According to Gartner, smartphone shipments reached 472 million units in 2011, propelled by record setting success of the iPhone and Android devices.
Market research firm NPD DisplaySearch reported similarly impressive figures for tablet sales in 2011, which approached 75 million units; an annualized growth rate of over 250%.
The high volume of mobile device shipments is indicative of a larger trend — the behavioral patterns in consumer web browsing and interconnectivity are beginning to shift from a stationary (desktop) to a more on-the-go (mobile) focus.
Looking beyond sales figures to market penetration provides further evidence of this trend. Nielsen reported in March 2012 that more than 50% of U.S. cellphone users own smartphones. Morgan Stanley analysts delivered similar projections for the tablet market, which is expected to accrue to over 25% market penetration in North America by the end of 2012.
How Do You Find Your Target On The Couch?
This increased level of market penetration and usage poses an incredible opportunity for the savvy marketer.
Marketwatch recently reported that 92% of people surveyed use a second or third screen when viewing video content.
Capturing the attention of consumers in multiple places at once greatly increases the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Yet, before this feat can be accomplished, it is essential to understand when consumers are turning off their PCs and turning towards second-screen devices, such as a tablet.
Anecdotally, it’s easy to discern that usage on these devices spikes during non-working hours. Most offices outfit their workforce with desktop and laptop computers, with remote work on mobile devices typically being a rare occurrence.
Yet, for businesses, these anecdotal patterns don’t tell enough of a story to allow them to properly market to these people. Because of the developing trends within the mobile sphere, it is extremely important to determine exactly when and how to target consumers on mobile devices, in order to deliver the content and campaigns which are most effective and relevant to their interests.
When Are People Accessing Your Site From A Mobile Device?
Near-real time data is key here, and Google Analytics is a good place to start seeing how usage patterns are impacting mobile access rates of your site. Or you can use resources like Chitika Insights’ Internet Access Tracker, which looks at these patterns on a broader scale within the U.S and Canada.
This data points to several, regular usage patterns:
- During weekdays, tablet usage peaks at 6 to 7 a.m. and at 9 p.m. across time zones.
- The most dramatic spike is seen during prime time television hours, where an traffic increase of around 93% is observed.
- Similar, predictable jumps in usage are seen during the weekend, and continue regularly through three-day weekends, as well.
With this context, an ecommerce site, for example, can look at purchasing behavior to understand what content to deliver to a particular target demo.
This Isn’t The Future, It’s Now
This is already happening to a degree on the desktop side. Travel website Orbitz found that Mac users were 40% more likely to book a four or five-star hotel as compared to PC users.
To address this trend, the site now displays more luxurious travel options for Mac users accessing their site, although users still have the ability to sort by price and other considerations.
Other e-tailers should examine whether similar segmentation and targeting strategies make sense based upon traffic patterns seen on their site and on the web at large.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.