May 1, 2012
Last April, Microsoft Tag predicted that by 2014, mobile Internet will overtake desktop Internet usage. For many people, the mobile phone is an extension of the human body or maybe a second brain. It’s portable and personal, and according to mobiThinking.com, there are 5.9 billion mobile subscribers — 87 percent of the world population.
As I described in the article, “Understanding ‘Black Twitter’: A look at the increasingly diverse Internet population,” (Tactics, October 2011) certain groups of people are more likely to access the Web via mobile devices than traditional Internet connections.
Ease of use changes habits. According to Microsoft, 86 percent of mobile device users surf the Web from their phones while watching TV. Many people are choosing to use their phones instead of their desktop computers. So if I’m watching a morning talk show and see that a company is launching a contest on your website, based on analytics, then I’m likely to go to your site using my mobile device.
According to mobiThinking.com, 71 percent of smartphone users who see TV, print or online ads, conduct a mobile search afterward. Of Alexa’s top 20 websites, 18 have a device detection feature that adapts the website to the mobile phone that it is displayed on. It’s not an app, so the big advantage is that it works across all platforms no matter what type of phone someone is using.
Keep in mind that mobile Web viewers have different objectives from desktop Web users. Mobile Web viewers are usually in action mode, while desktop users tend to be in research or browse mode.
Here are a few ways to make sure that your website is mobile-ready:
The evolution of mobile has opened the doors for us to speak to audiences directly and in multiple ways. This places a significant amount of control in the hands of the PR practitioner. Because of the unfiltered relationship that mobile technology helps facilitate between us and our target communities, messaging can be more dynamic than ever.
For example, take the campaign that American Express launched this March at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. The campaign was an exclusive concert for AMEX cardholders who met two requirements: They were SXSW attendees and they linked their AMEX cards to a Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare account.
While all three social media platforms are available via mobile devices, the location-based service Foursquare is the best example of how mobile delivers a message to the target audience on their terms. Each time that a cardholder checked into a location via Foursquare, they received a notification of any applicable AMEX offers.
Promotions with check-ins aren’t exactly a new concept. What’s significant here is how the brand broke the cyber wall and didn’t require customers to download an AMEX app or sign up on their site. The company used existing social platforms to provide value to their current customers and gain new customers as well. Five years ago, that wasn’t possible; and two years ago, this technology wasn’t as inexpensive as it is today.
Consider what your audience can gain from your brand. In addition to coupons and offers, the types of content that can help you engage with various communities include:
The ubiquity of mobile devices gives you the opportunity to engage with your community in a more personal way when they shop, watch TV and socialize. The challenge is to ensure that you and your organization connect and adapt to the rapid changes in how people consume and interact with information.