Why Marketing Is Going Mobile in a Hurry

How mobile is your business’s marketing? And no, your fleet of sign-wrapped cars doesn’t count — not that there’s anything wrong in principle with rolling billboards.

We’ve been saying for years now that mobile is the future of advertising. The signs are all around us. But a recent eMarketer report suggests that the majority of American businesses either aren’t yet sold on the benefits of mobile marketing or simply don’t know where to begin on the mobile marketing journey.

eMarketer quotes a late 2015 AdPartners survey that found around two-thirds of businesses are “less than 20 percent mobile.” In other words, their operations — including marketing — are basically making an analog stand (hopefully not last) in a digital world.

The silver lining: Just over 20 percent of business owners expect their businesses to be less than 20 percent mobile by the end of 2017. Executives everywhere see the handheld writing on the wall — and many are rushing full steam ahead into the mobile future. Here’s why mobile is increasingly dominant:


  • Digital video: About 9 percent of all consumer digital time, on average, is spent watching digital video on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), up from less than 2 percent in 2011
  • Digital radio: More than 14 percent of all consumer digital time is spent listening to digital radio on mobile devices, up geometrically from years earlier and dwarfing the desktop/laptop category’s less than 2 percent share
  • Social media: More than 9 percent of all consumer digital time is spent surfing social media, including Facebook, on mobile devices — more than doubling desktop’s share

Take a Peek Into the Digital Future

Going forward, it’s hard to imagine that these trends won’t continue — and possibly accelerate. Trend-setting organizations have gotten the memo that mobile is the future. Recent search algorithm shifts that penalize mobile-unfriendly websites have made mobile-responsive websites table stakes for ambitious publishers.

Perhaps more importantly, consumption habits are strongly trending toward mobile. If your website doesn’t look good on a phone or tablet, why would your readers, customers, prospects or anyone else spend any more time than necessary on it? “Give the people what they want” has never rung truer.

You Don’t Have to Do It All At Once

The eMarketer study contained a nugget of good news for business owners unnerved by the prospect of making the leap to mobile marketing. While just 3 percent of survey respondents said that their businesses were more than 60 percent mobile today, 15 percent said that they would be so by the end of 2017. That’s a fivefold increase, and clear evidence that business owners “get it.”

Here’s another tidbit: About 23 percent of respondents said that their businesses were currently 21 to 40 percent mobile; more than 40 percent said that that would be the case on New Year’s Day 2018. For the 60 percent of business owners whose companies are less than 20 percent mobile, this is good news. In two years, nearly one in two competitors will be less than half mobile. In other words, there’s still time to send out mobile feelers — no need to double down quite yet.


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