011. By 2016, it’s estimated that mobile could drive $20 Billion in revenue for the search giant.³ At their current run-rates, mobile devices will account for 25% of all paid-search clicks on Google by December 2012, with 23% of Google’s US paid-search spend coming from mobile campaigns.
INBOUND MARKETING TAKEAWAYS
I. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Many businesses are seeing lower conversion rates from smartphones because their website is not optimized for mobile. Most websites are still difficult to browse on smartphones; such usability issues can really put a damper on your Internet inbound marketing efforts.
To make mobile an integral part of the online sales funnel, you need to optimize your website for smartphone browsers. If you’re planning on building a new website or giving your current site a facelift, consider using a responsive web design layout. Doing so will optimize your website for desktop computers and mobile devices alike.
II. Write Mobile-Friendly Ad Copy
If you decide to experiment with mobile ad campaigns, you should craft device-specific ad copy relevant to the on-the-go-consumer. Try to use mobile URLS, and include phone numbers, CTAs for content offers, hyperlinks to directions, coupons, or geo-local social media sites like Yelp that have user-generated reviews.
III. Don’t Think Social. Think Social Mobile
It's important for businesses to approach social media marketing through a mobile lens. The future of social is mobile, and mobile users favor content that is visual and concise. Twitter’s 140 character limit and Facebook’s recent acquisition of photo-sharing app developers Instagram bear this point out.
When you’ve identified which social media sites are best for your business, you can create campaigns with social mobile-friendly content that is visual and concise.
Consumer adoption of mobile devices is not a mere trend, it is the new reality. If you recognize and accept this fundamental shift in consumer behavior, you can adjust your inbound marketing efforts accordingly.
What has your company done to prepare for the rise of the mobile consumer?
¹ The Register, "Last year's iOS sales surpassed all Macs ever sold"
² Daily Tech, "Quick Note: 850,000 Android Devices Activated Daily"
³ Marin Software, "The State of Mobile Search Advertising in the US"
Image Courtesy of PSAMA Blog