What does the word mobile mean? To many companies, including those in retail, mobile is used to describe any connected device that's portable.
That makes some sense: despite the fact that there are differences between the growing number of connected devices that can fit in a pocket or bag, there are often enough similarities, at least on the surface, to justify putting them in the same bucket. But can and should the all-encompassing use of mobile translate to strategy?
For countless companies active online, the ever-increasing importance of mobile is no surprise. It's seen every day in the growing amount of traffic their websites receive from users on mobile and tablet devices.
The big question: what activities previously performed on the PC are being shifted to these devices?
Smartphone owners are more likely to use their device for email than for making phone calls, according to new research by Adobe.
The 2013 Digital Publishing Report, which surveyed 1,003 18-54 year olds, found that 79% of smartphone owners use their device for email compared to 78% who use it for making phone calls.
This serves to further underline the importance of optimising email campaigns for smartphones.
We’ve previously reported on data which shows that up to a third of emails are opened on mobile devices, yet data included in our Email Marketing Census reveals that 39% of businesses have no strategy in place for mobile optimisation and a further 37% said their strategy was ‘basic’.
Adobe’s report found that Facebook is the third most popular smartphone activity (58%), followed by listening to music (52%) and playing games (48%).
With publishers serving more and more of their audience through mobile and tablet devices, it's no surprise that responsive designs are growing in popularity.
From the BBC and Guardian to Metro and Express & Star, the number of publishers jumping on the responsive design bandwagon is growing rapidly and for good reason: there's a lot to like about responsive design and done right, it's pretty compelling.
It's not exactly new, but you probably encountered far more sites with infinite scrolling functionality in 2012 than you did in 2011, and there's a good chance you'll come across even more in 2013.
With popular services like Twitter and Pinterest bringing infinite scrolling into the mainstream, it's no surprise that more and more designers and publishers are considering doing away with old school pagination.
But is infinite scrolling a good trend or will it soon become a design worst practice?
As 2012 is officially over and we've now welcomed in another year, we reached out to a few industry professionals to see what their thoughts are for the year ahead. As we had so many great responses, we have made a series of posts that will come out over the month of January.
To start everything off, we're looking at the future of mobile and what companies need to have in their strategic approaches in 2013.
If you work in a digital industry, the ubiquity of the internet is practically taken for granted. But that doesn't mean that the percentage of consumers accessing the internet on a regular basis isn't impressive. And it doesn't mean that percentage isn't growing.
In fact, according to Forrester Research, the number of adults in the United States who access the internet on a daily basis is growing more than one might imagine.
Throughout 2012 we’ve seen numerous studies that highlight the massive difference between shopping behaviours on tablet and smartphones.
The usability of each device should make this obvious, yet they were often – and occasionally still are – lumped together in the mobile category when comparing sales and traffic stats to desktop computers.
This is despite the fact that data published by Adobe in May shows that one tablet generates as many website visits as four smartphones.
By the end of Q1 2012 smartphones accounted for 6.1% of site visits compared to 4.3% on tablet.
However, smartphones only maintain a greater share of website visits due to the lower penetration rate of tablets, with 5x more smartphones shipped across North America and Western Europe compared to tablets.
Was 2012 the year of mobile? No, and in reality trying to say that any 12 month period can be heralded as the 'year of mobile' is nonsense in an industry that is already well established yet also constantly evolving.
But that doesn't mean there haven't been any important trends and innovations in the mobile industry this year.
For example, we've seen more brands start to realise the importance of operating a mobile optimised site, a growing awareness that tablets are a vital part of ecommerce and a move towards embracing responsive design, particularly among publishers.
To shed more light on the most important mobile trends from 2012 and do a bit of future gazing to next year, I spoke to several mobile industry experts...
Mobile-first, or web-first? Neither alone is a real strategy for success.
For Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., learning that has proved to be an expensive experience as the media giant has decided to abandon its iPad-only publication, The Daily, after less than two years.