Smartphone Ownership is Outpacing Feature Phones – Here’s What it Means for Mobile Advertising

by GameHouse

According to this article, more Americans now own smartphones than traditional feature phones. In fact, 53% of Americans who own cell phones now own smartphones, making this the first time that smartphones have eclipsed feature phones in total ownership. In addition, during 2011, total global shipments of smartphones outpaced global shipments of PCs. Both of these trends show that the way that people access the Internet and use electronic devices is shifting to a post-PC, mobile-first world.

What do these powerful trends mean for mobile advertising? Well, for starters…

  • Mobile advertising is going to continue to grow. It’s worth reminding everyone that mobile advertising is just going to keep getting bigger as more people come to rely on smartphones. Mobile advertising is not a fad or a passing trend; it’s the future. People are no longer bound to a desktop PC to access the Internet and communicate and collaborate. As more people come to rely on tablet PCs and smartphones as their primary electronic devices, and more people use mobile devices to browse the Web, mobile advertising is going to become increasingly important to reach these audiences.
  • Mobile advertising is blossoming as a new medium. Many mobile advertising firms are springing up to meet the growing demand for mobile advertising content, and we have barely begun to scratch the surface of the potential of this unique new medium of marketing communication. Just as early print ads and TV ads sound “clunky” to modern eyes and ears, in a few years we’re probably going to see big developments in how to harness the unique attributes of this medium – small screens, short windows of time to capture attention, highly focused messaging or highly focused calls to action. Beyond simple, static banner ads, we’re already seeing some exciting trends in video ads with more complex, higher quality videos than anyone might have imagined just a few years ago. There are new capabilities for location-aware ads that know where the person is located, making it possible to deliver a message based on the person’s specific geography or even the specific store they are in. For example, mobile advertising can deliver personalized offers, discounts and coupons directly to consumers, at the point of purchase. It’s possible to use mobile advertising to create more focused, targeted, relevant and accountable advertising than ever before.
  • People are expecting more from their phones. 10 years ago, people thought it was amazing when you could send text messages from a phone. Then it became possible to send e-mail and photos. Now with the rise of smartphones, people’s expectations for their mobile devices are changing. The smartphone is not just a phone, it’s a talismanic device that helps people navigate and unlock the mysteries of daily life – where to go, how to get there, how to find what you need, how to share ideas and get feedback from friends, how to document the daily joys and triumphs and challenges of life. As consumers expand the range of scenarios that they use their phones for, the opportunities for mobile advertisers will increase. Mobile advertising is growing in importance not only because of the sheer number of smartphones and mobile devices, but because of how much of people’s “phone time” is accessible to marketers. Mobile devices are always on – people use their mobile devices pretty much with every waking hour of the day. Mobile advertising can reach people at home, at work, on the go, or when they are researching a purchase in the aisle at the store.
  • Location-aware mobile advertising is becoming more important. As the number of mobile devices increases, there will be more location-aware devices in the world, and this presents the opportunity for marketers to be more targeted in their approach. If mobile ads are presented in an unobtrusive, helpful, relevant way – for example, helping consumers save money on items they’re already considering purchasing, or providing useful details to aid in the purchasing process – then consumers will be more likely to welcome these ads not as an intrusion, but as a helpful addition to their daily interactions with the companies they buy from. The time to start learning about location-based mobile advertising is now. Many companies are still testing the waters on location-based mobile advertising, while others are recognizing the possibilities and are making a substantial investment to get in on the ground floor of this new medium of advertising.

What’s your take on this? What does the trend towards more consumers owning smart phones mean for mobile advertising? What other impacts will this trend have on the way that business operate? 

By Ryan Morel

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