The persistent irony about mobile is that it’s so widely used by consumers and yet still searching for its tipping point, at least as far as its utility to marketers is concerned. Inmy latest report for eMarketer, “Mobile Users and Usage: It’s Personal,” I point to a number of factors driving mobile in the right direction. First, mobile usage is now pervasive. Second, mobile subscribers and the devices they use are quickly growing in sophistication, helping to usher in an age of ubiquitous communication, social networking, entertainment, and web access. And third, changing habits and usage patterns will open new doors for marketers able to respect the highly personal relationship users have with their device and balance the need for a value exchange with mobile’s inherent flexibility.
It’s difficult to underestimate the impact of smartphones in making mobile a more viable marketing channel. The best smartphones are effectively minicomputers that allow their owners to enjoy the same content they consume from their desktop PCs. As such, they are a vital bridge between the desktop and mobile web. comScore surveys indicate that smartphone owners are nearly five times more likely to have unlimited data plans than mobile users with feature phones. This means smartphone users are inclined to take greater advantage of web access and advanced messaging features.
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