If social media was the big thing in 2010 and 2011, then mobile is clearly leading the charge for the hearts and minds of both businesses and consumers in 2012.
While QR codes and push marketing via SMS campaigns have started the flow, the recent uptake in smartphone adoption across all parts of the globe means this year is going to be huge for mobile marketing and commerce.
A recent report from comScore emphasizes this point more than ever, and offers business owners and marketers an overview into the strategy they need to be preparing for the coming year.
Analyzing the Data
Some of the key findings from the report include:
- Where mobile use was initially strong in the U.S. (and continues to be with 42% of the mobile market there on smartphones), Europe is now leading the charge, with 44% of users in France, Germany, the U.K., Italy and Spain using smartphones.
- The clear leaders in the field are Apple and Google, with their iPhone and Android platforms respectively. Android continues to be the lead platform, with almost half of U.S. users on it, and capturing 60% of the five countries mentioned above in Europe.
- Shoppers are using smartphones much more when in-store, using apps and search to compare prices and offers, as well as scanning barcodes for reviews and comparisons prior to making a purchase.
These are just some of the stats that jump out immediately. The report also looks at how mobile is driving the amount of interaction on social sites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as cross-platform use between smartphones and tablets.
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Simply put, the biggest message coming from the report is that you need to have a mobile strategy more than ever, and sooner rather than later.
So how can your business adapt to the findings if you haven’t already?
Measure, Adapt, Implement
While it can be easier for smaller businesses to adapt than larger ones, due to red tape and the approval process, the need to be adaptable is key across all businesses, regardless of size.
It’s why RIM is currently struggling in the smartphone market after leading it for so long. Poor leadership and products that lagged behind a hungrier competition saw the BlackBerry make fall from grace in a way not seen since Yahoo took a dive in the search market.
So, if a market leader like RIM can fall so bad, it shows the need for your business to be on top of its game – especially in the mobile world we’re increasingly living in.
Looking at some of the stats from the report, there are a few ways that you can use the information to ramp up your mobile strategy and build successful campaigns around them.
- Look at your website analytics and see how many of your visitors are coming in via mobile browsing (whether that’s smartphone or tablet use). Then look at your site and see if that’s been mobile-optimized or, at the very least, if it’s mobile-friendly. If it isn’t, that needs to become a priority to resolve.
- Take the expense hit and create a simple mobile app that visitors to your site or offline properties can download. This can be an overview of products; a simple e-commerce app; an inventory checker; a mobile loyalty card; a fun media app; or a number of other solutions. Encourage use of the app by giving special offers or discounts to those app users (you can track the uptake and success of these by something like Google Campaigns in your analytics set-up).
- Market to your market. This might sound a lot like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many businesses lack it… Looking at your analytics, as well as monitoring how your content is being shared (are users tweeting about you from an iPhone app versus an Android one, for instance), you can tailor content and landing pages to the preferred platform. iPhone users may prefer a less cluttered design, while Android users may prefer being able to save a sale inside their Google Calendar directly from their smartphone.
- Optimize the experience for the experience of the user. As the comScore report shows, the demographics of smartphone use are very different from standard mobile browsing. Take advantage of this, and build offers, mobile promotions and more around the language and purchase cycles of your demographic. Can you tie a fun, QR-code led promotion for surfers during Spring Break, for example? Or a movie tie-in special using mobile-exclusive codes for the Twilight saga, and have SMS specials delivered to moviegoers who text your number for the offer?
Again, these are just some basic ideas on how you can measure your audience; adapt on the fly to time-sensitive opportunities; and implement quickly and smartly (no pun intended) to the smartphone crowd.
The opportunities are pretty much endless. And smartphone users have shown that they’re open to offers, especially if they’re well-planned and executed properly.
But with the information available to businesses from a variety of sources, that should now be the easy part. You just need to make sure you’re in the mobile game to start with.