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We talk quite frequently about all that you can do via mobile – shop, game, book travel, etc,. From what we see, much (if not most) of the activity on the mobile internet tends to be very “me” related. Think about it – shopping, playing games, dating, all of these things (which are BIG movers in mobile) tend to be more or less self-focused activities. Now we are not saying that there is anything wrong with that, but once in a while it is nice to see that mobile can be used for the good of others, especially when major tragedies occur.
Haiti was a great example. Within three weeks of the catastrophic earthquake in January of last year, over $35 million in donations had been made from – you guessed it – mobile fundraising. Users were able to text codes to the Red Cross and other organizations which then ended up as donations to the disaster relief. Loads of money was donated this way.
We are seeing the same thing start with the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan as well. Within a week of the tragedy, several non-profit organizations, mobile carriers, and a number of celebrities began rallying people to make monetary donations via their mobile devices for the victims in Japan. According to Mobile Commerce Daily, by March 15, the American public had already donated $1 million to relief efforts through their mobile devices.
Not only are people giving money with their mobile phones, but they are also opting in to stay informed of the latest details. Through social media, people are also spreading the word, telling others about the opportunities to stay informed and make donations to groups like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Of course, celebrities are also using social networking sites (particularly Facebook and Twitter) to encourage others to give to relief agencies. As mentioned before, it is always refreshing to see some of the best of humanity – especially when it is through the mobile web!
We all know that more and more people are accessing the internet via their mobile devices, but marketers are now scrambling to find out the exact details of mobile internet usage. According to an article in MobiAD, research firm GfK released some numbers recently that can give us more insight into the when and where of mobile web use (MobiAd).
Peak times of mobile web usage is something we have briefly covered before, as Adfonic released their numbers showing that most mobile web traffic takes place between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight. The second busiest time of day that they saw was early morning. It seems clear that many people are therefore likely online before leaving for work (checking the news, their Facebook accounts, email, and whatever else) and in the evenings after coming home.
The GfK study shows somewhat different times of internet usage. According to them, mobile internet traffic starts at roughly 5 a.m. and peaks at 4:30 p.m. These findings could be different based on their locations – the Adfonic study does not reveal the locations of the mobile traffic they were monitoring (at least from what we could tell), while GfK reported that their traffic research was done in three European countries (although we are not sure exactly which three). Regardless of the time discrepancy, it is clear that from early morning until late at night, there are a lot of people accessing the web via their mobiles at any given time.
The research in this study shows that mobile web users are spending there time in quite a few different places. According to them, the average smart phone user visits 24 sites daily, and of the sites visited, the majority of those are traditional sites, not sites built specifically for the mobile web. Another element that we should not find surprising is that across the board, Facebook usage seemed to be a significant part of overall mobile users. They even mentioned that there is a high number of users who strictly access Facebook while accessing the web via their mobile (ok, so I admit, I would be one of these “Facebookies”).
As time goes by, there will surely be further studies to show us how people are using the mobile web. In the meantime, we know that more advertisers are (and should be!) putting more emphasis on mobile advertising, as the opportunities for marketing are huge.
It is interesting how official studies and statistics tend to reflect many things that we already know. In this case, an Opera study recently published indicates that youth, as in teens and young adults in their twenties, prefer the mobile web to the traditional web. This should shock no one, as anyone who knows teenagers knows that they love their mobile devices, including, but not limited too, their mobile phones, iphones, ipods, etc.
The study revealed that 90% of 18-27 year olds in Nigeria, South Africa, and Indonesia use mobile phones more than they use PCs or laptops to access the internet (Mobile Entertainment). Of course, this study does not give the numbers of youth worldwide and shows the usage only of very specific locations. It also reveals the findings in places where it is likely more difficult to access the internet via PCs and laptops. However, it is probably safe to assume that mobile will continue to grow in popularity among young people all around the world.
And why shouldn’t it? Mobile means that you can access the web and all its wonders while out and about, without interruptions. So why wouldn’t that be popular among youth, or others for that matter?
OfferMobi claims to be the first CPA network for the mobile web, as well as the first US-based CPA network. To be fair, Offermobi seems to say the latter more often than the former, but on the about page on their corporate website, it says that Offermobi is “the first affiliate network for the mobile web”. This is also mentioned on other sites I have seen, such as AffiliatePaying.
But this is not likely. The network was formed fairly recently, in April of this year, 2010. Linkshare has already been doing this for some time (I believe since 1996, according to the company’s LinkedIn profile but you can’t really find this information on LinkShare’s website). Additionally, we at Sponsormob have been active as a mobile CPA network since 2007, and others have been around longer as well. Another network, Mobpartner, was also already in operation before OfferMobi hit the scene.
As far as Offermobi’s other claim of being the first CPA network for mobile based in the United States, there is actually some truth to that. But from what we can tell, OfferMobi does not have its own tracking technology, which is a key element for an affiliate network.
But Offermobi is not the only one out there claiming to be something they may not actually be. Mobpartner, based in France, also claims to be the first network for mobile. Their website’s about page tells us that their company, Texomobile, was founded in 2005. If true, this means that they are older than all of us and therefore the senior members of the mobile network club.
However, the domain history for Mobpartner.com shows that it has only been in use since 2007, which is two years after the date which they claim to have been founded (we checked our own domain history to be sure that the records were accurate - and the dates we found did correspond with the start of our company). Considering that we are all in online marketing, where it is difficult to operate without a live website, we’ll let you fill in the blanks as to what that might possibly mean about when Mobpartner actually became operational.
In short, all of us in the early stages of mobile marketing want to be able to claim that we were the first network for mobile. It’s human nature to want to be first, and that’s ok. But let’s not stretch the truth to make us sound more impressive than we actually are. Instead of being worried about being the first to get in on the action, we should be more focused on being or becoming the best network for mobile. And really, as long as you are making your publishers and your advertisers more successful, does it really matter who was the first to get into this business? We don’t think so.
But that won’t stop us from reaching for excellence and giving the occasional reminder that we were actually the first CPA network for the mobile web!
This week we have already looked at web growth in Africa as well as the current state of the mobile web in Germany, so now we are going to focus our direction somewhat eastward, looking at mobile web growth in Asian nations. We touched on this briefly in our post on the hot markets for mobile, but Asia has such tremendous potential that it merits a closer look.
An article by mobiThinking earlier this year explored web growth in Asia, and we are going to take a look at why it appears that mobile web growth in Asia can only keep growing. First, the size of Asia is massive – Asia is the most populous continent on ear and has the highest population of any other regions. Asia’s population is also growing at the highest rate of anywhere in the world, and more people means more mobile phone users (ok, that sounds a bit silly and simplistic, but is true, right?).
Brand engagement is also a huge part of the mobile puzzle in Asia. Large, global companies tend to find the reach that mobile has in Asia very attractive. This, coupled with the fact that barriers such as network limitations and other issues don’t seem to be holding Asia back, mean that brands will continue to expand in this region. Mobile use is also very attractive because flat-rate plans are affordably priced, so that may people can access the mobile web inexpensively.
The lack of PC use in developing nations is another indication of the growth in mobile use that we will consider to see in Asia. Infrastructure tends to be less developed in Asian countries, so mobile is an easy and fast way to be connected to the world wide web. Demand also plays into this – since mobile is more accessible than traditional Internet, the demand is therefore higher as well. MobiThinking makes an interesting point in its article by saying that “mobile has much more power to transform lives” in developing nations than in developed countries. This is so true, and we may even see the younger generations in Asia grow up empowered by something as relatively simple as a mobile device. How cool is that?
Ok, so it seems that Sponsormob is operating from the right country. We all know that Germans like what they call “Handys” (yes, this is the English term that Germans use for a mobile phone. Don’t ask us why, because we certainly do not know the answer!), but I just came across an informative article by mobiThinking that proves this. The article, backed up with reports from ComScore, shows that Germany is currently leading Europe’s mobile market with 51 million mobile users. Of these 51 million, seven and a half million access the internet through their mobile web browser, while fifteen million access mobile services through mobile apps (mobiThinking). These numbers were from January of this year, so it will be interesting to see what next year’s reports show. With 2010 being the purported year of mobile (or maybe not), then we can expect these figures be larger next year.
So what are the people of Germany spending their time on the mobile web doing? The top sites being searched appear to be Google (no surprise here), MSN/Windows Live/Bing, and Yahoo. The only thing that did surprise me was that Facebook ranks at #7, trailing behind ICQ and AOL. I mean really, ICQ takes me back to my high school days in the 90s, and that has been a while! I honestly didn’t realize that it was even still in existence, but apparently it is still alive and well.
But back to Germany and our findings – the most popular mobile applications in Germany are: maps, weather, search, and news (in that order). This information isn’t shocking, but it is good for marketers to know what people are doing via their mobile devices. The growth seems to be due to good data networks and unlimited data plans, as well as by the popularity of smartphones (mobiThinking). Another interesting point is that Germany is home to large brands who are comfortable with mobile advertising (think BMW and Lufthansa).
So what does the future in Germany look like? Well, like a mobile one, of course! As mobile usage grows worldwide, Germany will continue to play a part.
Adfonic, a European based mobile advertising marketplace, just released a report showing real-time reporting details from their network. The report compares mobile web use and traditional internet usage. The results show that most people access the mobile web during the times when online traffic slows down, and the numbers seem to show that advertisers may be missing out on some good opportunities to market.
The hourly click patterns Adfonic gives show that mobile web use begins around 6 p.m. and peaks around midnight. Adfonic asserts that people are using their smartphones to surf the web in place of reading a book before going to bed at night, and that people are also browsing the mobile web during commercials when watching television in the evenings (Adfonic via RealWire).
A second time that appears to be busy is the early morning hours. It seems that users are turning on their mobile phones first thing in the morning, before turning on a computer or heading off to work. This interesting report shows that brands are missing out on peak times and are not fully using the capability of the mobile internet. If this is the case (and we believe it is), then there remains a large amount of advertising potential that is still very much untapped. Mobile users are a very targetable market, and this report shows that there are gaps in the times where traditional advertising is effective that can be filled with mobile advertising.
Details of their report can be found here.
With the rise of mobile devices, mobile advertising, mobile social networking, mobile shopping … well, basically mobile everything, some may be tempted to fear that mobile will take over the traditional ways of doing things. More specifically, traditional media. There is ongoing discussion in some circles as to whether mobile media will eventually overtake traditional media, obliterating paper and ink.
This possibility did actually cross my mind some time ago. Back when the web, as in the traditional sit-at-a-desk-in-front-of-a-computer internet, became popular, you had to wonder if it would be the beginning of the end of print media. Now while no sleep was lost over this, I did imagine Ray Bradbury-esque scenes in which books and newspapers no longer existed but were replaced by screens, keyboards, and robots. That was scary for about a minute, until it became clear that the internet would not replace print media, but simply force it to adapt and become the better version of itself. Paper and ink were not going anywhere but was going to be forced to change in order to survive in the world of online media. Traditional magazines and newspapers had to not only continue doing what they had been doing, but step things up a notch by creating an online presence in order to keep up with where technology – and the market – were headed.
Fast forward to the present day and the situation is similar. Although this is debatable, it seems that the mobile web is not going to be the end of the traditional web or traditional print media (at least not any time soon). However, it will force these outlets to adapt and work hard to earn their keep. Traditional media will have to continue to provide excellent content and funnel this content through more channels, including mobile, so that users can find them. This challenge can be overwhelming but cannot and should not be ignored, because the world wants mobile.
Actually, the changes required to survive in a world where mobile is growing so rapidly should not only be viewed as negative. The rise of new media (which includes mobile) has given traditional media outlets new ways to reach a broader audience. NBC Universal executive Lauren Zalaznick recently explained this at ad:tech New York, saying that “new media might actually enhance users’ engagement with multiple content brands, helping them engage longer and deeper, which has always been the goal” (Mobile Marketer). She also reiterated that “quality content wins ” and that the medium is not as important as the content.
So while no one can entirely predict the future, it seems safe to say that traditional media will coexist with mobile technology. At least for a while, right?
Placing banners on the mobile internet is somewhat different from putting up traditional web banners. In the traditional online world, you have a large screen with ample space to work with and a variety of banner sizes. With mobile advertising the interface is much different, mainly because of the screen size. There is must less space to work with on mobile devices, so the ads must be small and compact.
To make good banners for the mobile web, there are three important things to consider:
1. Size – the banner must be able to display clearly on the screen of a mobile device (see our specifications in the box below: there are four standard sizes that will fit the various mobile devices)
2. Avoid using flash files – this is because many iphones do not display flash
3. Images only - only using images works best in the limited amount of space (animated GIF is ok for this as well)
As a final note, advertisers usually provide us with their own banners, but we can also create custom banners for your company if necessary. Just ask!
In the ongoing discussion about everything mobile, it has been said off and on that the explosive growth of mobile apps will eventually kill the mobile web. While the numbers show that apps are very popular (one source reports that by 2015 over 25 billion mobile apps will have been downloaded – yes, that’s twenty-five billion), the death of the mobile web is most certainly not on the horizon.
Despite the huge volume of apps being downloaded, the mobile web browser is still the most widely used mobile application. A recent survey by Adobe polled over one thousand U.S. mobile device users, and the result was that 66% of users preferred the mobile web over mobile apps (Sarah Perez). A similar study by Orange in Europe showed that the findings across the pond are nearly the same. In both the UK and France, nearly 7 out of 10 users would rather access the mobile web than an app. The numbers are slightly lower in markets where the mobile industry is not as well established, such as in Spain and Poland. In these places, apps were (only) slightly more widely preferred than in what are considered the “more mature” mobile markets of countries like the UK, France, and Germany.
So even though some may believe that the mobile web may some day be dwarfed by beloved apps, the numbers seem to show us something else. Namely that the mobile web browser will continue to be king of the mobile online space, at least for the next long while.