The mobile web is a fascinating space that is still in its infancy. If the current capabilities of mobile devices are a sign of things to come, I can only imagine what will be possible five years from now.
Here are 10 reasons I think that anyone with an online presence should establish a mobile presence separate from your website:
1. Google has a separate index for mobile content.
Not only do they have a separate index for mobile content, but also it is fairly empty. The other day I performed a search for an Imax theater in Santa Barbara, and it told me that the best option was a theater in San Diego. Really? I jumped on Imax.com and found a theater located just 19 miles away.
I never thought I would miss directory style websites, but in this particular example, a mobile directory for all theaters in the US would have been able to give Google Mobile the correct solution to serve up.
2. Your regular website is not going to cut it.
There is a fundamental design difference between a regular website and a mobile website.
On a mobile phone, there is a very limited amount of screen space. If you have ever had to side scroll to view something on a website, you realize how much of an inconvenience it is. This is magnified on a mobile device. Even with the ability to turn the device lengthwise, the resolution is still extremely small.
There are numerous mobile phone emulators that can show you what your website will look like on a mobile device, and I can guarantee it is probably a terrible experience for a mobile device user.
3. 1/5 of Americans access the mobile web each day.
This percentage is increasing every year. If you’re not representing yourself on the mobile web, your competition surely will take up the opportunity.
4. Mobile web will overtake the desktop within 5 years.
Not only will the mobile web inevitably overtake the desktop, but also usage and adoption is growing at a much faster rate than the desktop did.
In the future, the vast majority of visitors to your website will be on a mobile device.
5. $1.6 billion purchased from mobile devices in 2009.
This is likely the most exciting and sought after information about the mobile web. If millions of people are using the mobile web, but they are not buying anything, most commercial websites would not bother establishing a mobile presence.
As you can see, purchasing from mobile devices is already in the billions.
Studies show that buyers do not have as much confidence in purchasing from a mobile device as they do from their PCs, but both comfort levels and the amount being spent is increasing.
Users went through the same hesitation when the Internet was just becoming popular, and now most people do not hesitate when buying something online from their PC.
You can rest assure that the same thing will happen with the mobile web.
6. 93% of U.S. adults own a cell phone.
Not all cell phones have Internet access capabilities, but that is currently the trend. Smart phones are not the only ones with access to the web. Standard phones are coming out with Qwerty keywords and website browsers seemingly every single month.
It is safe to say that in the near future, all phones will have some form of online access, whether it is being used or not.
7. 5% of the top 500 online retailers have a mobile website/iPhone app.
I was rather surprised by how low this number is. But then again, this means great things for the rest of us who are not in the top 500 online retailers.
I am willing to bet that one of the biggest reasons that you’re not ranking as high as you would like is because your competitors are doing a better job than you are in some shape or form.
Which means that if you’re reading this, chances are fairly high that you are already a step ahead of your competition.
8. Mobile advertising spending will surpass $6.5 billion in 2012.
Ad spend is a great indicator for the current status of an industry. If someone is willing to spend their hard earned money putting their products in front of users on the mobile web, you can assume there is a pretty good reason for it.
Furthermore, if they continue to spend more year after year, that indicates that the previous years investment paid off. And that is exactly how mobile advertising is trending across the board.
9. Users average 13 hours online per week, up from 7 in 2002.
As online usage increases regardless of the device used, accessibility is going to be the next lever to increase online usage.
A desktop or laptop used to be the only way to access the Internet, but now with Internet enabled mobile phones the Internet has truly become mobile. It is now simply a matter of service availability from your mobile phone network provider such as AT&T and Verizon.
10. There are an estimated 2 billion cell phones worldwide.
Not only are there a lot of cell phones worldwide, but they seem to outlast their owners and are passed down to another owner. There are great recycling and refurbishing programs that use old cell phones as emergency dialers or resell them at discounted rates.
As you can see, the mobile web is clearly trending up and has a lot of room to grow. If the mobile web were a stock, now would be the time to buy. It is the closest thing to a sure bet as you can get.