Mobile Rules -- All Day, Every Day

There used to be a time when smart mobile marketing executives would show charts about how our internet access patterns were changing throughout the day. They were designed to show that mobile was on the rise. Typically, mobile would be a big channel at the beginning and end of the day. People would get up, use their mobile device and then switch to a laptop or desktop before mobile devices or tablets would show an increase again in the evening.

The evidence was always that PCs ruled the day, particularly the workday, and the mobile device was more of a personal device that took over when we weren't in the office. Now, you can forget that. Mobile rules -- period.

The latest research from Verto Analytics might be considered as falling into the category of insight that tells you something you already know or suspect. However, that doesn't make it any less informative. 

Instead of peaks and valleys, we now have a very clear picture that mobile is the number one channel to access the internet throughout the day. Its dominance is more extreme in the couple of hours before work, where it accounts for nearly two in three people accessing the net, so that part of the picture is still true. However, if you look at the graphs accompanying the research in the Netimperative article that discusses the research, you will see that mobile remains at this high peak throughout the day and into the middle of the evening until it plummets, just like PC and tablet access figures. 

Overall, the research study -- which tracks internet access of 5,000 UK adults -- shows that mobile is the device of choice for 57% of people who go online, while PCs account for 27% and tablets 16%. Thus, the headline is that mobile is now twice as popular as the PC for internet access.

That is a big finding, but for me, the really interesting takeaway for marketers is the dominance throughout the day. All three device choices rise and fall at the same time -- they go up before work sharply and then carry on throughout the day until bedtime.

It's important because the assumption was always that, for example, mobile PPC campaigns would be more expensive at the beginning and end of the day when competition for a surge in numbers would send bids higher. Today, however, we know that traffic is more constant and people are on their mobile devices all day. The same goes for mobile advertising. Time should be less of a factor now. The channel is hot all day long.

People always talk about when we hit tipping points and when will we know we're in a mobile-first world. Well, the fact that mobile now gets nearly 40% of all UK ad spend and desktop nearly 25% already speaks volumes. When you throw in that many sites will tell you they are already mobile-first because they get more visits from mobile than from desktop, that is another piece of evidence.

But now we have the evidence we probably all need. Mobile is twice as popular for going online as desktop, and it remains the top channel throughout the day. No peaks, no valleys. Mobile rules -- all day long. If that doesn't convince you we are in a mobile-first world, nothing will. 

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