The majority of people have a mobile phone these days and an increasing percentage of us are switching to smartphones.
Smartphones are likely to have a more substantial impact on the web than you may think at first. They arrive at a time when the mobile operators are able to offer larger data allowances (as part of their packages) and as the market prepares for 4G – which will begin to develop at the end of this year.
Also the web is getting local. The sheer volume of stuff on the web means that in future searching cannot not just be about the subject of the search, increasingly it will be about the subject of the search in the context of where you are. For example, if you are searching for ‘clothing’ at your desktop, the likelihood is that you want to buy on line, but if you are searching on your mobile it is more likely that you are looking for a shop to visit.
Recent studies have suggested that mobile search has, in the last year or two, grown at a rate of 300% annually and will continue to grow at that rate for the next few years at least. According to a recent study by Tecmark, in January 2011 mobile traffic accounted for 8.09% of UK web traffic, but by July 2011 this had grown to 12.59%: on this trend we might reasonably expect mobile traffic to have grown to between 16% and 20% by January 2012.
“So what” you say. Well, this is a serious trend and has implications on how you present your business to the web. A standard website can be viewed on a typical smart phone, but not well. For the best results, the site should be optimised for viewing with a smartphone and able to recognise what device is viewing and present the view most appropriate to the device.
But this is just the start of the story really … more later.