The growing power of mobile

ACTE regional director Caroline Allen discusses the choice and cost of distribution in her latest column

Mobile to overtake fixed internet access by 2014: this was the bold prediction touted by pundits in 2008. Desktop use has started to plateau with 1,600 million reported users in early 2015, while mobile internet user numbers continue to grow from 400 million in 2007 to 1,900 million today.

Online shopping ‘add to cart’ via mobile is reported to be around 50 per cent lower than for desktop and tablet users; yet based on growth patterns, mobile is on the cusp of emerging as the dominant channel in search marketing. Consumers are becoming more comfortable completing transactions on their smartphones, so advertisers are investing in mobile optimisation to capitalise on that trend.

In early May 2015, Google announced more searches are now made on mobile than on desktop in ten countries, including the US and Japan, although it doesn’t provide a breakdown or list the other countries.

Google processes more than 100 billion search requests worldwide each month, including on PCs, but experienced a decline in average advertising revenues for the past three-and-half years, partly because marketers were unwilling to pay as much for their commercial message to be displayed on smaller smartphone screens. However, after introducing advertising formats that work better on mobile devices, it’s no surprise that, as part of the mobile transition, Google now actively favours websites that are easier to read and load onto smartphones. Known as ‘Mobilegeddon’, the Google ranking change has forced development of millions of websites to ensure they work effectively on smartphones to avoid demotion in search results.

In addition to PC/desktop and mobile devices, tablets, games consoles, smart TVs, smartwatches and smart-wristbands are all used to access the internet, so the ability to market products in different formats beyond a desk-based page is essential. The most common searches originate through search engines with 48 per cent; 33 per cent through branded sites; and 26 per cent through branded apps. People are doing more business directly, so big investment is being made in app development. Based on research, 89 per cent of overall media time is spent on mobile apps versus 11 per cent through mobile web.

So it’s no surprise that the choice and cost of distribution for corporate travel services continues to be a hot topic and sits high on ACTE education agendas around the world. It’s critical to understand industry developments to be able to strategise, so make sure you attend face-to-face local, regional and global ACTE education forums and conferences, as well as webinars and online conferences, to listen, exchange ideas and have your say.

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