Joe Meloni

Thirty-one percent of Americans who use the mobile web said it has become their primary internet access point, and the figure will likely grow as more consumers begin using smartphones rather than less-capable feature phones, according to a survey from Pew. The report also found that 60 percent of all American mobile web users turn to their handsets at least as often as they use other devices connected to the internet.

Pew’s study points to overall growing reliance on the mobile web, with smartphones serving as the most convenient method to access content online.

For marketers, the consistent growth of smartphone use has made a strong mobile web presence a competitive necessity. Fortunately, it no longer requires a strategy markedly different from a standard web marketing effort. Brafton recently highlighted comments from Google’s Pierre Farr that, for the first time, clarified the company’s view on mobile SEO. While Farr outlined three separate methods marketers can use, a dedicated website that is user-friendly from any device should be marketers‘ foundation to mobile optimization.

According to Pew’s study, consumers no longer view the mobile web as a luxury. They use it for myriad reasons ranging in significance from professional tasks to reading newspapers on the train. As such, it’s critical that any web marketing initiative focus on providing target audiences with a seamless brand experience on mobile.

Sixty-four percent of consumers told Pew that the reason they use their smartphones for web access so frequently is because their devices make the internet always available to them. Moreover, 18 percent said there are certain tasks they regularly conduct that are easier on the mobile web. Finding quick information about a nearby business or browsing their favorite news source can both be achieved one-the-go or in moments that matter with their smartphones. Businesses looking to become thought leaders by creating high-quality news content or other digital content must ensure that their sites are entirely accessible to these users.

In terms of all mobile phone owners, smartphone and feature phone, 45 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, including smartphone owners and users of less-capable devices, said they do most of their web browsing on their mobile device. With younger adult generations so reliant on the mobile web, it’s increasingly important for companies to ensure fully-functioning mobile websites are part of their immediate web marketing efforts.

Pew’s survey says nothing of the frequently growing tablet market, which has growth projections similar to the smartphone market. Brafton recently cited data from the Online Publishers Association that said 94 percent of tablet users named web content consumption as their primary activity on their tablet.

The use of various mobile computing devices is no longer reserved to those times when access to a desktop or laptop is restricted. As such, marketers must be sure that these users can access content from any device at all times. A Viacom study that found 96 percent of tablet owners use their handsets in their living rooms, while another 94 percent do so in bed.

Content marketing campaigns, whether in the B2B or B2C space, have a massive potential audience on the mobile web. Neglecting these users with a separate mobile site that lacks information available on traditional websites or less capable sites may be costing companies opportunities to generate leads and drive conversions. B2B companies, specifically, are rapidly growing with companies increasingly giving iPads to their employees for business research, according to a study from Good Technology.