mobile phone gummy

Image via www.flickr.com/photos/anniemole

Mobile has been dubbed as ‘the next big thing’ for what seems like forever now. But according to Google, 2011 was the year that people finally started to take mobile seriously.

Last week Google published ‘A look back at 2011’ in which it identified 5 major mobile trends that emerged in 2011, and in Google’s words, “will carry us into 2012, and beyond.”

1. Everyone goes mobile

Smartphones and tablets have fast become ‘the norm’, with everyone from your little sister to your nan connecting via these once geek- only devices. This shift has allowed us to communicate with each other, and with businesses like never before – the consumer has been ‘mobilised’.

According to research;

  • 79% of smartphone users use their phones while shopping, from sourcing retailers, comparing prices or searching for product information & reviews
  • 70% use their smartphones while in a store
  • 77% have contacted a business via their mobile, with 61% calling and 59% visiting the local business

2. Mobile search transforms shopping

In 2011 Google “learned a lot about the ‘timing’ of mobile and tablets”; in that they enabled users to be constantly connected to the internet.

This round the clock connectivity has changed the way users connect with businesses, with more people searching for deals prior to visiting a store, or within a store. An example of this growth is highlighted by ”Black Friday” related mobile search queries, which were over 200% higher than 2010.

Google also predicted that 44% of searches for last minute gifts and store location queries came from mobile devices over the Christmas period.

3. Mobile advertising progresses

It may be very early days for mobile advertising but the past year has presented some huge progressions, with advertising standards and the momentum behind HTML5 helping mobile marketers make the most out of the platform.

Another key point in progression was getting existing tools to “speak mobile”, which was key to helping mobile advertising grow with the demand of businesses and consumers.

Google is making gains with familiar search and display tools, which are slowly but surely becoming ‘mobilised’. There’s still a way to go, but 2012 will surely present some monumental changes.

4. Tablets join the party

2011 was undoubtedly the year of the tablet, with people using the devices to shop, play games and consume media, the majority of people doing so in the evenings.

November 2011 compared to December 2010 saw 440% growth in traffic from tablets on the AdMob network. As Google says,“tablets are a third screen to be reckoned with for marketers”.

The potential opportunities that tablets offer are huge. Research has proven that users are more inclined to shop and make purchases on tablets. In addition, campaigns run across several screens have been shown to work ‘better together’.

5. Businesses start thinking mobile first

To quote Google, “Smartphones and tablets aren’t small desktop computers – they’re new devices being used in entirely new ways”. Indeed.

2011 was the year that businesses began to grasp this concept and embrace mobile as a unique platform, with many good things happening in the form of mobile specific sites and ad campaigns.

There’s no denying it’s been a huge year for mobile, and it’s amazing to think we’re still just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Bring on 2012…