by Molly Glover Gallatin
With the rise in smartphone adoption and mobile usage, it’s clear that the mobile device will become the dominant entry point for social media. Given the growth in Facebook, Twitter and other social environments, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to hear that comScore says 91% of mobile Internet access is to socialize. Still, I find this number staggering. With social interactions playing such a large role in mobile use, it’s time for marketers to prepare a “mobile social” strategy.
The crossroad of mobile and social is an exciting opportunity for marketers because for the first time a brand can create a bridge to the “digital” world. Everything you have been accessing from your desktop can now be linked to the physical world. Brands can reach customers in-market while shopping, eating lunch with friends or at their kids soccer game. In fact Pew Research reported in September that 28% of all Americans use mobile or social location-based services of some kind.
Those numbers pale in comparison to some of the other means of quantifying the change of social media access and usage. According to a report compiled by Microsoft Tag, by 2014 mobile Internet usage will surpass desktop Internet usage. You can’t ignore the numbers - more than 1/3 of Facebook's 600 Million user base uses Facebook mobile, more than 50% of Twitter’s 165 Million users use Twitter mobile and 200 Million youtube views occur on mobile devices every day.
Not yet convinced? According to comScore, 72.2 million Americans accessed social networking sites or blogs on their mobile device in August 2011. Not only does this figure represent a whole lot of people, it also reveals an audience size increase of 37% over the past year alone. The study also showed that more than half read a post from an organization, brand or event while on their mobile device. More importantly, one in three social networkers received a coupon/offer/deal, with one in four, 27.7%, clicking on an ad while on a social networking site.
This shift in how we “socialize” digitally provides a host of location-based marketing opportunities for unique levels of customer engagement. Now that brands can market and speak to customers while they are on the go, it becomes increasingly important to understand how your customers socially interact on mobile. Customers are migrating to mobile social behavior. We recommend three ways to keep pace from the perspective of marketing strategy:
Segment By Behavior: Customers are flocking to mobile access points. Brands and agencies have moved toward segmenting social media behavior, but they need to layer mobile behavior on top. The 20-something professional woman will behave differently in regard to mobile access, for example, than a retired man. Take note.
Be Ready For Shoppers: According to the IBM Smarter Commerce benchmark of online retail activity, mobile platforms were responsible for 14.3% of all online shopping traffic on Black Friday, more than doubling the 5.6% of traffic IBM recorded last year. Perhaps even more impressive, sales from mobile devices reached 9.8% of digital retail transactions, tripling the 3.2% of last year. Again, a staggering number that is tough to ignore.
Address The App Phenomenon: Gartner predicts there will be more than 70 billion mobile application downloads annually in the next two years. Social apps are of course huge, but the bridge between social media and mobile apps will be well-traveled. Social media strategies need to comfortably connect between online and mobile experiences.
Don’t Forget The Black Box in Everyone’s Living Room: A report from Yahoo!/Nielsen stated that 86% of web users now use a mobile device while watching TV. As a marketer, this opens up a whole new avenue for launching cross-platform social campaigns that engage the “second screen” audience.
Forbes Insights and Weber Shandwick recently released a study showing that brands predict that in three years 65% of the brand’s reputation will come from its online sociability. The numbers can be intimidating. However, if you focus your strategy on customer experience and on customer segments, your brand can effectively cross the mobile social bridge and thrive in the new “digital” age.
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