Many brands are not engaging with customers via mobile phones. Photo: Rebecca Hallas
OVER the next three years, mobile use of the internet will ”reign”, creating massive opportunities for marketers and advertisers. But with less than 7 per cent of brands using mobiles effectively, many risk being left behind.
According to several high-profile speakers at a forum on digital communications and marketing, the use of mobile devices to access the internet will continue to boom, with the number of smartphones recently overtaking old-school mobiles.
The number of Australians accessing the internet via mobile devices was higher than the average around the world, with people here spending 19.9 hours online a week, compared with 15 hours watching TV.
”What broadband did to the internet, mobile is going to be equally transforming. It [your mobile phone] is always on, it’s always in your pocket, it knows all about you, it has your personal details,” Mr Farrugia said.
He said the key ways for brands to engage consumers included text message campaigns, ensuring that their websites were optimal for mobiles and location-based marketing.
But many businesses were missing the opportunity to engage with customers via mobile devices. Bob Forster, a Google product specialist, said restaurants were way behind in their use of mobiles. Mr Forster said that at weekends, 32 per cent of queries about restaurants were via mobiles, but few restaurants used mobile-friendly marketing.
Using the example of the American Superbowl, he said the number of inquiries about brands via mobile devices while people were watching the game on TV grew by 100 to 300 per cent.
”Mobile is always going to be with us, mobile technology is developing eight times faster than any other technology. But people aren’t doing anything. Don’t wait until next year for best practice to emerge because next year best practice will be different and your mobile interface should be too,” Mr Foster said.
Jonathan Sinton, commercial director of TNS, a global market research company, said online retail was also being heavily influenced by the changing ways people used the internet.
Mr Sinton said there had been an 80 per cent increase in the past year in the number of people who were connected to a brand online, for example via social media.
He said people were increasingly going online as part of their shopping process, not just to research products before buying, but also to decide which store to buy goods at and to keep up with new products coming out after the initial purchase.
”Post-purchase we need to create comment and connection. The best way to be harnessing social media in 2012 will be getting people to talk about products online.”