Monday, February 27, 2012

Going Mobile

From texting a friend to looking up reviews for a certain restaurant, society is increasingly incorporating smartphones into their daily lives. No longer a luxury, smartphones have become cheaper, faster, and more versatile. According to Nielsen’s third quarter survey of mobile users, smartphone ownership has reached 43% of all U.S. mobile subscribers; the use of smartphones has steadily been increasing, with a majority of people under the age of 44 now using smartphones.

Recently, Google partnered with Ipsos to research how consumers use their smartphones and published their findings in “Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users.” Not only did they find that smartphone ownership has jumped globally, they found that consumers are constantly using their mobile devices. From their home to public transportation, people are frequently using their smartphones to access the internet to look up local content.

As a result of the increasing popularity of smartphones, advertisers are shifting to mobile devices as their new platforms. In Korea, a study has shown that Koreans spend an average of 79 minutes per day using their mobile devices (excluding calls and texts), while spending an average of 75 minutes per day watching television. With smartphones now capable of streaming movies and television shows, people are slowing replacing televisions as a source of entertainment/information. For advertisers, mobile ads are more attractive as they do not need to worry about limitations on time. Also, instead of spamming commercials with hopes that they will reach the correct audience, advertisers can easily tailor advertisements to target specific users, similarly to online advertising.

Currently, with the help of their Android devices, Google is dominating the mobile advertisement market. Competitors such as Apple have cut the minimum price it charges advertisers to run iAd mobile ads to better compete with Google. And recently, another advertising giant has decided to enter the fray: Facebook. On February 1, 2012, Facebook signed a deal with Bango, a firm that deals with mobile payment services, and is expected to announce its advertising plans this Wednesday in New York. With over 425 million members accessing Facebook through smartphones and tablets, Facebook will be pursuing mobile advertising as a source of revenue. While they have stayed quiet on their plans, there is speculation that Facebook is testing ads that appear like status updates on the news feed. Though they could be alienating users by bombarding them with ads, the payoff could be huge; MobileSquared, a British research firm, estimates that Facebook could possibly generate $653.7 million in the United States alone. As Google’s research has shown, in order for businesses to reach consumers in the future, they must go mobile.


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