IGoogle on a Tabletn recent years, mobile Internet usage has increased dramatically and smartphones, tablets and other mobile computing devices are now the primary point of connectivity for a rapidly growing mobile demographic.  For Internet marketers, reaching this massive user base is essential in creating more effective campaigns.

In order to truly achieve optimal visibility throughout social media, developing mobile-friendly sites, pages and content are a must.  With Facebook and Twitter ramping up their mobile advertising efforts, it has become easier for social media marketers to build campaigns which target tablet and smartphone users, but even with some help from the networks themselves, it is still important to fully understand the metrics of mobile online marketing.

The Big Difference
The most critical aspect to keep in mind when developing mobile-specific content is compatibility.  Does your site have a design that looks good and loads quickly on a tablet or smartphone?  Is your rich content mobile-friendly?  If not, any pages or content shared throughout the mobile Web is virtually useless.  Additionally, social media marketers can take full advantage of popular apps such as Instagram in order to generate more original content geared toward mobile users.

The impact of mobile device usage on social media campaigns is already being noticed and as new “must-haves” such as Apple’s iPad Mini, Google’s Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s Surface make their long-anticipated debuts this holiday season, the market is expected to grow even larger in the months ahead.  Every social media marketer should pay attention to their mobile audience and understand the value of building campaigns with this ever-increasing demographic in mind.

Share your thoughts on social media marketing in the comments section below or drop me a line at brymshaw@webimax.com or @brwebimax on Twitter.

Apple has released their smaller tablet version of the iPad, the mini.  The mini is available today for sale however does the price defeat the purpose?  The mobile and tablet market is thriving and virtually exploding!   In fact, tablets are set to surpass notebook growth in 2016.  Research conducted by Display Search indicates that tablets are expected to be the driving mechanism for the mobile market over the next 4 years.  With this extreme growth and demand for mobile and tablet devices, Apple decided to launch the iPad mini to compete with lesser expensive and smaller sized tablets.  However, many consumers feel the price they offered is a bit too aggressive for the mini tablet.

The full size iPad right now ranges from $499 to $829.  In order to stay competitive in this market and challenge the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (starting at $249), Kindle Fire HD (starting at $199) and the GoogleNexus (starting at $199), Apple released the iPad mini, ranging from $329 to $659.  With Apple’s product priced much higher than the competition, consumers are asking each other if Apple is asking for too much for the mini and furthermore if this is a sign the tech giant is becoming slightly over-confident in their pricing models.

When we look at the market share of the mobile and tablet market, understandably so we acknowledge that Apple has a commanding lead.  This lead, however is slipping away to Android-based devices.  According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, Apple had 81 percent market share in 2011 however that has been reduced to 52 percent for 2012 while Android-based devices have climbed to 48 percent for 2012.

The growth in competition has led Apple to release a smaller version of the iPad however the aggressive starting price may defeat that purpose.  Simply put, consumers are able to purchase the GoogleNexus (Android-based device) for more than $129 less than the iPad mini.

We want to know, do you feel the Apple mini is priced a bit too high and are you more inclined to purchase the iPad mini or another mini tablet device?

This fall, Microsoft and Google are set to release revolutionary new tablet PC devices which are expected to make a significant impact on the growing market.  The Nexus 7 from Google and Microsoft’s Surface both look to be promising new offerings, but recent rumors of a new iPad may indicate an even more impressive tablet is on the way.

The Big Three
Sources such as Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have all reported that Apple is set to release a new, 7.85-inch iPad later this year at a lower price point than the current iPad’s $499.  Despite the late Steve Jobs’ apparent opposition to a “smaller” Apple tablet, consumers seem to be favoring the devices for their increasingly improving resolution and lower cost.  While Google and Microsoft have publicly announced their plans to capitalize on this trend at their recent developer conferences, Apple has remained relatively quiet about their new tablet.

In fact, very little is known about the new iPad thus far.  The New York Times has revealed the suspected dimensions and price point of the tablet, but many other features are still speculative, at best.  While a retina display and iOS 6 functionality are expected to be standard equipment on the new iPad, only time will tell what Apple actually has in store.

Effects on Mobile Search, Social Media & E-Commerce
The upcoming face-off between Google, Microsoft and Apple in the entry-level tablet PC market is undoubtedly going to have a substantial effect on the mobile Web.  The reduced cost of these new tablets makes them more accessible to the tech-savvy (and cost-conscious) youth demographic.  This will almost certainly lead to a rise in social media and search engine usage via mobile browsers and apps.  Additionally, another rise in E-Commerce revenue similar to last holiday season’s online sales boom is anticipated following the release of the three new tablet devices.

What Online Businesses Should Expect
Once the new tablets debut in the final quarter of 2012, online businesses should expect to see an increase in mobile traffic.  Internet marketing efforts should include a heavy emphasis on social media and mobile E-Commerce platform optimization.  If online marketers remember 2012 as “The Year of the Penguin”, 2013 may very well be remembered as “The Year of the Tablet.”

Online shopping has been rolling along in Europe like in the US and much of the rest of the world, both in emerging and developed markets. This is a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down despite still a shaky economic state around the globe and especially in Europe. A consistent bright spot though has been the growth of ecommerce and now with predictions out from Forrester, mobile commerce (or mCommerce) looks to be headed for steady growth as part of that sector as well.

The process of mCommerce specifically through the smartphone (not including tablets) will represent just under 7% of online sales in Europe by 2017. This translates to €19.25 billion or $23.49 billion. As a side note, this statistic illustrates how large the overall market is for online shopping in terms of sales. It is simply an exploding sector of business. These numbers will only look more favorable when shopping from tablets is factored in as well.

The Figures By Year
The report is called the EU Mobile Commerce Forecast: 2012 to 2017 and is clear in its predictions. The following is the set of figures for mobile commerce in the retail, ticket, and travel sectors for the represented span of years.

  • 2012, 2.74 euro, $3.34
  • 2013, 4.62 euro, $5.64
  • 2014, 7.42 euro, $9.05
  • 2015, 10.76 euro, $13.13
  • 2016, 14.66 euro, $17.89
  • 2017, 19.25 euro, $23.49

The average spend of each buyer in this market is expected to rise as well from €201 in 2011 to €227 in 2017, but surprising that is not where the power of the growth comes from. Rather, it is in the increase of overall volume of mobile shoppers that particularly seek lower-cost items.

Reasons for Growth
There are a couple factors in play with this growing trend. First, smartphone growth is a large catalyst as more and more users are adopting the new technology. Reports vary regarding the actual adoption rate for the smartphone across Europe but it is roughly between 45-50% in Western Europe.  Beyond the simple increase in the device’s penetration, is the comfort level that consumers will ascertain in the coming years getting more familiar with the processes of using the device for mobile shopping.

It will be become more convenient and shoppers will trust it to greater degrees. As this occurs, mobile shopping will reach mainstream adoption by 2017 and at that time the population that will be buying products will be 79 million up from 7.6 million in 2011.

Additionally, the report indicates that impulse purchases like books and DVDs will be a driver of this growth and location is a big motivator for items that make location relevant like ticketing.

Takeaway
Businesses in this market need to understand that this is a trend that is only going to develop further. Companies that are already engaged in e-commerce should develop m-commerce capabilities if they have not already done so, and businesses who have neither should initiate the development of both. This depends largely on the aims and ability of a particular company to support adding these web solutions, but there is positive potential for many businesses across the spectrum. Those companies selling impulse-buy type products, as detailed earlier with book and DVDs, are especially positioned to receive benefit from this activity.

E-Commerce and SEO agencies that work to redevelop shopping platforms and bring increased numbers of online visitors to it to ultimately increase sales are also positioned to assist in this positive trend. Drawing in the mobile shopper requires a varied tool set that is unique to the standard online shopper because the experience is inherently different.

Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com or @ryanwbudd for more information about mCommerce growth in Europe or how your business could benefit from adding mCommerce solutions.

Mobile marketing has closely followed the fast ascent of smartphone penetration around the globe. Developed markets like that of the US, UK, much of Europe, several countries in Africa, and across Asia and the Pacific have seen marked growth in the use of smartphones. What is most relevant to SEO companies and social media marketing professionals, however, is the fact that search behavior has grown along with the adoption of the smartphone. People are using them to conduct their internet searchers more and more thus opening up the opportunity for businesses to conduct paid search and SEO campaigns to target the mobile searchers. Now Google is looking to the developing markets in Latin America as regions ripe for Android predicting them to take off in the coming years.

Latin America in Focus
There are currently more than 600 million mobiles in Latin America, and although only 1% of the 200 million devices sold in the region as a whole in 2011 were smartphones, the rate is expected to climb. Google estimates for the smartphone adoption are highest in Chile at 25%, Argentina with 24%, and 13% in Brazil. Google sees special opportunity in the Brazilian market because it is largely a blank canvas without any trending devices or popular customer manufacture preferences, and Google wants to assert themselves in that position. This notion is echoed by the fact that Google Play, their market for digital content, will offer e-books and music in the Brazilian market very soon.

Businesses should look to the Latin American markets for opportunity more as they develop their smartphone capabilities. As adoption increases, there are simply going to be more customers for products and services, and businesses will have greater access to them through increased internet access and mobile web access. Coordinated social media and SEO campaigns can take a business to the next level and gain an increased foothold in such new markets.

Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd for more information about the Latin American markets and the opportunity that exist there.

 

What do you think about when hearing of brands seeking online marketing help?  The Web has been ‘exploding’ for some time now.  Its popularity blindfolds me at times when conjuring images of clients.  I usually think about those with businesses well-footed in the online world.  But that’s not the case for many.  I read an article today about a company having issues stemming from bringing a traditional company online.

It got me thinking about other situations.  Then I started thinking of some brick-and-mortar owners who may not see the need for online marketing at all because the online factor has never really been a topic of discussion for the owners.  We often don’t think about what is not immediately in front of us.

IF storefront owners wanted to engage in some online marketing to connect with more consumers, they could consider:

Mobile SEO
I hear debates amongst many brands regarding the usefulness in creating or optimizing mobile sites.  What should you do?  It depends.  For instance, if a store front offers food and resides within a seasonal-vacation locale, optimizing for smart phone users could make a difference in seasonal revenue production.

Ideally, creating more avenues to find your brand is great; but, not all owners have tons of money to invest, warranting an allocation of resources.  For storefront owners, the question to ask is, “Is my product or service something searched (particularly) via smart phones?”  People will search for places to eat and be entertained via smart phones.  Would they search for a third-party shipping company using their phone?  Perhaps, but it’s probably not as likely as the first scenario.

Social Media
I really like seeing brands use social media; there’s so much potential; however, doing a poor job with handles can introduce the opposite influence.  I’ve had brief discussions with a number of offline brands regarding social media.  A majority of them ‘have heard’ but don’t quite ‘get’ what social media can do for their business.  I understand.  I do online marketing; so, I know social media.  If I was a pizza shop owner, I would know food ingredients.  Offline brands thinking about social media should ask, “Do I have the discipline to address a social media account regularly, constantly striving to make solid connections with followers?”  If not, lay off the task for now.  Otherwise, consider seeking the service of someone who can address the need for you.

Let’s use the pizza shop example.  Hmm…maybe you place an ad by the cash register.  “Follow, order, and keep in touch with us on Twitter! – Get a free pizza.”  Depending on the shop’s setup, you could have people tweeting orders rather than calling.  What’s the difference?  All of their followers see them ordering from you…might that appeal to the stomachs of others?  It just might.

Vlogging
Video blogging has been on my mind recently.  I think it has a lot of potential; it really bridges the personable gap a bit.  Sure, you can’t replicate the experience of engaging someone in person; yet, video blogs tell viewers a lot about the speakers.  Viewers can see body language, facial features, inflection and tone of voice, presenting more of a personality that you can’t always get via textual information.

Many storefront owners are ‘people persons’ by nature or by business necessity.  A lot of SEOs will tell you to put content on a Web site to help with optimization.  That’s true.  Putting content online can also help with people optimization.  If you’re an owner thinking about starting a blog, ask yourself, “Do I feel passionate enough about what I do to share something with viewers (engaging my customers) on an ongoing basis?”  I say don’t worry so much about ‘keywords.’  Concern yourself with expressing your business and brand to the public.  And realize you don’t have to write.  We’re not all writers; yet, most business owners feel somewhat comfortable with speaking publicly.  Vlogging is not like getting up in front of a room of people; you can edit to your liking as much as possible before posting, just a thought…