As Internet marketers, it’s our job to stay either ahead of the curve or follow very closely behind it, and the clear curve to follow this year is mobile Internet. Five years ago, I was paying Verizon $1.95 to use my cell phone signal to check email on my LG VX8300 flip phone for 24 hours. Today, I spend my time soaring, tumbling and freewheeling through an endless data plan. I’ve emerged from the Stone Age of mobile Internet and into a future filled with unbelievable sights and indescribable feeling: a dazzling place I never knew.
And I’m not the only one.
In the past few years, mobile has exploded into the markets like an ignited can of nitrous oxide. Samsung claims it sold more than 300 million mobile handsets in 2011.
Apple has sold at least 222 million iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) to date and Android continues to grow steadily with half a million devices activated every day. Hold your breath, it gets better.
More important than these astounding sales numbers is how people are using their devices. This holiday season saw records shatter under the might of mobile as consumers did more of their shopping than ever before on smartphones and tablets.
The writing is on the wall: Mobile is the future.
As consumers move more rapidly to mobile solutions in the wake of tumbling prices and increased interest, Internet marketers will have to cultivate a deep knowledge about mobile behavior in order to get in front of the inevitable ascent of mobile Internet.
Mobile marketing has its accepted methods – email remains a strong technique due to the fact that smartphones allow people to have their inbox on them all the time, and who hasn’t seen the ads that pop up during almost any free app you download these days? That said, the industry is still a diamond in the rough and will require sophisticated methods as the technology morphs with the needs of customers. We will have to innovate these new methods or keep a finger to the pulse of the community in order to learn which new methods being developed are worth our time (and that of our clients) and which will ultimately be ineffective in the long term.
Current mobile marketing methods that are on the hot ticket are, or should be, familiar faces: social media marketing and text message campaigns.
Some companies even use text-to-call through methods (I’ve been unable to find successful conversion figures, but if they’re still around, they must be working, right?). These will undoubtedly play an important role as the online marketing industry begins to transition into Phase Two, whatever that is.
Indeed, 2012 will see the rise of mobile and with it, mobile marketing, but there is a villain in this fairy tale and its name is SOPA. The broad and far-reaching legislation threatens to severely limit the range of movement we Internet marketers and all denizens of the Web enjoy. This means one word for marketers: regulation.
While we’ve been relatively responsible and upstanding in the wild west of the Internet, government bodies are acting on behalf of entertainment powerhouses to reign in rampant and unchecked piracy. It’s unclear how this will play out in the coming year, but however it does, Internet marketers can be sure that they will be affected in some capacity.
The year is off to a rollicking start and it’s only just begun. With mobile continuing its ascent and manufacturers set to release higher-powered tablets at lower costs, we can be sure that marketing in 2012 will offer a hundred thousand things to see and new horizons to pursue.