When it comes to web promotion, the importance of mobile marketing has almost been shoved down our collective throats. It has essentially been decided that if your website isn’t ‘mobile friendly’, it is destined to fail. After all, you will be catering to an audience that is always switched on, ready to interact at any moment and above all, compulsive. Mobile phones have gone from being a convenient method of getting in contact with people to becoming an entertainment module. It is now possible to play games, shop and watch television on the move thanks to enhancements in mobile phone technology.
An Unexpected Decline
It was assumed that mobile marketing would continue to grow at its incredible rate for the foreseeable future. Consequently, consideration of the 1 billion+ Smartphone users in the world was top of the priority list for every company involved in promoting their website. But the latest figures suggest that we may be guilty of jumping the gun somewhat. Mobile web traffic almost doubled in 2012 and we all expected a similar outcome in 2013. However, this extraordinary growth has completely ground to a halt and has actually gone backwards. This begs the question: Is it only a small bobble on the road to mobile domination or are the winds about to change yet again?
If you are using Facebook as part of your website’s promotion as you should be, the outlook still looks reasonably bright as more people use their mobiles to browse the social networking site than their desktops. A well known web traffic analysis tool looked at the several million websites in its network and found that at the start of 2012, only 9% of visitors were using their mobile phones but this increased to 14% by the end of the year. Yet there has been no growth for a few months now and the figures have actually dipped slightly.
Another sign that the market domination enjoyed by mobile browsing could be coming to an end is the fact that growth has slowed down over the last few years. We may think that 2012 was another spectacular year for mobile growth but actually, it grew at a slower rate than in 2010 when mobile web traffic grew by 10%. In 2012, the annual growth rate was just 5% and in the early part of 2013, it is virtually zero.
Proponents of mobile marketing will tell you that such a stall is inevitable but growth has been slowing for a couple of years rather than a few months. Mobile website promotion is more important to some companies than others as certain websites find that up to 70% of their traffic comes from mobile devices while other websites discover that less than 5% of their traffic is mobile based. Perhaps it is best to take a ‘wait and see’ approach before plunging headfirst in mobile friendly design and website promotion. One would imagine that with the increase in Smartphone purchases and the modern consumer’s need for convenience that mobile traffic will once again increase but time will tell.