5 Signs 2010 will be The Year of Mobile

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If I had a nickel for every time I've heard "this is the year for mobile," I would have many, many nickels. Probably enough to buy a new mobile phone. But tell people now that "this is the year" and you will likely get a much less droidskeptical response. The mobile phone has completely transformed how the human race communicates and interacts. Mobile phones are an indespensible item and carried with the same priority as identification and credit cards. But, by and large, mobile phones have remained just a communication device and occasional brick-breaking diversion.

That era is over. And 2010 will truly be "The Year of Mobile."

Not convinced? Below are five reasons I'm right.

 

  1. The numbers. Analysts at market intelligence firm IDC claim that more than a billion mobile devices will be connected to the Web by the end of 2010. That's close to the predicted number of Web-connected PCs, at 1.3 billion. IDC also notes that the growth rate of mobile devices is 2.5 times higher than that of PCs. The explosion of Web-connected devices ensures that websites will continue to optimize for the mobile Web. Mobile screens are still small - meaning that a mobile-optimized Web is a necessity, not an afterthought. And now.

  2. Mobile banking and transactions. Where there are consumers, there is money to be made. Mercatus Center at George Mason University recently conducted a survey and found that banks with mobile offerings can increase new customer acquisition by 60 percent. They also found that consumers were more likely to choose a bank for their mobile offerings over online banking, access to ATMs or nearby branches. When consumers are comfortable handling their hard-earned cash through a mobile device - with the endorsement (security) of their banks - making any number of purchases is a no-brainer. There's also the rapid development of micro-payments by companies like Google, and this handy device, making mobile credit card processing fast, easy, and accessible to anyone. Nothing pushes development like economic opportunity.

  3. Droid. Sure, the iPhone broke the mold and is still unrivaled. But Droid is the most significant competitor to the iPhone. Most important, Droid upped the ante with Verizon's unmatched 3G coverage and huge network of mobile subscribers. The mobile Web is faster than ever and more accessible to a growing mobile Web userbase. Competition is always a good thing and Droid unquestionably forces the hand of every mobile device manufacturer, including Apple. More 3G-enabled devices means lower price points to entry per user, resulting in higher demand for mobile Web functionality.

  4. Social networking. Some people speculate that the first release of Facebook's iPhone app single-handedly strained the entire AT&T mobile network. I don't doubt it. Social networking is not a trend, it's a new standard in global culture. It also lends itself nicely to mobile. It's a natural communication platform, a way to connect people, even a viable way to market goods and services to people no matter where they are. There are now more than 350 million Facebook users alone, and it's safe to say the overwhelming majority of them have mobile devices.

  5. Affordable Apps. Predictions are that 300,000 apps will be available for the iPhone by the end of 2010, along with more than 50,000 through Android. Those numbers have the potential to go even higher, as apps become more affordable to create. Companies like AppBreeder, BuildAnApp, Appcelerator and a dozen or so others can build apps (or give you the tools to do it yourself) for under $100. You don't even need a business to get int he app game - AppIncubator lets you simply submit an idea, then share the revenue from the finished product. Apps drive smartphone adoption. Think about consumers walking around with dozens of businesses in their pockets. There might be no better way to build brand equity with users than an app - they are completely opt-in.

The question is not if 2010 is the year of mobile. It is. The real question is, what are you doing to prepare your business?

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10 comments

DavidTheMavin 12-04-2009 3:18 PM

The number one sign was Google purchasing AdMob. With a Google owned ad network that is catering to mobile, the rest will be history imho.

Also, I would say the Droid is the #1 competitor to the Blackberry, not the iPhone. Think "I'm a Mac & I'm a PC" spreading to mobile.

Mike Phillips 12-04-2009 3:25 PM

Good call on the Google acquisition of AdMob. Definitely a game-changer.

Thanks David.

SEO Dallas 12-04-2009 3:48 PM

Google's recently announced page load time will be a factor in ranking, that's got to be in part a nod to mobile.

AndriY 12-06-2009 4:11 AM

Nice analysis... you gave very clear review

Rick McGarry 12-07-2009 10:22 AM

What should very small businesses with only a few hundred dollars to spend do to prepare?

Mike Phillips 12-07-2009 11:01 AM

@RickM:

Most important, I suggest offering at least some sort of mobile presence. You can create a mobile-friendly website on a small budget and there are some services that can detect a mobile browser before loading the Web page. The idea is to at least give consumers "clean" access to your website via a mobile device.

Also, consider simply offering a touch point to consumers via their mobile. That could mean an SMS feedback option, or asking customers to opt-in to your SMS text-based campaigns - offering periodic company updates, coupons, etc. But be careful not to overdo it - the mobile is a very personal space for consumers.

That can be done on a small budget.

It costs nothing to set up social media profiles, and mobile users can easily scan profiles on mobile devices.

Also, as mentioned, mobile apps are available on a budget, even if they are relatively stripped-down. It might not be the most complex app, but again, it provides a mobile channel to your brand for the user.

Finally, don't overlook e-mail. Most mobile phones out there support e-mail. It's an easy way to have a mobile "presence." Keep in mind, however, that the mobile screen is small and complex e-mails loaded with graphics, excessive links or video will not perform well on most mobile devices. Be succinct and tailor those messages to the needs of a user "on the go."

GregC 12-08-2009 9:26 PM

Hey Mike.  Thanks for the laundry list of mobile ideas for the small business folks like me.  Great ideas.

JoseE 12-09-2009 12:22 PM

I have a game company and we have developed a few Iphone games www.genplay.com/.../iphonegames and I have had trouble getting the downloads we need.  I think they have great potential and they are of good quality, but for some reason we can not get the sales. Any ideas how to drive a good marketing campaign for itunes/iphone?

Barbara Zaccone 12-28-2009 1:41 PM

We are in the process of developing our mobile web presence. We are putting in allot of thought into what our visitor what to see when they arrive at our site. Our mobile presence is going to be simple, elegant, informative and straight forward. We plan on using it as a "best practice" example for our clients as we move them into the mobile marketing space. Mike's comment on mobile e-mail is a reminder on how we have to be mindful of what we send to mobile users. As I recall email is second to social media on the use of the internet (it use to be first).

garage sales 02-05-2010 3:39 PM

We believe that the Droid will try to be the next biggest game changer in our mobile lives as the iPhone has done in the past 2 1/2 years. Having to do our banking and there is an app for that lifestyle we will start to see a decline in pc sales and an ever greater increase in phone sales and all the things we do on. We actually have an app coming out from the app incubator in a couple of weeks so even surfing on the internet I see I am running into conflicts in my mobile life!

p.s. Great article.

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