Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 25, 2013

TECH TALK: Growth of mobile Internet use has impact on online marketing

By MIKE GINGERICH
COLUMNIST

GOSHEN — Do you know someone with a smartphone? Chances are quite high that either you have one or that you immediately can name a few people that do.  

Mobile statistics show that smartphone use in the United States continues to grow rapidly. Up more than 12 percent from last year — at just the midway point of 2013 — smartphone penetration is now more than 56 percent in the United States. Combine that statistic with a recent report from Facebook, that reported that more than 71 percent of the activity on Facebook is via mobile devices, and it is clear that smart businesses are going to consider mobile significantly in their digital marketing strategies.

In this column, I’ll outline key considerations for businesses related to mobile marketing and sales.

To be mobile or not

To be mobile or not, is not the right question. That day has passed. The question now is what type of mobile solutions your business needs to have. One key is your website and there are two primary mobile options. Businesses can have either a mobile specific website, so that if a visitor coming to the site is on a mobile device, the website detects this and switches to a mobile version of the site.

The other option is a responsive website. A responsive website is one that “responds” and changes its structure to optimally fit the viewing screen for the type of device it detects the visitor is using. Images can shrink and structure of paragraphs and other text all can be rearranged so that the same web page displays the same content, but in a different and best format for the size of the screen the viewer is using. A responsive site also gives tablet users a better user experience.

Why is this important? It’s important because mobile users are increasingly doing more research on products and businesses via their mobile device prior to ever setting foot in the store, or before they would pick-up the phone to call. If a mobile information seeker doesn’t easily and quickly get the information they want, they’ll move on. This means they’ll go elsewhere and likely not return. That visitor and potential customer is then lost.

If more than 50 percent of your visitors are potentially going to access your site via a mobile device, wouldn’t it seem critical to ensure your business is mobile friendly online?

Facebook for mobile

Facebook is a publicly traded company. As such, they have to disclose quarterly earnings and reports on their business model and business growth. Facebook recently announced outstanding Quarter 2 earnings and their revealed strategy to continue their growth was focused on mobile ads, tools and features. They even called themselves a mobile company.  

However, one area they still have not conquered is enabling mobile access to Facebook Page tabs. With more than 71 percent of Facebook users using mobile devices to access Facebook, and businesses wanting to connect with all those users spending vast amounts of time on Facebook, enabling mobile users to access Facebook page tabs where they can offer coupons, purchasing, and other valuable sales-related features is critical. Since Facebook doesn’t allow this natively, using a solution that integrates this like TabSite is important for businesses to consider. Users on Facebook want to stay on Facebook, so a business can post news and offers to the news feed and then link to a mobile friendly Facebook tab.

Software like TabSite does the work for businesses on Facebook of detecting the type of device the visitor is using and then directing them to a mobile friendly tab if the user is on a mobile.  

Due to the growth of mobile that simply continues to expand, the mobile user experience on a company website and Facebook page are two important considerations for businesses. To leave out mobile users access and quality experience in these two areas is to leave potential sales “on the table”. Mobile is not just for “early adopter” companies, it’s a need for all businesses today.



Mike Gingerich leads the Social Application division of web design company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions.  For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.