For consumers in the U.S., many will find it hard to remember a time when they didn't have the internet and smartphones. The rapid growth in usage and importance of mobile devices isn't just an American phenomenon. Around the world, the mobile devices are becoming the predominant form of communication and entertainment. A recent international study by comScore, shows how mobile is fairing worldwide and how business owners and marketers should react.

The internet data firm comScore recently released a report title, "Mobile's Hierarchy of Needs", which examined several key mobile marketing trends in several large markets around the world. The study shows that like the psychological Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs, the report shows that how people relate to mobile devices and content depends on what their needs are. And these factors can vary widely by region.

One of the key takeaway from this report is that mobile device usage has grown significantly worldwide. Mobile devices account for more than 60 percent of all digital minutes in all nine of the markets analyzed. And in some markets, it went as high as 91 percent, as in Indonesia.

While it's important to note that more people are spending more time on mobile devices, it's equally important to note how the time is being spent. Mobile website are important, but apps (like Facebook and Twitter) are where the action is. The report found that apps on smartphone and tablet devices represented more than 80 percent of mobile minutes in all markets studied.

"The dominant share of digital time represented by mobile globally highlights the need for measurement that captures all forms of activity on these devices," said Will Hodgman , executive vice president of international at comScore, according to media reports. "This report underlines the importance of demographics, app consumption and country-specific behavioural trends that publishers, advertisers and agencies need to effectively evaluate mobile audiences in a cross-platform world. We're excited to expand this precise mobile measurement to even more markets throughout 2017."

The growth in app usage has led to some issues, such as a entry barriers for new, regional products, as well as reducing the need for text messaging, and vicariously SMS marketing. Researchers found that the most used apps were predominantly large international players. Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ Instant Messenger and Line accounted for nearly 1 in 7 minutes for some non-US markets, and led to a decline in standard SMS messaging.

The data from comScore meshes well with another study on mobile, this time by Fetch. The Fetch research shows that mobile engagement is increasing worldwide, making the devices a growing choice for online and local marketers. According to their research, 31 percent of users in emerging markets define themselves as "mobile-first", compared to 15 percent in Europe and 18 percent in North America.

These changes have led to significant changes in the way "mobile-first" consumers expect sites and apps to operate on line. According to the Fetch data, "mobile-first consumers in emerging markets are more intolerant of bad mobile web experiences, with 84% saying they would leave a mobile website if it loaded slowly, compared to 69% in Europe and 75% in North America."

In the end, both studies show that mobile devices have, are and will continue to shape global markets and marketing for the near future. There are a lot of ways business owners and use SEO, social, email and other kinds of marketing to take advantage of these mobile trends.

For more recent research on online marketing, read this article on how content accuracy affects online marketing efforts.

Published on: Apr 3, 2017