The State of Social Media
Having attended myriad web conferences over the years, I’ve heard most every prediction you can imagine. Some were a bit misguided (“Portals are the future direction of the Web!”) and others were spot on (“This Google thing seems to have legs…”), but far and away the most elusive one to get right has been “It’s the Year of Mobile!” Having heard this mantra since 2005 or so, it felt like my annual rallying cry regarding the Chicago Cubs World Series chances, with the results always seeming to fall short of expectations.
Expectations and reality finally crossed paths in 2011, and I now feel confident proclaiming that 2011 was indeed the “Year of Mobile” for consumers and marketers alike. More than 50% of all new phones purchased in the U.S. are now smartphones, and these devices are the clear driving forces behind the surge in mobile internet usage.
But if 2011 was finally the Year of Mobile, then 2012 will be about the bifurcation of mobile devices. Tablet adoption has skyrocketed at a blistering pace, reaching almost 36 million devices in the U.S. by the end of 2011. Although smartphones and tablets share many common attributes, they differ greatly as it relates to where the devices are used, what they use them for, and most importantly, how you should market via search to consumers on the different devices.
How are these devices different?In a recent webinar collaboration with Performics, we explored the differences between the smartphone and tablets from both a behavioral and functionality perspective, and then dug into some specific techniques you can utilize.
Behaviorally, the first thing to note is where consumers use the devices. Smartphones accompany consumers pretty much everywhere they go. As they explore the world, their search activity on this device mirrors this ambulatory motion. People look for maps, news bites, pricing comparisons, restaurants, and the like. This on-the-go activity is further supported by the fact that 63% of all smartphone internet access is done via the mobile network.
Tablets, on the other hand, are primarily being used in the home at this time, with 92% of tablet internet access happening on WiFi networks. People use their tablets while lying on the couch, possibly in bed watching TV, surfing the web while lounging. Perhaps it’s the first truly lean-back/lean-forward device. Ultimately the search activity on tablets more closely reflects that of the PC given the similarly stationary environment.
Similarly, data from Performics indicates that tablet and desktop searchers spend more money directly on their device when compared to smartphone searchers. This helps to reinforce searchers desire for different content and experiences by screen size.
Functionally, the search experience on a smartphone device is vastly different from that of a tablet, so here are some recommendations for how you should think about your search strategy across channels:
Smartphone StrategyThe small size of the SERP and the on-the-go search needs on these devices means you should keep it short and simple. Assuming you are already optimizing your keyword lists for those “on-the-go” terms, the following are your Top 5 most important strategy considerations from Performics:
Tablet Strategy As noted earlier, the tablet searcher will share more similarities with the PC searcher than the smartphone searcher, so you need to adjust your strategy accordingly. Your Top 5 tablet search strategy considerations are:
Last year mobile marketers began to test the waters of targeting mobile devices differently than they would PCs & Desktops. This was a good start, but the multiplicity of devices in use combined with the increasing sophistication of targeting options available is eventually going to require additional effort on your part to best optimize your mobile spend. Take the time to study the numbers, stay up to date on the evolving trends, and you’ll find your mobile search ROI will move in the right direction.
This post was originally published at SearchEngineWatch on 2/27/2012