For years marketers have referred to the mobile web as a separate channel. The mobile web was driven through mobile sites and the limited screen size or capabilities of the feature phone market. The limitations and diversity of feature phones required very specific mobile experiences to be created, with the introduction of mobile portals to help people navigate and explore mobile content. This has been a major part of the SA digital landscape for years with the success of portals like Vodafone Live and Thumbtribe.
However with the huge impact made with the introduction of smartphones into the mass market, the mobile web as a concept is dying. The dividing lines between mobile experiences and desktop web experiences have blurred. We now decide that we want to access the internet at any point in time and will use whichever device is most relevant to our current situation. The key is that we now expect the same experience regardless of the device.
Whether it is a Google search for a new recipe or watching a video on YouTube these services are now operational across all devices. We as marketers need to change the way we view mobile. It is not a stand alone destination but just a different point of entry into the world of digital content.
Feature phones are still a major part of the South African digital landscape and as marketers we need to be cognicent of that but the global shift to a smartphone centric world is already taking hold locally. As the penetration of smart devices grows within our market (smartphones, tablets, smart TV’s, gaming consoles) the digital experience becomes less about the device and more about the content and the experience. The shift in thinking from strategists will be around the mindset of the consumer and when and why they use the internet rather than trying to push out a strategy based a device.