Belfast Telegraph

Mobile devices outstrip desktop internet searches

By Martin Byrne

Google has been predicting the 'mobile eclipse' - the moment when web searches on mobile exceeded desktop - for years. They have been reminiscent of a sort of a doomsday cult -revising the predicted date every few months as the horsemen of the apocalypse failed to show. But last month it arrived, and at the same time as a new suite of Google Adword tools to more effectively target mobile users. That definitely calls for a smirking emoji.

Google has been shouting about the importance of mobile for a while now, with the most recent tactic to draw attention to the shift being 'Mobilegeddon' where Google started to punish websites with poor mobile usability by moving them down the search rankings. It might be a self-fulfilled prophecy but the big guys in the Googleplex are right, the web is going mobile and this presents a mixed bag for marketers.

The behavioural insights afforded by people's social media interactions have never been so quantifiable and so geo-specific. Want to target people who live in your postcode who intend to travel to Thailand? Easy. Want to deliver a voucher code to fans of barbecue food within three miles of your rib shack just before lunchtime? No problemo.

But many marketers think they know all there is to know about mobile marketing based on their trusty common sense, so here are three common misconceptions to factor out of your next plan.

1. Mobile doesn't mean mobile - last year 48% of net users confessed to engaging in another digital activity whilst watching TV. That means people are using their mobile devices as 'second screens' - while completely sedentary and with time to read longer content and carry through extended online processes.

2. Work life balance - is a thing of the past, at least according to a recent survey from IDG which showed that 73% of US B2B executives used mobile to research products or services for their business in the evenings. Nine to 5 really is no more.

3. Sofa Shopping - as consumers got comfortable with online purchase and retailers improved checkout experiences on mobile, 'm-commerce' has gone stratospheric. The value of UK e-commerce transactions on mobile devices increased by over 30% in a year and a third of online purchases in the UK are expected to come from mobile in 2015.

The 'second screen' provides opportunities to the savvy marketer but newbies should tread carefully (and seek expert advice).

People share an intimate relationship with their mobile, they literally carry it next to their hearts wherever they go and it is their main means of communication.

Too many push notifications can be pushy, geo-promoting a cheap deal can feel cheap and over-promoting your sales can be…salesy. So get creative with your content. Think useful, think entertaining but most importantly, think like your customer before you try to close the deal.

  • Martin Byrne is a marketing consultant for Morrow Communications

Belfast Telegraph