The mobile market matures – a European snapshot from iProspect's 2012 Mobile Landscape report

As the penetration of mobile devices reaches critical mass in most markets, Mark Fagan, head of search and performance media, iProspect, provides a snapshot of the mobile landscape and discusses how brands can harness the growth in mobile.

BackgroundIn October 2012, iProspect released its ‘2012 Mobile Landscape: Western Europe’ eBook. In association with TNS NIPO, iProspect researched over 2600 respondents in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK were questioned through an online questionnaire. All respondents were smartphone users, making use of the mobile internet between the ages of 16-60. iProspect then garnered this data to provide an insight-driven approach to mobile strategy and execution.The new mobileOnce referred to as the ‘third screen’, mobile devices are fast becoming the first screen for many users. We are at the mobile inflection point – the penetration of mobile devices has reached critical mass in most markets. US adults already spent more media time on mobile than on newspapers and magazines combined at the end of 2011, according to a study from eMarketer, and the on-demand and highly targeted nature of mobile channel gives brands a seamless way to get in front of the right consumers, at the right time, with the right advertising content.One of the key findings from this report found that businesses with a strong mobile presence have a critical edge over their non-mobile competition, where 61 per cent of customers who visit a mobile unfriendly site are likely to go to a competitor’s site. Clearly as the mobile landscape has matured, consumer expectations have risen. High-quality, fully functional mobile access to brands is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a required element for brands that want to compete. Fortunately, the breadth and depth of mobile marketing opportunities is expanding to meet the growing need for creative and relevant executions. Businesses with strong mobile presence have a critical edge over their competitors. In the same way that our mobile devices connect us to each other and all the resources of the internet, the mobile channel provides a central point-of-contact for all the elements of your marketing campaigns. Integrating mobile provides incremental and extremely relevant opportunities for consumer awareness, engagement and conversion. It puts your brand at consumers’ fingertips – whenever and wherever they are. While recent US data shows that the desktop PC is the primary device used to access the Internet during what most people consider “working hours,” our study shows that the five European markets we surveyed all saw a sustained pattern of smartphone usage throughout the day. Most countries demonstrated a preference for smartphones over the runner-up, desktop PC, during working hours, with Germany showing the highest difference (51 per cent vs 38 per cent). Smartphones are the device of choice for users who are running errands. A strong mobile presence helps local businesses maximize foot traffic and gain a competitive edge over less mobile-accessible brands. It also gives brands the opportunity to remain connected to consumers, right up to the point of conversion. That also means the time of day that consumers are using the web is changing – commute time in particular is becoming a key personal browsing period, filling in the gaps between work internet time and home internet time with mobile. Consumers are using their smartphones as a primary device for personal tasks during work hours – meaning brands have more mobile “air time” than they may have previously assumed. In fact, 64 per cent of our study’s respondents said they felt they were 'always connected' to the internet.For advertisers, all that time on the mobile web is converting in to site traffic, and increasingly to revenue. Mobile offers higher engagement rates than PC for all ad types, and they are converting into sales. Mobile Planet, a dataset from Google, Ipsos, the IAB and the Mobile Marketing Association, shows that at least half of mobile shoppers make purchases monthly on their smartphones. Brands need to take advantage of analytics platforms to evaluate consumer click paths and optimise the experiences they are finding to be most relevant. It’s important to remember too that understanding all this traffic will need a new, mobile mindset. Applying traditional, one-to-one measurement to a mobile campaign can lead to incomplete, inaccurate, or misleading data. Your campaign goals and metrics need to be defined within the context of the mobile channel, considering device and consumer preferences and behaviours. In addition to sales conversion, evaluate the relevance of non-traditional responses such as app downloads, calls, store locator actions, etc. While these responses may not directly produce revenue, they have a very real relevance to the consumer’s ultimate purchase decision. Overwhelmingly, respondents from all countries indicated that the most common action that follows clicking on any kind of mobile ad (paid, organic or banner) on their smartphone was searching for more details, followed by purchasing the product in either online or offline.So, how can marketers approach this new reality? We have outlined four big ideas that will help you think mobile:Mobile works best when it is integrated. One of the biggest mistakes brands make with mobile is handling it as an afterthought or a stand-alone channel. Look at ways to blend traditional, online, and mobile tactics to create a 360-degree “immersion” campaign.More than other channels, you need to relate to your consumer. People use mobile differently than they use other online devices and that usage changes based on a number of variables including demographics, location, and cultural behaviour patterns.Think beyond branding. Many companies assume that mobile is only good for brand awareness campaigns, but it can also be used to effectively generate sales, leads, and produce a positive ROI.Recognise the importance of device targeting. Users of each device (PC, smartphone, tablet) and each OS (iOS, Android, Symbian, Windows or others) display varying behaviours. These insights will help you understand how your consumers are interacting with your brand and provide additional levels of optimisation.

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