The massive growth in mobile smart phone users is a big opportunity for advertisers looking for new ways to reach people with timely, relevant messages and engage with their audiences.
Today there are over 250 million smart phone subscribers in the US and over 1/3 of these are using smart phones. 2011 is projected to be the first year that more smart phones are sold than regular feature phones. Even with fewer users last year, in 2010 more Internet usage happened from smart phone than feature phones for the first time. If you use a smart phone you know that it’s much easier to access Internet data, and because it’s easier, we use it more often.
I recently reviewed the BIMA event, Understanding the Rapidly Evolving Mobile Landscape, which was presented on Thursday, March 24, 2011, and I came away with fresh understanding of the power of this new media opportunity. Gene Keenan, VP Mobile Services, Isobar, had especially insightful comments and data.
Although there are over 500 different feature phones in use today, fortunately for advertisers, only three platforms matter; iPhone, Android and Blackberry. And all three use the Webkick browser.
Platforms such as iPhone and Android would have you believe that only apps matter in the smart phone environment, but in fact both apps and web browser applications are useful and important. Apps are critical for some functions, such as maps, games, weather, etc., but users also search the mobile internet ad hoc, and expect to find mobile friendly websites with useful information.
By the way, mobile does not mean mobile. People are using smart phones and other mobile devices at home or while watching TV. One important mobile advertising opportunity is to target mobile search advertising buys during the time TV ads are running to make the experience more interactive and move powerful. Search queries on mobile increased by 500% in the past two years. And 87% of mobile users have admitted to searching while they were in a store in order to make more informed purchases.
These powerful changes in consumer behavior are having a dramatic impact on the purchase process. In the past we assumed the people went through a linear process starting with awareness, then on to consideration, finally purchase. Today the process is non linear and complex. Consumers are doing more research, talking to friends, finding reviews – and they are doing this at home, in-stores, and everywhere they are.
This changing consumer behavior represents a big opportunity for marketers to engage with their audience like never before. Advertisers should respond by creating a mobile version of their website, and testing mobile advertising using search and other mobile sites and apps.