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Some marketing groups predict that by 2013 40% of web access will happen through mobile devices. This is a dramatic shift in how web content is consumed. Not just because it is changing from the web to mobile, but because mobile content is consumed differently.
Mobile internet access tends to include shorter and more frequent sessions vs. PC web access. For example, on a mobile phone a user may browse the web 10 times a day for 5 minutes or less each time. On a PC a user typically logs on once or twice a day for 20 – 40 minutes each time. Since mobile web users have such short sessions the content needs to be designed differently. With shorter sessions there is also less time for users to be lured away with ads.
In addition, there are limitations due to the screen size. Smaller screen sizes means less room for advertisements. Additionally content should be designed for the small screen and take advantage of the flexibility of touch screens.
Finally, applications are able to provide more efficient solutions to many traditional searches or web browsing sessions. For example, if a mobile phone users is looking for a restaurant they may look for an application like Urban Spoon or Yelp. On a PC a search for a restaurant would probably start with a search engine like google.
While the mobile web is changing the way we consume it is interesting to see the growth of web use and how different operating systems stack up. Will the winner be iphones, android or blackberry? The chart below for Quantcast shows Android is significantly gaining market share at the expense of the the apple operating system.
Only time will tell who the winner will be in the mobile operating system race.