My 27-year-old nephew has a problem. Since his parents got rid of their landline telephone in favor of their cell phones, he doesn’t know which one to call. Will the one who doesn’t get the call feel left out?
His concern is misplaced. His parents don’t mind which one he calls — as long as he calls.
This is just one example that dependency on mobile phones is the new normal. And people use their phones for much more than making calls. They text, surf the Web, and send email. They use apps for social media and to shop, search, play games, and more.
The impact of mobile on the business world was fully visible this past week. Advertisers and marketers should take note.
First, Google began rewarding websites that display and function well on mobile devices with higher ratings in search results. A page that is easy to read and navigate on a smartphone will show up sooner than one that isn’t, giving the mobile-friendly page an advantage. (Here’s where you can check your site’s mobile friendliness.)
Google made the change because an increasing number of searches are being made from mobile devices, mostly smartphones. A report from Branding Brand found that search accounted for 43% of all smartphone traffic in the first quarter of 2015, a 5% increase from 2014’s fourth quarter. Google wants to make sure those users have a good experience when they use its search results.
More evidence of the impact of mobile came from one of Google’s top rivals when Facebook reported its first quarter 2015 earnings. Facebook said that 87% of its active monthly users visited from mobile devices, an increase of 24% from the year-ago quarter. That 87% translates into 703 million users. And mobile revenue accounted for 73% of Facebook’s total revenue for the first quarter, up from 69% in the previous quarter.
Things are hopping on the carrier side too.
Verizon, the biggest wireless carrier in the US, said it added 565,000 postpaid customers (those on contracts) in the first quarter of 2015. It lost fewer customers (138,000) in the quarter as well. The new users helped Verizon post a profit of $4.22 billion for the quarter, which handily beat analysts’ estimates.
#2 carrier AT&T reported that in the first quarter it added 441,000 postpaid customers and lost fewer customers to other carriers. Its profit dropped to $3.2 billion for the quarter, compared to $3.65 billion in the 2014 first quarter.
Which brings us back to Google. The company this week formally started its own mobile phone service, called Project Fi. The service uses network capacity from T-Mobile and Sprint and taps into more than a million free Wi-Fi hotspots around the US. The service costs $20 a month and customers pay for just the data they use. The hangup? The service works only with Nexus 6 phones.
As for my nephew, I’m sure he’ll remember Mother’s Day is coming up and give his mom a call — on HER phone.