By Brandon Eley

2011 is the Year of Mobile (really!)

By Brandon Eley

Every year for the past three years (at least), I’ve heard, “This year is the year of Mobile!” Every year, Mobile marketing becomes bigger and bigger, but it has still yet to explode. Well, 2011 will be the year.

The reason why Mobile marketing hasn’t taken off in a significant way is because of one really simple reason: Mobile internet usage. Only a small percentage of users accessed the Internet on their cell phones. Most feature phones can access the Internet, but it’s slow and tedious.

To really be able to use the Internet to its full potential, you need a smartphone; yet smartphones have been too expensive for a large portion of the population. Now with the explosion of Android phones, smartphones can be had for less than $50, which is less than the price of some feature phones.

According to the Nielsen Group, sales of smartphones will surpass feature phones in Q3 2011, as this graphic indicates:

Smartphone usage in the US

This is the year we’ll see an explosion in Mobile advertising and marketing—from apps to location-based services to the Mobile web. If you are yet to take a look at Mobile, now is the time to start. Whether you need a Mobile-optimized website, application, or listing on Foursquare will depend on your individual business … but one thing is for sure—you need to do something!

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  • Resistance is futile!

  • Get geared up for the smart phone implant coming in 2020.

  • Sphamandla

    I couldn’t agree more, especially with more and more mobile apps available for almost every application out there from twitter apps to goggle goggles people are migrating to smartphone because of their portability

  • EastCoast

    While mobile internet use continues to grow, it’s still relatively small compared to desktop use except in niche areas where portability and availability enhance the overall mode of use – social communication (facebook,twitter) and geolocation (foursquare) , and this needs to be born in mind when considering whether the ROI in redeveloping for mobile matches the likely user uptake.

    I’ve seen a few projects in the last year where an iphone app has been tacked on as an afterthought because the client has been sucked in by hype, yet after the increased cost of development the app gets little use because it doesn’t bring any real user benefit or it’s not suited to the medium.

  • @EastCoast You make a very good point. I think it applies to every project (not just mobile). ROI should always be considered, as should the company’s target customer or client and what platforms they are currently using.

    I too saw a project last year where the company simply wanted a mobile app, when a mobile website would have been far more effective and would not have required their customers to download something (not to mention the fact that with apps you need to support multiple platforms which can be extremely costly).

    However, I do think that most businesses can benefit from mobile in one way or another. There are definitely exceptions, of course. But it doesn’t have to be an extensive project either — the local restaurant can manage their foursquare and Yelp listings. No cost (other than time) and yet that could provide them with access to their customer base. Local businesses can get on Google Local (and other search engines’ equivalents). There is something almost every company can do to reach a mobile audience, even if it’s not to create a mobile website or application.

  • I watched a TV show last night and the host said that 2011 is the ‘touchscreen’ era… Good point about the ‘mobile internet usage’…

  • 16i

    It’s definitely going to happen this year!

    Of our site traffic, almost 4% of traffic is smartphone users, and just over 4% is IE6 users. Everyone understands the importance of IE6 compatibility, yet there are far fewer mobile-optimised sites out there.

    In the first half of this year, we expect smartphone traffic to out-rank IE6 traffic. If only IE6 support was dropped this year!!

    According to MorganStanley “Internet Trends” presentation, CM summit, 7.6.2010, NYC:

    “By 2414, more people will use their mobile phones to connect to the internet than using their PC”

    If that doesn’t put the onus on a Mobile Website, I don’t know what will.

  • Chris

    This is so true, People love apps and games but there has not been much usage of internet on mobile. Mobile creators needs to simplify the programs. So that people can easily learn and do and also internet on cell is not that cheap.

    Thanks for sharing.


  • Zach L.

    It may be true that you can get a smart phone for <50$ nowadays, but the upfront cost is hardly the thing preventing me from getting a smart phone. It is the 30$ a month verizon charges for the required dataplan. Thats nearly 400$ a year!

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