Mobile phones have quickly become the most ubiquitous piece of technology ever. The market penetration in Australia is a staggering 111.4% of the population. With the web capabilities of phones growing exponentially, optimizing website content for mobiles is becoming increasingly important.
Although you may not be heavily involved in mobile web browsing (yet), mobile marketing and mobile specific content is starting to yield some very impressive results. Stephanie Bauer Marshall, the Mobile Advertising Leader for Verizon Wireless, revealed that mobile banner ads have the same brand recall as TV spots. The ROI on that has got to be amazing.
The same study revealed that click-through-rates (CTRs) of mobile banner ads are substantially higher than their online counterparts achieving a CTR of 2% compared to the 0.3% of web banner ads.
However, mobile internet usage differs vastly from regular internet browsing. Pre-eminent mobile technology expert, Tomi Ahonen, sees PC internet users as fulfilling a 30 minute task, compared to the 30 second quick fix mobile users are fulfilling whilst they're out and about. This essentially means that the information needs of mobile internet users' differs greatly from your average PC based internet user.
Designing web content for mobile users' is therefore an information architecture issue. Because their usage greatly differs, their information requirements also greatly differ. Therefore a one-size-fits-all approach to web content doesn't really solve the problem.
Due to smaller screen sizes and this idea of a 30 second task, content has to be optimized to make it both quick and simple for mobile users to find. When developing standard online content, the conversion process, although as short as possible, is designed to be information rich. Although this is extremely effective for PC users, it completely contradicts mobile users' needs who will really only want the information relevant to their needs so that time isn't wasted sifting through a highly informative site.
Merely making your current web content compatible for mobile viewing is not enough to enjoy the high success rates mobile marketing data seems to suggest. Due to the differing usage patterns, and information requirements, mobile specific content must be developed.
Stay tuned for more updates on the mobile internet phenomenon.