Did you know that the U.S. now has more wireless customer connections than people? There are currently estimated to be 327.6 million active wireless customer connections in the U.S. The nation’s population is estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau to be roughly 312 million. This means that today there are now more active broadband tablets, cell phones, and mobile devices than people in this country.
In fourth quarter of 2008 the CTIA conference in San Diego reported there were 269.6 million wireless customers. In a span of two years wireless customer growth has exceeded 20 percent. In 2008, the CTIA also projected by 2014 that the nation would have more wireless connections than residents.
Obviously, this already has happened!
Total Mobile Users on Web in the U.S.
As reported in the Comscore mobile reports in October, 6.8 percent of all U.S. Web traffic occurred from mobile devices. The marketing news and research service eMarketer estimated in August that more than 91 million consumers in the U.S. will use mobile searches on a monthly basis by the end of 2011. And what do I do with this Information?
If you represent a big brand or even a medium size business, you should take this as a strong signal that if you don’t have a mobile strategy now is the time to figure one out. Right now, you are potentially missing out on a consumer base that is accessing the mobile Web in masses and is growing rapidly. To this end, here are seven mobile marketing tips that virtually every company should consider implementing on their website.
1. Have a page for each business location and properly optimized for mobile, with phone number & address displayed (optimally within microformats).
Summary: Make sure you are developing and producing Google Places, Bing Business Places and other online local directory listings (Yellow Pages, City Search, etc.) as applicable and relevant to your businesses physical location.
Important Mobile Stat #1: 33 percent of mobile users are looking to access local content relevant to their GPS positioned location (eMarkerter, August 2011).
2. Segment Mobile User Agent detection by feature phone, smartphone and tablet.
Summary: Test your current pages with mobile emulators to determine your current mobile experience. Develop server side scripts to detect the type of device that is accessing your site and serve up a mobile friendly version of the page. Here is a great Google resource page to answer some common questions. A key factor to keep in mind is that tablet and smartphones can use different user agents since they render pages differently, so don’t assume both are the same. Mobilizer is a great tool to use to test your mobile capability with the above mentioned device types.
Important Mobile Stat #2: Market shares of top mobile platforms accessing the Web (Comscore, October 2011)
- Google Android: 38.1%
- Apple: 26.6%
- RIM: 24.7%
- Microsoft: 5.8%
- Symbian: 2.1%
3. Utilize smartphone and tablet specific rendering on the same desktop URL.
Summary: Creating a whole new mobile sub-domain m.yourdomain.com is not necessary. You can utilize user agent detection as mentioned above and leverage the same desktop page, which potentially has strong equity -- just with a mobile twist.
Important Mobile Stat #3: According to a Google 2010 study, 71 percent of smartphone users use offline media to do mobile search. Using an existing desktop page that has strong organic equity (with the mobile version) can ensure you have strong mobile search visibility.
4. Declare the correct mobile DocType for each feature phone URL.
Summary: Much as you do with a regular desktop web page, make sure you are using mobile XHTML doc types on your mobile page headers.
Important Mobile Stat #4: According to a Google 2010 mobile study, 79% of large online advertisers do not have mobile optimized sites
5. Use micro-formats to better delineate the correct address and phone number for each business location.
Summary: Micro-format’s are becoming very important elements in standard best practices for Web pages, allowing you to more clearly define page elements with these tags. Here is a great site to reference for more information on micro-formats.
Important Mobile Stat #5: According to a Google 2010 study, one in three mobile searches are local, and 61 percent of those users actually called the business.
6. Leverage mobile XML sitemap and its submission to search engines for feature phone URLs.
Summary: Make sure to create a mobile site map so search engines can easily understand where your mobile pages are and serve them up for relevant searches. Also, be sure to include feature phone URL’s. These phones typically can browse the web, but only in a very limited format. Here is a Google link to learn the basics on mobile sitemaps.
7. Use HTML 5 on the desktop site to replace or supplement your business mobile app strategy.
Summary: HTML 5 is the wave of future site architecture. Be an early adopter and stay ahead of the curve. HTML 5 allows you to view URL’s with dynamic features that apps currently offer for mobile devices. Click here for more on HTML 5 guidelines.
Important Mobile Stat #6: According to an Adobe study in the fourth quarter of 2010 reported by eMarketer, most surveyed individuals preferred the experience of a mobile browser offered to search for content over an app.
Mobile is one of the fastest growing online marketing channels. Now that active mobile devices exceed the nation’s total population, it is clearly a statistic that no business should overlook. Take advantage of these tips to start putting together a mobile strategy for your business.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!