The prediction that "mobile is going to be huge!" has been over-egged for nearly a decade, but the past several years have erased all doubt that may have existed about the truth of this statement.

In 2011 however, mobile "turned a corner", according to Google at least.

The search giant is, unsurprisingly, a big part of the mobile market. From its Android operating system to its AdMob ad network, Google is arguably one of the big tech companies 'deepest' into mobile.

In a blog post yesterday, Google's VP of mobile advertising, Karim Temsamani, summed up the five trends that emerged in the space this past year, and provided some interesting data points. 

  • Mobile is everywhere. Noting that large majority of consumers using smartphones are using them for shopping and getting in touch with businesses. Temsamani said that it's not simply that people are using smartphones and tablets (though the numbers are skyrocketing at an accelerating pace)—it’s that a huge, and fast-growing base of smartphone users, now expect to engage with businesses on mobile.
  • Mobile is impacting shopping. According to Google's analysis of its own search data, mobile-savvy consumers are increasingly using their mobiles to find deals while they're out and about shopping. Needless to say, this has significant implications for business owners and marketers.
  • The mobile ad ecosystem is starting to build a solid foundation. It's been sort of a free-for-all when it comes to mobile advertising. As proof, one need look no further than Apple's iAd, which sought to rethink what digital advertising can be. But to make sure mobile ads can scale, standards are needed in all areas of the ecosystem, from metrics to formats. Temsamani says good progress is being made and that this is a space to watch in 2012.
  • Tablets have truly arrived. AdMob saw a whopping 440% increase in tablet traffic between December 2010 and November 2011.
  • Businesses are getting hip to mobile. Mobile is no longer an afterthought for many businesses. Many are embracing the 'smaller screen', investing in designing experiences specifically for mobile devices. 

What will 2012 hold? Temsamani is particularly bullish on offline commerce, predicting that "soon, we’ll see the mainstream shift that changes the way mobile connects people with brick-and-mortar storefronts". 

That's a good bet, and in 2012 we may find that mobile is the glue that companies find can bring many, if not most of their channels together.

Patricio Robles

Published 22 December, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (2)


Nick Stamoulis

Mobile isn't the future, it's the now. Marketers need to have a mobile strategy in place and a mobile friendly website. Those that haven't thought about that yet are already behind and will lose out to the competition.

over 6 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Hi Patricio

Thanks for the post.

The market data does indeed show that more people are using mobile devices for transactional purposes + consuming more content. I gave a briefing in the UK on this for Econsultancy back in November - slides available at

But there needs to be a reality check - not every website currently gets a large number of mobile visitors. If the majority of your audience isn't at the vanguard of mobile adoption, your investment is best placed elsewhere. I'm not saying it should be ignored, far from it as one day the mobile audience might be much higher but the decision has to be based on your audience, not what the market is doing.

The need for a mobile optimised website isn't a top priority for many web owners who have a trickle of mobile visits and far bigger fish to fry. Granted mobile audiences are growing quickly but that doesn't mean you need to throw your money into mobile.

I know of retailers who invested in a mobile optimised store, only to discover that most mobile traffic was from tablets and these customers converted better on the desktop store. The mobile investment was misguided.

What will be interesting in 2012 is to see how quickly the markets for mobile ticketing and NFC payment grow. M-ticketing is already impressive but NFC is in its infancy and requires major investment by companies to enable in-store payment. Also, NFC could well replace the current delight for QR codes as NFC tags can enable a richer experience.


over 6 years ago

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