About a year ago (March 2009), I wrote a blog about the increasing trend of people purchasing “Smart Phones” and how that can impact local advertisers. The statistics were staggering with regard to the sheer volume of people using their cell phone to browse the internet and complete search queries. At the time of my blog article “More than one out of every six American homes (17.5%) had only wireless telephones during the first half of 2008, an increase of 1.7 percentage points since the second half of 2007. In addition, more than one out of every eight American homes (13.3%) received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite having a landline telephone in the home.”, according to the report from CDC’s Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition, according to a recent comScore report at the time of my March 2009 blog, “the number of people using their mobile device to access news and information on the Internet more than doubled from January 2008 to January 2009. Among the audience of 63.2 million people who accessed news and information on their mobile devices in January 2009, 22.4 million (35 percent) did so daily; more than double the size of the audience last year.”
Well, it seems the trend is continuing upward. Google Search was the top mobile property in December 2009, with nearly 28 million unique visitors, followed by Yahoo Mail, at 23.2 million, and Facebook, with 18.8 million. Rounding out the top five were Gmail, with monthly traffic of 17.6 million, and Weather Channel, at 13.8 million, according to recent research from The Nielsen Company.
Given these large numbers, as a business owner, are you comfortable with what people see when they visit your site from a mobile device? If you’ve looked at your site recently using a smart phone or other mobile device (unless you already have a mobile website) odds are you will not be pleased. Regular websites, no matter how great they look, when viewed from a PC do not look the same when viewed from a mobile device. In fact, some devices (even the smart ones) cannot read websites unless the website is created specifically for mobile visitors. I own a Palm Treo Pro, and it has the capability to view any website with its built in browser, but I can tell you its almost impossible to navigate (or get any information) from sites that are not “mobile ready”. The amount of text and images that take up the screen is so large that by the time I scroll vertically or horizontally, the page needs to reload and by then my patience is worn out.
Think about this as you plan out your marketing strategy for 2010. With increasing numbers, people are using their cell phones to access the internet and visit websites. Be sure you include in your marketing plan to account for these visitors and provide them with a user-friendly and accessible version of your website.
A long, long time ago in 2004, two social network sites began; Facebook and MySpace. Who would have foreseen the dramatic impact both of these networking portals would have on our lives in a short span of five years.
Since their foundation in 2004, each of these social networks has experienced dramatic changes, not only in the way they function, but also in the amount of user interaction. For several years, MySpace rode on top of the social media phenomenon; until recently. In May of2009, Comscore reported that Facebook has exceeded the amount of MySpace users in the United States. With a shrinking number of users and more advertising dollars being allocated to Facebook, MySpace has been forced to layoff 30% of employees, as well as reduce its payroll to only 1,000 people. With over 60 million Facebook users in the United States alone, Facebook has made it possible for teens, adults and seniors to connect in a simple, easy to navigate arena. Capturing the baby boomer users, Facebook has been able to exceed the amount of MySpace users.
So the question is what’s next for Facebook? With Twitter gaining momentum and nipping at Facebook’s heels, only time will tell. Although, both platforms are very different in some aspects, both offer users the opportunity to connect with other users and share information. Could Twitter be the Facebook killer? Without adapting to current trends and listening to user feedback, Facebook could experience what MySpace is struggling with right now.
I posted an entry on June 18 that discussed the battle for #2 in the PPC world, and wanted to provide the latest on the search engine landscape.
There is no question that MSN has been more aggressive than Yahoo in terms of increasing their market share, and trying to become a serious rival to Google. In recent months MSN has made the following moves – Microsoft attempted to acquire Yahoo, their latest version of Internet Explorer attempts to direct searchers away from using Google search, and they recently launched a promotion to pay searchers a cash rebate for making purchases while using Live Search. All these attempts haven’t given MSN the lift they most likely were hoping for with the overall search engine market share, but MSN continues to stay aggressive with recent acquisitions of Powerset (search engine), and Greenfield Online (online shopping). In addition, MSN has a new Adcenter management tool in beta that is similar to the Google Editor, which helps to make daily account management for advertisers more user-friendly (Yahoo lags behind both Google & MSN with management tools for their PPC advertisers).
The numbers don’t lie when it comes to US search engine market share over the last 3 months. According to comScore’s 3 month numbers (May, June, July 2008), MSN is still struggling to gain traction:
May 2008 — 61.8%
June 2008 — 61.5%
July 2008 — 61.9%
May 2008 — 20.6%
June 2008 — 20.9%
July 2008 — 20.5%
May 2008 — 8.5%
June 2008 — 9.2%
July 2008 — 8.9%