From Nov 2012 - Smartphones and Tablets pass PC’s: customers are mobile, content is customized to each of 3 screens – Software and service providers are emerging to support the new challenges of content creation for the variety of devices that consumers interact with. Consumer expectation is that content is available and optimized for their device of choice. Web sites, email, and other mobile content are becoming more interactive with the overall movement from PCs to tablets and other mobile devices, using geolocation, touch gestures, and more engaging user interfaces.

Indeed in 2013, we are already seeing this prediction come true. In an eMarketer report published this month, Mobile (nonvoice) time spent online passed all online activity on desktops or laptops.  This study pulled from 400 data points collected from more than 40 research institutions. What I found to be the most important figure in this study was the OVER 50% increase in time spent on mobile from the year prior. Adults are spending 2:21 a day on their smartphones or tablets in comparison to the 2:19 spent on desktops and laptops.

One consideration that should be taken into account is the number of people at traditional “desk jobs” that might be contributing 6-7 hours a day on a desktop to the statistics. With those entries skewing the results towards computer use, it is even more impressive that mobile has managed to pass desktop this year. Also worth noting is that digital passed television consumption for the first time ever.

So what does every marketer have to learn from this prediction coming to fruition?  Here are the key takeaways I see from mobile eclipsing traditional online consumption: 

  • Marketers must realize that consumers are multitasking- Two and three screens are in use at any given time, and it is up to the marketer to craft a consistent message that reaches across platforms. Eventually, I see advertising crossing mediums more and more, where browsing on a tablet can lead to smarter advertising on smartphones, video game systems and laptops. Collecting data about consumer preference that can be implemented across devices will provide for a seamless marketing experience for the customer and higher conversion rates.
  • Marketers must produce more interactive content –Direct mail and print advertising must continue finding more ways to interact with mobile devices, which will be crucial in grabbing the attention of more fragmented consumer media consumption. Applications on the smartphone that allow for augmented reality, video displays and mobile coupons that serve as an extension of the printed piece will help print flourish in the years to come.
  • Mobile use is an opportunity to reach consumers where they are and a huge opportunity for retailers- Geolocation with smartphones is a huge opportunity to curb what many retailers are calling showrooming. Forrester Research reports that 31 percent of mobile phone owners use their devices to research products. Reaching your customers on mobile devices while they are in stores is becoming crucial. Showing them competitive pricing and offering discounts while they are shopping will help increase conversions.
  • Consider the audience, and their device – It is becoming increasingly important to have a mobile-optimized experience for the consumer, and to use identifying characteristics to cater to the specific device. The consumer has started to expect the screen size to be optimal for their device, and if the device is touch-enabled, that functionality must also be built into the user experience.

This transition from laptops to smartphones is one of the biggest marketing opportunities of the last ten years. Marketers that make the right adjustments to share their message across platforms, while adhering to the rules of each platform, will be the most successful in the years to come.