Mobile Reaching Those Who Eschew The Internet
Remember the 1980s show Max Headroom, which depicted a nihilistic future in which the entire population, even those lacking food or shelter, stood enraptured by television broadcasts because of TV sets scattered prolifically on the streets? Well, I envision a somewhat similar future, only with cell phones replacing the TVs.

Or rather, replacing computer screens – which, scholars could argue, the ahead-of-their-time Max creators were really thinking about. I got to philosophising about this after checking out some recent reports regarding Internet usage. A few noted that certain demographics – or even a significant proportion of the population – don\’t spend as much time on the Internet as an online marketer would hope. Conversely, the growth of mobile phone usage further underlines the importance of mobile – rather than Internet – marketing. It\’s easy to see how tiny cell phone screens will slowly supplant their larger counterparts.

First off, Internet usage:

    * Reports eMarketer, one-quarter of Americans have no Internet access, according to a joint report by the Pew American Life Project and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana. Pew also said that the Internet-less tend to be older, less affluent, and less educated.* Meanwhile, the international Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released a report that said while socio-economic barriers to the Internet are narrowing globally, there are still differences in access and usage: Older users are less likely to shop and look for entertainment online; women were more likely to access the Internet from educational establishments while men were more likely to do so from work and home.

    * It\’s not just the old who are visiting the Web in fewer droves. According to The Nielsen Company, 48 percent of U.S. tweens (youths ages 8 to 12) said they spend less than one hour per day online, compared to the 81 percent of U.S. teens who said they spend an hour or more online daily.

From these reports, it\’s obvious that certain demographics aren\’t as reachable online. However, they are becoming more reachable via mobile phones.

In a report about mobile marketing, iMedia notes that seven out of 10 U.S. adults currently own cell phones, and that penetration will jump to 85 percent in 2010. The column points to Land Rover\’s mobile campaign, targeted at 25-to-54-year-olds, \”funneling a highly qualified 3 percent of users to click to call.\”

And Strategy Analytics estimates that advertisers spent $1.4 billion on mobile media in 2007, and that such spending will grow $14.4 billion by 2011.

Demographic data and market growth is vital for marketers to consider if they want their digital campaigns to reach their targeted audiences. It\’s not just enough to slap up an online ad or blindly send out mobile phone campaigns. As eMarketer says, \”For marketers working on multimedia campaigns, knowing who the non-users are can help determine media buys – and avoid wasting Web efforts targeting consumers who will never get the message.\”

Eydie Cubarrubia
Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
\”I\’d rather you text me\”