Today telecommunications giant Verizon announced that in addition to AT&T, they will now be selling Apple’s hugely popular iPhone. The iPhone 4 on Verizon is essentially the same phone but on a different network type, CDMA. The one notable difference between the AT&T and Verizon iPhone is that the Verizon iPhone will allow users to turn their iPhone into a personal WiFi hotspot. This feature means that Verizon iPhone users can use the Internet connection from their iPhone on other devices, such as laptops and iPads.
So what does this mean for marketers who want to reach prospects on mobile devices?
First, it suggests that the iPhone's growth is going to continue. Reports show that Verizon may sell as many as 13 million iPhones in 2011. Now that Apple's iPhone is being distributed by two major U.S. cellular providers, marketers will have a more accurate sample of mobile device adoption. While Google's Android mobile operating system has been growing rapidly, the data below shows that Verizon's Android devices have not kept pace with the iPhone.
How Do Android and iPhone Users Differ?Admob , a mobile advertising company released research last year around mobile device usage and behavior. While I would encourage you to check out their entire report , I have pulled out a few key pieces of information. First, iPhone and Android application usage is similar:
However, the survey found that the two mobile operating system userbases differed in their willingness to pay for applications. More iPhone users expressed willingess to pay for applications.
The Easy Choice: Optimize for MobileMobile marketing is being tossed around frequently in marketing circles, often with many different intended meanings. While mobile marketing can mean many things, there is one primary message being conveyed for marketers looking to get into mobile: optimize for mobile devices. It is important that you optimize your website and emails to be viewed correctly on mobile devices, such as the iPhone and Android-powered devices. Additionally, it will be important to think about how your calls-to-action and offers work on mobile devices. Is it easy for a prospect to fill out a form on your website from their smartphone? If you are offering a download, will it open on mobile devices?
The Hard Choice: Develop an App
Sure, it is obvious that your content needs to display properly on mobile devices. So what about developing a mobile application for your business? What platform do you develop for? Do you build a native application or an HTML5 web-based application?
The vast majority of businesses don't need to worry about this decision yet. Most businesses are still ramping up their inbound marketing efforts and do not have enough content to support a mobile application. Additionally, many marketers would be better off optimizing their SEO, email, lead nurturing and social media campaigns for maximum lead generation, before taking on another major project like a mobile application.
The Verizon iPhone does not mean sweeping changes to the mobile marketing industry. Instead, it is a sign of continued growth and expanding consumer choice. As a marketer in 2011, you should gain an understand of the device usage among your target audience by conducting a survey or leveraging available industry research. Use this information to make informed choices regarding the direction of your mobile marketing strategies.
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