As smartphone owners increase, it’s time to focus on mobile

Smartphone or iPhoneFor the less technically inclined out there, I should probably point out that this post is about smartphones – the nifty gadgets which combine the functionality of a mobile phone and a computer. I’m not talking about phone owners who are merely clever.

However, if you’re a clever business owner, you can no longer afford to ignore mobile. Smartphones are here to stay, and the number of people using them is growing fast.

New research from eMarketer suggests there will be over 19 million smartphone users by the end of the year, up from 15 million last year. By the end of 2016 there will be a whopping 40.9 million, which equates to nearly two thirds of the population. We’ll be able to say that most people have a smartphone as early as 2015.

That means you need to be ready for mobile internet users by 2015 or you’ll be missing out on the opportunity to market your company to most people via an extremely important medium. It’s a sobering thought.

The Olympics has been a huge reminder of the growing dominance of mobile technology. Dubbed the ‘Social Media Olympics’, London 2012 has seen more tweets, Facebook posts and people watching events on a mobile device than ever before. The BBC reportedly had a ‘four screen strategy’ for the games, with content on TV, computer, tablet and smartphone. This allowed more people to watch, wherever they happened to be, and mobile advertising increased proportionally. Advertising agency M&C Saatchi Mobile reported that advertisers spent 150% more on advertising over the course of the games than previously.

Example of responsive web designAs a business owner, this means you have a new medium to think about. Websites need optimising to be viewed from smartphones and tablets as well as desktop PCs, but this doesn’t necessarily mean creating a separate ‘mobile’ site. If you wanted to change something on the site, you’d have to do it twice, and if you slim down for the mobile version some users might be unhappy they can’t access all your content. The solution is Responsive Design – creating web pages that adapt to the device they’re being viewed on so you don’t need to scroll or resize everything to see it.

Another issue is advertising. A lot of companies are now using Google Adwords and other Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising to target their ads intelligently at a specific audience, but the potential for targeting on a mobile device is even greater. A big difference is that your phone knows where you are – if you search for a restaurant it can suggest ones which are nearby. You can also place ads in apps that are likely to be used by a specific demographic.

Of course, the predictions could be wrong and eMarketer have made mistakes before. In 2009 they predicted mobile ad spending would reach $1.56 billion by the end of 2013, but a report this month says it’s likely to hit $6.4 billion by the end of 2012. If they’re wrong about smartphones, it’s likely they’ve underestimated.

The smart money’s on mobile.

If you want to make sure your business is ready for mobile or talk about online advertising, feel free to get in touch. We design our digital marketing strategies to make sure you’re ready for whatever the future might throw at you.

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About Russell Welch

Copywriter and digital marketing person. Russell used to be a History teacher, and likes gardening, martial arts and all things Japanese. Google+
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