Whether you’re in London or Lahore, it’s hard to avoid people tapping away on their mobile phones. It’s estimated that a staggering 87 per cent of the world’s population now has a mobile device. And this year, sales of smartphones are expected to overtake PCs for the first time.
This growth can mean big opportunities for global web marketing. More and more of the world’s population are using their phones to get online. In many emerging markets, with patchy broadband coverage, customers find mobile internet is the best choice. It’s also cheaper and more convenient if you’re on the move.
If you’re thinking of translating your website for fast-growing markets such as the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) then you shouldn’t ignore mobile phones. Making sure your site works on a small screen is an easy way to reach many more customers.
For example, in India, many users are “mobile only”, especially among young, urban populations. They often use cheap, pay-as-you-go devices to access the internet. As well as making sure your site works on a mobile, it’s best to keep graphics simple and limit the size of downloads.
And in Brazil, only a quarter of households have fixed broadband, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), but many more use their phones to get online.
Going mobile requires some rethinking of your global web marketing strategy. It’s even more vital to ensure translations are perfect, since fewer words will be displayed on a page. There’s no space for clunky phrases or wordy translations.
But some good news is that PPC advertising can be more effective for mobile searches. Users are more likely to click on one of the top (paid-for) search results, since fewer results are displayed on the screen.
People tend to search for different things when they’re on the move. Local searches are very common – such as “restaurants in Rome” or “Tokyo hotels”. And many shoppers use their phones to compare prices or find reviews when out and about. It’s worth ensuring your bestselling products are clearly displayed and easy to find.
Surprisingly, many leading international companies are still failing to use mobile sites. A Google survey found almost four-fifths of its biggest advertisers didn’t have mobile-optimised sites last year. But with the growth in phone sales expected to continue, it’s set to become a vital part of global web marketing in 2012 and beyond.