Can you hear me now? (Chapter 21)

Posted on July 15, 2011

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The Social Media Bible may have been published last year, but in Chapter 21 she really starts to show her age.  Author Lon Safko writes about the iPhone and Google Android like they are  and unknown.  The reality, though, is that the mobile world is changing at warped speed.  What was new and exciting 1 1/2 years ago is commonplace today.  The iPhone was the next big thing until the iPad came along.  Tablets like iPad were not even included in The Social Media Bible simply because they did not exist two years ago.

Safko predicted that mobile versions of websites and applications would become more popular and he was certainly correct.  According to a survey by the Pew Internet, 83% of adult Americans own cell phones and 42% of them have smartphones.  This means that 35% of all American adults have smartphones (http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Smartphones.aspx?utm_source=Mailing+List&utm_campaign=02373942a5-Newsletter_07132011&utm_medium=email).  The report also states:

Some 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds (68%) who do so on a typical day. When asked what device they normally use to access the internet, 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer. While many of these individuals have other sources of online access at home, roughly one third of these “cell mostly” internet users lack a high-speed home broadband connection.

Aaron Smith, author of the Pew report, told the Washington Post that, “For businesses, government agencies and nonprofits who want to engage with certain communities, they will find them in front of a four-inch screen, not in front of a big computer in their den.”  According to Redorbit.com, web traffic generated by computers will decline to 46 percent of all traffic by 2015.  The number of cell phone users will also be up to 788 million by 2015 (http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/2079762/smartphones_replacing_pcs_in_some_households).

Mobile marketing may be expensive, according to Safko, but it seems evident that utilizing the market will only become more important.  Market Insights Professionals blogger, Reineke Reitsma, it is estimated that $750million will be spent on mobile marketing in 2011.  Despite the money invested, two-thirds of all cell phone users do not remember being exposed to mobile ads (http://blogs.forrester.com/category/mobile_marketing).  Reitsma suggests, though, that users are willing.  According to her article, “13% of online mobile consumers say that they would like to receive coupons to be used while shopping and 10% would like to be able to look up product information. About one-fifth of online mobile consumers are open to receiving SMS messages from companies in return for promotions, discounts, or free downloads(and this number jumps to more than one-third of Gen Yers).”

Mobile advertising is bound to become more-and-more of a focus as mobile phone use increases.  Being one of the first to utilize this market may give business and organizations a leg up.  If you can afford it, you should really give it serious thought.

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