Mobile is not a separate platform


Tom Smith, founder of GlobalWebIndex, exclusively talks us through their latest research into mobile internet usage around the world.

For many brands, mobile marketing is an exciting prospect but largely under invested, particularly considering the rapid growth of adoption and usage.

Everyone knows that mobile is important, but incorporating it into an overall marketing strategy has been daunting and frequently it has been bolted on the end with a small budget and utilised in a tactical sense.  One barrier is that mobile is still seen as a separate “media” type, but as our research shows consumers are increasingly spreading their internet behaviour across multiple platforms, with the mobile device increasingly at the core. This follows on from Robin’s post on ‘How we use our mobile devices’ that suggests PC, mobile and tablets are going to be interchangeable when accessing the internet. For this reason you cannot look at “The Internet” and “The mobile” separately, they are integrated and linked.

At the Mobile Marketing Association’s Brand and Agency Briefing in London, we discussed our latest set of research that shows that consumers don’t see the distinctions between devices in the same way brands and marketers do and suggests that we need a radical rethink in how we approach mobile:

The briefing gave us a chance to highlight some of the most important insights that coming out of our research at the moment which include:

  1. Mobile internet usage continues to grow rapidly, spearheading a multi-platform post PC world and in many markets mobile activities such as news and social networking are reaching parity with PC
  2. Emerging internet markets are leading the way, as shown by China and Indonesia, and increasingly being driven by high end smart phones as the huge sales of the iPhone in China demonstrate.
  3. There are key internet activities that are becoming device agnostic – this includes social media. It isn’t the device that dictates how people behave online anymore. People’s activities are driving the decision to which device fits the purpose. Certain internet activities have a much higher level of cross-device usage than others; micro-bloggers, for example, are nearly twice as likely to be using PCs, smartphones, and tablets to tweet. Other activities, such as uploading photos and using mapping services, users are much more likely to use mobile phones rather than tablets. These differences are less driven by the device function and more a reflection of the specific consumer segment, their interests and lifestyle
  4. Due to growing device agnostic behaviour it’s more important than ever to understand your target audience, as the device is no longer a barrier. Our research shows that specific target segments replicate behaviour across devices. This means understanding your consumer and their needs and interests is more important than ever to delivering great strategy and ideas

In summary, it’s no longer right to look at “Mobile” as a separate platform. We need to plan and build a strategy across multiple platforms.