The Race for Mobile Supremacy and How It Affects Your Business Strategy

Who wins the smartphone warIf 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.

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.

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.

This post originally appeared on the Jugnoo blog. It offers insights into marketing, mobile and social media trends – subscribe here to get our latest posts.

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  1. says

    Very good point about checking analytics to see how much mobile traffic you are receiving.  I’ve shown this data to clients in the past to push them into getting some form of a mobile version for their website.

    • says

       @Nicole Elmore I’d certainly look at your audience and see if the needs are there. Not every industry needs to be mobile-optimized, but you do need to know if yours is one that does.

  2. says

    Great post Danny you know I am all about Mobile and a cynical bastard with my expectations. You can get mobile apps cheaply but business need help deciding what is the best fit. To have an app for the wrong reason is a waste of money. And if you expect your app to be found in an APP store you are high. This is no different than telling businesses the best way to get Twitter and Facebook followers is not on those sites but your own website, store, business card. Mobile needs to be viewed the same way.
    You have no idea how many QR codes take people to non-mobile formatted sites. Fact is the APPLE IPhone commercial highlighting mobile’s failings with the zoom in and out feature…fact is if I have to zoom I am gone.
    For all brands with physical stores and products that are not unique to your business (think Best Buy) get ready for customers to challenge your pricing from their phone and order elsewhere if you don’t match pricing for them. And I suggest you do if they can get something within 5 or 10 miles the higher the ticket item the more likely they will leave and buy.

    • says

       @HowieSPM You, cynical? You do surprise me, mate… 😉
      I HATE non-formatted QR drivers with a vengeance. All that time and marketing and the user experience on the end product is still a shitty non-optimized site? Come on, that’s lazy at best…

  3. says

    Hey Danny. Excellent advice.
    I can speak to two things, from very recent experience. As I write this, for our “main” newspaper’s website, 23 percent of our traffic is from Android, iPhones, and Blackberry. We also have a growing base of visitors from iPads and iPods. This trend, of course, has been growing.
    First, the idea of mobile apps. At our newspaper, a mobile app that would fully meet the needs and expectations of our customers (readers and advertisers) would have likely been too expensive to develop.  We simply can’t afford to develop our own app that is on level with the “big papers.” Our approach was to team with a larger entity already in the “app market” with a fully developed product – in our case, the Associated Press.
    As an AP member paper, we provide the “local news” for our area, and we are allowed to sell advertising on the app. AP gets that local content without having to dedicate its own resources. It’s a win-win.
    Our second approach is to create a “second website” if you will, one that is optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
    But that isn’t where it ends. The important consideration is audience, therefore we are currently really diving into our analytics to determine what content is being consumed by desktop/laptop users, iPad users, mobile device users, etc. What type of content is each group after, what story telling methods do they prefer (writing, photography, video?), and how can we repurpose our content to suit the needs of print readers, digital readers and the rapidly growing audience of mobile readers.
    To me, content remains the key – of all the content our newspaper produces, what is it the mobile readers are looking for, and what is their preferred mechanism of presentation.
    Can’t consider any mobile strategy without considering the content strategy and just as it is foolish for online to simply be a replica of print, I believe it is foolish for mobile to simply be a replica of a website.

    • says

       @ClayMorgan Love these examples, mate – like you say, you don’t need to incur the expense if you’re smart about strategic alliances. And if you keep the users at the forefront of all you goals, you’ll have an audience.
      Cheers, sir!

  4. says

    The mobile world has to be taken into account, at least in some countries, especially because if I’m correct people using tablets and smartphone don’t click on ads or leave comments. They still bring traffic but that’s it. If I’m correct. :)

  5. says

    Yes, mobile and social media will be the big things when it comes to reaching out to the market. New entrepreneurs must anticipate this when they start their business.