Some observers would argue that we’ve just entered the “post-PC” era, where very few people access the Internet though traditional desktop or laptop computers – and that instead we’re soon going to be surfing almost exclusively on our smartphones and tablets. While the complete transition from PCs to mobile devices might take a while longer, it’s hard to argue with how important those mobile devices have become to our daily lives.
Here are the top ten reasons why mobile technology is so important. Use this information to help you factor this technology into your marketing efforts for the coming year.
It’s estimated that the number of U.S. consumers who access the Internet through traditional desktop and laptop personal computers will drop from 240 million in 2012 to 225 million by 2016. At the same time, the number of individuals who surf primarily through their mobile devices is expected to jump from 174 million to 265 million within that same time frame. (http://www.zdnet.com/idc-were-in-the-midst-of-the-great-pc-exodus-on-the-internet-7000006532/)
It’s estimated that approximately 20% of all ecommerce sessions are now happening on smartphones and tablet computers. Market observers also believe that this rate will climb to more than 50% within the next three years. Unfortunately, not all ecommerce websites are well designed to provide a quality shopping experience on mobile devices. Without a responsive website to display to users who visit using a mobile device, businesses are likely to see poor conversion rates for mobile shoppers.
Individuals who surf the Internet through their smartphones or tablets are often much less likely trying to decipher a difficult to understand marketing message than someone on a PC. If something isn’t immediately interesting or relevant to a mobile device user, they’re likely to switch to a new app or web page right away.
Some of the most popular apps on the iPhone and Android smartphones are those that allow users to access their social media accounts. This means that your marketing efforts should not only take the social media landscape into account, they must also do so with the understanding that many social media users will be accessing their accounts through mobile devices. This trend may become even more apparent as observers await the long anticipated launch of a Facebook-branded smartphone.
Most smartphones and tablet computers incorporate location sensing technologies that allow apps to access the user’s approximate location. For devices that include global positioning system (GPS) technology, these apps can pinpoint the user’s location to within a few feet. These apps can then display targeted coupons or offers to nearby stores. Since people usually have their cell phones with them when they’re outside of the home, this could be a huge opportunity for businesses.
Less than a decade ago, the promise of mobile marketing was mostly hype. Small screens, underpowered phones and lack of a mobile ecommerce infrastructure (and no corresponding consumer behavior) meant that people simply weren’t ready to be marketed to through their phones. We used our phones for talking and texting, and that was about it.
But the smartphones of today and the growing numbers of tablets are significantly more powerful, and let users do almost anything they’d do on their home computers.
Rather than listen to the radio, more and more users are logging into Pandora or Spotify for music. Case in point; most new automobiles these days come with iPod and iPhone connectivity options. And rather than watch movies and shows on television, more users are visiting network websites, Netflix and Hulu to watch programs on their own schedules. As these behaviors become more entrenched, marketers will need to come up with new and effective ways to get their messages in front of potential customers.
For many businesses, the most valuable demographic of potential customer is one who is young and educated and has disposable income. This demographic aligns almost perfectly with those who spend the most time on their iPads and smartphones. As a result, companies that want to get their messages in front of these individuals now have a straightforward way to do so. But don’t be discouraged if your target market is older individuals – this demographic is currently experiencing some of the fastest growth rates in mobile device usage.
Marketing to potential customers through mobile devices still requires creativity, planning and skillful execution, but in many cases this can all be done for less money than it would take to do through traditional media outlets. Being able to target potential customers more precisely, and to present your message only to those who you believe are the most likely to follow through and buy your products and services, means that your marketing dollars are spent more effectively.
Depending on the nature of your business, if your market is truly worldwide then taking advantage of mobile technology is likely to be a significant aspect of your overall marketing strategy, and it might even be the primary channel through which you promote your business. In many countries, there hasn’t been a gradual switch from PCs to smartphones because very few individuals ever owned a PC in the first place. In fact, within the next four years, it’s estimated that the number of worldwide mobile app users will more than double; from 1.0 billion to 2.1 billion (https://www.emarketer.com/Coverage/Mobile).
Keep yourself on top of these mobile technology trends to ensure that you can respond in the best possible way for your business.