What is it?
There are three key factors that have seen the mobile internet become a reality:
1. better handsets, screens and memory
2. better data connections through 3g
3. flat rate data-pricing.
Most mobile users in the UK now have both internet browsing and email capabilities on their phones. In fact surveys have shown that 46% of people in the UK have accessed the mobile internet. With such a large number of users there is significant potential for marketing and advertising.
With the advent of internet focussed phones, such as Apple’s iphone, some have argued that the mobile and PC internets are the same, and thus specific strategies or content for each audience is unnecessary.
The other side of this argument is that the mobile internet is significantly different for a number of reasons:
1. handset screen and keyboard size make the functionality and experience different
2. the user experience with mobile means that they will tend to access in the internet in short bursts or ‘snacking’
3. the MNO portals and repurposing of content means that the mobile user will see a different internet to the PC user (see below).
How does it work?
When most users log in to the mobile internet they will be taken to their operator portal, Vodafone Live! or T-Zones. Although many of these portals or ‘walled gardens’ include search tools, they make it difficult for the user to navigate outside of them.
To log on to the mobile internet outside of these walled gardens requires a good technical knowledge of the phone and internet settings.
Significantly, the MNOs repurpose content, ostensibly to improve the speed and compatibility with the mobile device. This can mean that the look and functions of a website are quite different to the PC-based internet. It also means that some sites, depending on the network are blocked entirely.
A few examples
Google have already made significant inroads to providing mobile search and mobile applications, such as email and maps. As yet, the company has not included it’s AdWords advertising into these applications but is widely expected to do so at some point.
In the UK, Admob is the largest third party mobile internet advertiser offering a mobile specific pay per clicks service similar to other internet PPC providers.
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