Mobile Users: 3 Deadly Myths

The universe of mobile web-browsing has expanding so rapidly in the last two years that many business owners and organizations are lost in a knowledge gap regarding some of their most important customers and clients. An accurate understanding of who your mobile consumers are is critical to developing an effective mobile marketing strategy. Don’t fall victim to these myths.


MYTH #1—Mobile Users Are Always Mobile.

Don’t make the mistake of viewing mobile users simply as “folks-on-the-go”, using their phones primarily for finding a good brunch spot on Yelp or for downloading directions to their next business appointment.

Mobile users are also plopped down on their couches in front of the TV, 10 feet from their desktop or laptop, posting updates to Facebook or images to Instagram and SnapChat, reading news sites, and buying movie tickets. In fact, fully 25% of U.S. internet users have no regular access to the internet EXCEPT through a mobile device. (Source)

What content are you providing mobile users? Just Maps and Directions? If your mobile users are getting a “less-than” experience from your site or app, you’re shortchanging them.

MYTH #2—Mobile Users Are On A Slow Connection

Nearly all mobile devices coming onto the market now have built-in Wifi, allowing users to enjoy the same download and upload speeds as traditional users. Mobile devices overtook traditional devices (desktops and laptops) on Wifi networks in the US back in 2011. (Source)

An increasing number of retail stores and other facilities, from government buildings to sports arenas, provide free Wifi access to visitors because these visitors demand it.

And the average cost of downloading data over cellular networks has plummeted from .46/MB in 2008 to .02 in 2013, just as faster cellular networks (3G and above) provide coverage for over 45% of the mobile-using population.

So, yes, some mobile users will have limited bandwidth and latency problems (connection difficulty that results from poor reception or crowded networks). But don’t assume that all will. If you’re providing a severely pared-down experience for your mobile users, rethink your content strategy to find reasonable compromises between a rich online experience and speedy and efficient download.

MYTH #3—Mobile Users Don’t Shop Online

Don’t conflate SHOPPING online and BUYING online.

While it may be true that most online purchases are still made on traditional devices, the fact is that most retail-related activities now take place on mobile devices—up to 55%, according to comScore. “Since U.S. consumers now spend more than half of their time on retailers’ web sites using their smartphones and tablets, mobile can’t be viewed simply as an ancillary device or action, it now epitomizes how consumers think and act when they interact with retailers,” says executive director Vicki Cantrell. Primary shopping-related activities include product research and price comparison.

And consumers are putting their mobile devices to use within the traditional brick-and-mortar setting. Scanning UPC codes, looking for online discounts, responding to location-based push notifications, etc. In Q2 2013 57% of smartphone users had visited the same company’s site or app while in-store, most of those (60%) looking for online discounts. (Source)

43% of brick-and-mortar shoppers had consulted another company’s site or app, almost all of those (92%) looking for a better deal on price. (Source)

Finally the report shows that more than one-third (35%) of smartphone owners in Q2 2013 used their device to locate a store, one-quarter (24%) used it to find coupons and deals, and 19% used it to look up product availability — all activities central, not peripheral, to an effective sales strategy. (Source)

The lesson here is clear: be wary of making assumptions about the capabilities and behaviors of mobile users that may end up shortchanging their experience on your site or app. And develop a mobile marketing strategy that is nimble enough to evolve quickly to address the rapidly changing contexts of mobile use.


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