I must admit, I was a bit surprised by this number – 2.7. This is the number of hours per day people in the U.S. are spending on the mobile internet according to a recent study from Ruder Finn, a leading PR agency. I will freely admit I am a slight blackberry addict, but I sincerely hope I am not reaching this level of mobile web addiction. And even though I question this number (it’s unclear to me how exactly this was measured), the rest of the study, which focused on intent of mobile users, had some very interesting findings with possible implications for web developers.
First, people are not turning to mobile internet for educational/informational purposes. Instead they are using it for social networking and transactional things, such as banking and shopping. This means that when thinking about tailoring your website for mobile use, if you are a purely informational site, your main audience is probably not on the mobile and investment in a fancy mobile site may not make much sense. Simple is often better.
Another interesting finding was that social networking was more popular on mobile internet than desktop access (91% of mobile users compared to 71% of desktop users). For web strategists who are considering incorporating social networking into a site, this is certainly something to keep in mind.
ReadWriteWeb had a good post on how the mobile may in fact be a better tool for socializing online and how mobile internet makes online social networking more “cool.” It allows people to live their normal life and still connect, share and interact with people in real time – without having to be behind a glowing computer screen.
It’s also worth noting that over 60% of mobile users are now downloading at least one mobile application a month. As I said in an earlier posting, web developers and strategists increasingly need to think about what app could work for their organization – it will soon no longer be a luxury. And with this new research in mind, you may want to make that app one that allows for easy transactions or quick interaction with your organization.
P.S. It’s time for us to start doing some research like this in the Middle East!