How The Emerging Dominance of Mobile Traffic is Transforming The Digital Industry…
Something crazy happened this year in the mobile industry and it’s forcing businesses to change the way they think about their online presence. This may seem to be saying a lot given the number of superlatives being tossed around these days (have you seen a growth curve for anything mobile-related recently?), but make no mistake: the nature of web traffic is undergoing a serious transition and mobile is one of the key reasons for it.
Given the fact that smartphones already make up the majority of installed mobile devices in contemporary North America, it’s no wonder that Apple and Samsung have been at each other’s throats lately. They both know that there is more at stake than protecting patents or taking money from eachother. Instead, their fueds are also about maintaining market share of a technology that is increasingly becoming the definitive, dominant means by which people find, consume and share content online.
Mobile Is Disrupting Traditional Web Traffic Patterns
At least 20% of the digital traffic is already mobile and some brands are seeing even higher proportions of mobile traffic today. This isn’t just the case in countries like Canada or the United States, however. In fact, the developing world is a leading indicator of how content will be consumed in the coming years with many businesses in countries like India already seeing half of their web traffic coming from mobile devices. At Polar, we estimate that North America will soon follow suit and that mobile will surpass desktop traffic as soon as next year.
And yet, there’s more to the growing significance of mobile than just the fact that more visitors to a brand’s website are mobile users. Just as critical is WHAT mobile users they expect when they arrive.
As the Guardian noted in a recent article, there is a channel effect at play with mobile traffic. In this case they noticed that their readers were drastically different in age between mediums… even when each was carrying identical content. This discovery aligns with what we already know: that, on average, smartphone users are younger and more affluent than their desktop-only counterparts. The advantage here is that this makes mobile audiences a highly sought-after demographic for brands, marketers and advertisers. Finally, a recent Forrester study validated something we’ve known for a long time – that mobile’s power is in being readily available at the point of decision. This makes it a highly important point of engagement in the daily life of consumer audiences.
The takeaway from all this is that mobile’s emerging dominance necessitates a rethinking of where mobile fits into your company’s overall digital plan. A VC famously hit a vein when he said: “mobile first web second”, and those words ring more truly every day. And while some less agile companies haven’t been able to make the necessary leap as quickly as they should (due to legacy technology and existing commitments), there are of course bold exceptions who have done precisely the opposite.
At the end of the day it’s important to note that we’re still very early on in the story of mobile. It’s not too late and the technology that allows us to think about digital destinations as a spectrum instead of silos is becoming more and more intuitive to navigate. What matters, however, is recognizing that the keyholders of the digital side of a business will ultimately decide the future of business as a whole.
Mobile tech and innovations are those keys.