Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mobile is Here to Stay

Mobile is now bigger than ever - both in its reach and its continuing adoption. As smartphones become cheaper and more widespread, more and more companies have declared their strategies to go mobile. Despite this huge surge in mobile traffic over the past few years, 45% of businesses still do not have a mobile-optimized website or app. 2013 was named "the year of mobile", but so was 2012, 2011, 2010 and so on. Instead, 2014 has been renamed the "NEW age of mobile".

This new age of mobile encompasses many different things. What does it mean to your audience if you are not pursuing a mobile strategy? And what is meant exactly by the term "mobile strategy"? We will go over this, and more, in addition to some of the driving forces behind mobile optimization in 2014.

To start out, here are a few stats by digitalbuzz to paint a nice picture of what mobile means to the world now:
  • By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on earth than people
  • 91% of all people on earth have a mobile phone
  • 56% of people own a smartphone
  • 50% of mobile users say they use their phone as their primary source of Internet
  • The average age for the first cell phone is age 13
  • 80% of smartphone owners and 81% of tablet owners use their devices in front of the television
  • 57% of users say they won't recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site
With these stats in mind, it should come as no surprise that mobile is taking the world by storm. But mobile is nothing new, and it should not be considered novel. In order for a company to stay competitive in 2014 and beyond, a mobile-optimized website should be just the baseline.

By now, most people use their mobile phone as their primary source of internet and the typical person checks their smartphone around an average of 160 times a day. As the base of smartphone users expands, the rise of the baby boomers gives way to a whole generation of mobile smartphone users. Even though they may not use smartphones to their full capabilities, the adoption rates continue to expand to older and younger generations alike.

Digitalbuzz took their findings a step further by showing the adoption rates of different sources of media.

As shown in the infographic, the time it took to reach 50 million users (in years) for each of the following media decreases dramatically as you move down the chart.
  • Radio - 38 years
  • TV - 13 years
  • Internet - 4 years
  • Facebook - 3.5 years
  • Draw Something App - 50 days
From this image, you can see that adoption rates of different media are increasing at an exponential rate. This reinforces the idea that mobile penetrated the market very quickly - and if the Draw Something app took a mere 50 days to reach 50 million users, imagine what newer mobile apps have the ability to do. Companies simply cannot afford to ignore mobile - if they want to stay competitive, pursuing a digital strategy should be the next step.

Simply put, a digital strategy exists when all of your marketing efforts are aligned across multiple platforms to achieve marketing goals set in the organization. When it comes to pursuing a digital strategy, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for creating the perfect plan. It must be tailored and customized to fit your businesses needs and strengths. This is both a blessing and a curse; it's great because it allows you the freedom to communicate what you want to your ideal customers. It's a curse because it takes slightly more time to maintain, but the benefits greatly outweigh any negatives.

Mobile conversion rates are another area of importance when it comes to implementing a digital strategy. The chart below shows the average mobile conversion rate from a survey of 1,858 respondents. Adobe's report shows that the average conversion rate for 57% of businesses are less than 1%. However, companies with a mobile-optimized site are three times more likely to achieve mobile conversion rates of 5% or above than those who rely on desktop websites only. To take that a step further, companies that maintain a mobile-optimized website and and app report even higher levels of conversion.

According to an article in Forbes, the IDC predicts that by the year 2017, 87% of connected devices will be smartphones and tablets. This probably shouldn't be surprising though. Mobile is nothing new, and by now it should be fully integrated as a part of the user experience. This forecast underlines the popularity and importance of mobile devices, but the harsh reality is that most companies aren't ready for it. 
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