My Points from mini SASCon 2012

Last week I sat on a panel at this year’s mini SAScon which took place in Manchester.  The title of the panel was “Mobile and Location – Where Does the Future Lie?” and I was in the esteemed company of Ben McKay of MoneySuperMarket, Guy Levine of Return on Digital and Lewis Macdonald of Starfish360.  I thought I would do a quick post summarising the points I made on the panel for those that attended and found it interesting or those that couldn’t make it.

Mobile Strategy Starts with Your Customers

In order to develop a mobile strategy companies need to consider their customers and how they want to be interacted with.  How do you currently engage with your customers and how can mobile devices and technology develop that engagement and improve it.  For example if your current engagement is through a CRM system or customer portal then maybe an app would be a good way of extending and improving this.  If your engagement is largely through your website then ensuring this is mobile optimised is a must.  Or if it is largely via phone then maybe simple SMS notifications will suffice.  There is no one size fits all approach, it always has to come back to your business and your customers.

Mobile is Not Just About Media or Search

Due to the nature of the crowd and the speakers at SAScon the conversation would invariably come back to online advertising and search, but mobile is not just about this.  Mobile can be a CRM tool, a retention tool, a communication tool and many other things as well as an acquisition tool.  Again, it has to come back to your business and your customers.

Mobile Makes Things Complex

This was the first answer I think I gave and was in response to the question “what does the growing use of search on mobile devices mean to search practitioners and their strategies?”  the growing use of mobile devices and their inherent proximity to a person’s location adds complexity to not only search strategies but media and advertising strategies in general.  Essentially you are adding at least two layers to additional consideration to every engagement, device and location.  You then need to decide based on query, device, location, time of day and all the other factors available, how you want to engage with users.  This makes search increasingly complex to do well.

I Hate the Phrase Big Data

Data and its use for marketing purposes are nothing new.  Before the days of digital marketing direct marketers were using large amounts of data collected to make their campaigns work more effectively.  Not much has changed now apart from some advancements in what we can track.

What I do agree with is the amount of data, used in the right way, is an exciting prospect.  Retailers are setting up in store wifi which will allow them to know what you are doing with your phone in store.  If they can overlay that with store card information or mobile purchasing it makes for an exciting prospect.

Mobile is Interruptive and Retailers Need to Understand How to Use It

Whatever your industry mobile is affecting it now, or will be doing at some point in the not too distant future.  It is changing how your customers want to engage with your, pay you, be advertised to.  The challenge for marketers is to understand what it means to you and your business and put in place the strategy to make the most of the opportunities it presents.

If you were at the session please let me know what you thought in the comments below and also if you picked anything up I have missed above.

Mobile is not the future: The future is platform neutral

Mobile is something I am guilty of forcing down people’s throats at any given opportunity. Be it mobile search, mobile advertising, mobile optimised sites, mobile apps or overall mobile strategy, I’ll talk about it all day given the opportunity. In fact I am sitting on a panel at mini Sascon next week on this very subject.

And mobile will undoubtedly be something we continue spend a lot of time discussing in the next couple of years as the hundreds of large companies who find themselves having to rebuild, re-educate, and refocus based on a new world of always on connectivity.

But mobile is not the future, not beyond the next couple of years anyway. That’s because as the world and technology continue to evolve the future is a platform neutral environment. One where the device you access content on is largely irrelevant. Device fragmentation in the market will ensure of this. Whether it be smaller tablets like the iPad mini, or larger phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note, the device is becoming less predictable and in many ways less relevant.

Of course there is a clear distinction between a machine which is fixed in a location, to one which is used on the move, but the lines here also begin to become blurred as favourites, files and actions become shared between fixed and portable devices. How do you treat somebody on a desktop if their activity can be easily transferred to a portable device and completed there? Are the desktop, mobile, somewhere in between?

The challenge here is having an approach which suits all devices and meets all needs, simple! OK maybe not. With web analytics struggling with cross platform tracking and the possibility of users intentions changing as they switch device it becomes particularly complicated to know how to treat them.

But this is the future challenge marketers face, how to interact with a user who has so many potential online interaction points with your business with varied needs at each interaction. It’s a challenging future, but an exciting one too, as it opens up a whole host of new opportunities that we are just becoming to realise.

Barriers to Mobile Media Adoption

Last night I spoke on a panel at Mobile Monday Manchester on the subject of barriers to greater mobile media adoption.  I seemed to strike a cord with some of the audience as some points prompted a but of healthy debate to say the least! The slides I used are below for those that were asking afterwards.

For the record I am a big advocate of mobile media but I feel it has a long way to go before it realises its potential as a media and advertising channel.  The main thing it requires is agencies, clients and media owners to utilise it better, and appreciate it for its unique attributes rather than treating it as the Internet on a smaller screen.

Mobile Monday Manchester

The Mobile Revolution in Numbers

I sat on an interesting panel at SASCon in May discussing the opportunities and challenges presenting by the emergence of multi-platform Internet usage.  You can my slides below but I also thought I’d share some of the stats and resource I gathered whilst researching the topic prior to the panel, some of which I used, some I didn’t.

Search trends on mobile devices

  • On average 51% of smart phone users across the globe would be classified as ‘heavy search users’ on their mobile phone – UK 49%, US 53%
  • In the western world, no country has less than a 33% figure for smart phone users who are heavy searchers (Finland)
  • In the UK that would be 15% of the population (nearly 10 million people) ‘heavy search users on smartphones’, in Singapore 37% of the population
  • Search the 2nd most frequent activity on a tablet
  • Mobile searches have quadrupled in the last year, for many items one in seven searches are now mobile.

Internet browsing by device – the shift towards mobile

  • April 2011 browsing by device – desktop 95.26% mobile 4.43%
  • April 2012 browsing by device – desktop 91.44% mobile 7.30%

Offline and mobile interaction

  • In America, 75% use TV and Internet simultaneously
  • 86% of US mobile internet users use their phone while watching TV
  • 71 percent of smartphone users that see TV, press or online ad, do a mobile search

Device penetration

  • There are 5.9 billion mobile subscribers (that’s 87 percent of the world population)
  • There are now 1.2 billion mobile Web users worldwide, based on the latest stats for active mobile-broadband subscriptions worldwide; Asia is top region.
  • With more than 55m iPads sold worldwide, and around 5m in the UK – more of whose users are over 55 than under 35 – this is already a mass-market device.

Mobile Search Engine Market Share

  • April 2012 Global mobile search engine market share:
    • Google 91.14%
    • Yahoo 4.86%
    • Baidu 1.96%
    • Bing 1.29%
    • Ask 0.57%
    • Other 0.19%
  • April 2011 mobile search engine market share:
    • Google 93.06%
    • Yahoo 4.71%
    • Baidu 1.03%
    • Bing 0.88%
    • Ask 0.17%
    • Other 0.15% 

Mobile internet usage

  • Mobile subscriptions outnumber fixed lines 5:1 (more so in developing nations); Mobile broadband outnumbers fixed broadband 2:1.
  • Mobile devices account for 8.49 percent of global Website hits.
  • Many mobile Web users are mobile-only, i.e. they do not, or very rarely use a desktop, laptop or tablet to access the Web. Even in the US 25 percent of mobile Web users are mobile-only.
  •  Most people aren’t mobile when they’re using it (tablet). Most of them are, in fact, on the couch, watching TV, in the kitchen or in bed.
  • Tablet users search at different times – desktop and laptop computers are for work, and tablets are more for entertainment at home.

mCommerce stats

  • Paying by mobile will be worth US$240 billion in 2011 and could be over US$1 trillion by 2015.
  • Japan sets the precedent for m-payment 47 million Japanese have adopted tap-and-go phones, and in China alone, there will be 169 million users of tap-and-go payments in 2013.
  • 1 in 8 mobile subscribers will use m-ticketing in 2015 for airline, rail and bus travel, festivals, cinemas and sports events.

SASCon 2012 Slides

What is Driving Mobile Internet Adoption

This seemed a fitting post topic seen as I am without home broadband for a while and posting this from my iPhone. Mobile Internet has been the subject of many “Now is the time” themed posts over the past few years but it has only really been in last 18 months or so, as smart phones have hit the mainstream, that the masses have begun using the mobile web. So what has been holding it back from taking off before now? And what more needs to change to promote further adoption?

Speed, accessibility and usability have all been issues in adoption to date. The rise of the iPhone, Blackberry, and now the Nexus one have already, and will continue to, speed up the growth of mobile Internet usage.

With more usage also comes a perceived need. Do you really need to check Facebook or Twitter 10 times a day? No, but you do because it only requires you to touch the icon on your phone.

Further advancements in accessibility through applications and bespoke service solutions will further drive growth.

I think mobile web is definitely “the future” it’s just how far in the future we are talking.

For now, I am going to stop typing and won’t be posting again from my phone for a while as my eyes ate hurting from squinting and my thumbs are aching from typing on this tiny keyboard!

Any typos are courtesy of my iPhone!