Smartphones have taken over much of our lives and have revolutionized the way we communicate with each other and the outside world. A smartphone can provide us with the answer to practically any question and keep us in touch with just about anyone else on earth with a smartphone. It is how people use the internet, entertain themselves during those off minutes, and find and buy many new products and services.
It's that last bit that marketers are most interested in. Marketers and advertising go where the people are, and the people are on their smartphones (more specific numbers on that later). Marketers know that a smartphone can also connect people to the products and services they want and need and that mobile marketing is a great part of the future of marketing as a whole. Most large brands are doing it already, and everyone else is looking to get on board or risk getting left behind.
Yet what can we learn from its numbers, trends, and nuts and bolts? Here are some mobile marketing statistics that you need to know, whether you are a marketing professional or just someone who is interested in what is going on in their smartphone:
First, we should drive home just how much people use their smartphones and also emphasize how much mobile marketing has taken off, to begin with.
1. There are 5.34 billion Unique Mobile Phone Users on Earth
That is about two-thirds of the world’s population. And a notable portion of the world’s population cannot even use a smartphone (very small children), so the working number should be considered much higher.
As time goes on, we can only expect that there will be more people getting their first smartphone, all the while everyone else continues using them.
As for non-unique phones, they can be considered work phones, additional devices meant for privacy, and there for a few other odd uses. Such devices add a few billion to the total number of smartphones operating on earth and are a testament to our reliance on them.
2. Most People in the United States Spend Five Hours or More on Their Smartphone Each Day
People are spending more time on their phones than ever. One source states that the average American spends 5.4 hours each day on their smartphone. That is about a third of their waking hours. Any marketer would want access to that time, and there are plenty of opportunities for ads during that time. Just the time spent on social media is enormous. What was once the time spent in front of the television has switched a bit into the time spent on the smartphone. And marketers need to take advantage of this fact to stay relevant.
3. It Is Expected that 19 Percent of U.S. Internet Users Will Exclusively Use Their Phones to Go Online
As mobile data plans and speeds across the country, improve and internet connections in some parts of the United States do not, we see an interesting trend: some people do not even bother getting an internet plan, instead just using their smartphones.
And for many lifestyles, this is a perfectly valid way to go about things. Assuming someone doesn’t need to sit in front of a computer for work (or they have an office for that) and they don’t use any websites heavily, a smartphone has everything someone needs. If someone has an unlimited data plan (increasingly common), with a nice phone, they can do everything they might want to.
This trend is much higher worldwide, though the exact numbers are harder to go by. Yet it is estimated that about two-thirds of internet users in countries with larger economies still use desktops and laptops at least occasionally. Still, that is a lot of people left over, and it looks like the trend is going towards more people just relying on mobile. Marketers and companies will need to know this if only to make sure the mobile option is at least available.
4. Mobile Phones are Responsible for More than 55 Percent of Our Time Online
This was not always the case, of course, but over the years, the balance has steadily been reaching equilibrium, and it is much easier to pull out a phone and browse for a few minutes than get on the computer (if one is even around). The smartphone represents the perfect distraction opportunity, and marketers can fill that need for distraction in one way or another.
This means that marketers who previously had limited resources and eschewed mobile for a more general online approach no longer have any excuse to do so. In fact, those with limited resources would often be better off minimizing their traditional online marketing campaigns in favor of mobile and social media marketing efforts.
5. Teens Will Use Their Phones Just to Pass the Time
Why do people use smartphones? Some might say for communication, and others will say for work purposes. Yet while many of us might not want to admit it, many of us spend most of our time just trying to find ways to pass the time.
This goes just as much, if not more, for teens, who often have lots of free time and little to do with it. A survey from the Pew Research center reported that 91 percent of teens will at least sometimes use their phone just to pass the time. This is compared to 84 percent who use it to connect with others and 43 percent to avoid interacting with others (something many of us do in public places).
If someone is planning on using their phone to pass the time, they might be more receptive to ads or marketing messages. If you can offer them something to do, then that’s all the better.
The greater social and philosophical implications of this trend and its impact on our future might be best left to the experts. If it makes you feel better, though, 83 percent of teens said they use their phone at least sometimes to learn new things.
6. Worldwide, Smartphone User Penetration Is Over 66 percent.
Going off our first statistic, it’s important to know just what percentage of the Earth is using smartphones and where that trend is going. People can’t be marketed to on smartphones if they don’t have smartphones, after all.
If you look at the global penetration rate, you can see why marketers are rushing to get more mobile ads set up. Few people cannot be reached by smartphones, and those people are probably not a company’s first choice to market to in the first place, given that many of them live in undeveloped countries and don’t have much extra income.
However, if you work in marketing yourself, you know that this figure is a bit more complex to work with than one might first infer. Your company likely doesn’t have a worldwide reach. If it does, then there are still regional divisions, each with its own marketing strategies. Targeted advertising is the clear future, so demographic and regional concerns will trump a wide reach regularly when it comes to marketer preference.
7. People Would Prefer to Read Reviews Rather than Speak to an Associate In-Store
Either people aren’t as social as they used to be, or people are taking advantage of the fact that they don’t need to be as social. Most people would prefer not to talk to an associate and would rather look up reviews online. About 80 percent of shoppers have used a mobile device to look up something in a store, whether reviews or general product information. And given that the information online is often complete (as it can be), and an associate often cannot know everything, many of them might have the right idea.
Yet this trend also opens the discussion about reviews on mobile devices about products and companies overall. Word of mouth is the most important thing, as we’ll talk about mobile social media marketing a bit. People will nearly always trust the word of friends and family members over what they hear in marketing materials, regardless of which is factually correct.
Ideally, marketers will understand this and encourage more word-of-mouth marketing as part of their efforts. That means reviews and social media efforts on top of standard mobile ads.
8. More than Half of Web Traffic Worldwide is on a Mobile Device
Given the other statistics at play, this comes as no surprise. Yet it provides another way of showcasing just how quickly mobile is rising and how important it is in the lives of many after just one and a half decades of smartphones even existing. Few people could have predicted just how big smartphones would get and how much, as a result, mobile apps and websites would rely on
More people will rely on phones, and phones will be able to do more, potentially opening up more screen space. Not only will this allow marketers to do more with phones, but it will allow users to check more in a shorter amount of time.
9. Mobile Traffic Is Expected to Rise Further
There is another simple conclusion of the math. Given that people are spending more time on their phones, apps and social media companies are investing more into their interfaces and user experiences, and companies are doing all they can to drive mobile traffic to apps and sites alike, it stands to reason that mobile traffic overall is expected to increase. And this is regardless of the ups and downs of popular apps. For the most part, if an app goes down or becomes unpopular, on the whole, people will just move to another one.
Take a look at the predicted trends up to 2022:
And in truth, those factors aren’t even necessary. The simple fact is that more people are coming online regularly, and that alone will increase mobile traffic overall. If we add that to a growing population, more people getting more time to at least spend on mobile devices, and other factors, then we could see significant growth beyond what we expected.
10. More Conversions Will Happen on Desktop
While more traffic, ad impressions, and spending can occur on mobile (we’ll get even more into that later), that isn’t all that matters to marketers. In general, conversions matter most; however, that might be defined by the campaign in question.
And while people might be spending more time on mobile, desktop users are more likely to convert. And that is where the money is made. Specifically, the conversion rate for mobile users is 1.72 percent in the United States, while it is 1.96 percent for desktop users. And while that might not make a lot of difference to the casual reader or non-marketer, that is a huge difference to anyone working in the field. To the largest campaigns, it can make a difference of tens of thousands of conversions, if not more.
Yet from the same source, it should be noted that people on mobile are more likely to start transactions, as opposed to more people finishing them on mobile. While it might be easier to grab someone’s attention on mobile, it’s also easier to grab someone’s attention away on mobile.
We will have to wait and see how this trend continues. Have marketers simply not yet mastered how to improve conversion rates on mobile? Or is there something about the desktop experience or desktop users that makes conversions more likely? It might be that they might be more serious about making a purchase if they’re willing to sit down to do so, and it could be the desktop experience is better for getting people to commit. This is something that marketers around the world should and will study.
Now that we have the layout of things, what can we say about how marketers are working on mobile apps and platforms, and what are some of the trends we see? Essentially, what are marketers doing on mobile, and what are they spending their budgets on?
11. Out of All the Top-Ranked Websites, 80 percent are Mobile-Friendly
It is more than just reaching people on a mobile platform that matters when it comes to mobile marketing. Being able to make sure people have a good experience once they’re interested matters just as much. While a marketer might not have as much control over this, a mobile-friendly website is a must for those who hope to leap to the top of the pack. And given that SEO rankings and more are more competitive than ever, the remaining few sites that don’t update themselves will quickly get outmatched.
And yet there’s more. There is the fact that mobile-optimized sites get 15 percent more unique clicks. That’s 15 percent more chances for a conversion.
Optimization is also part of fixing up a site for a better mobile experience (desktop sites tend to load slower). Conversion rates for a website drop 4.42 percent for each second of load time (for the first five seconds). That is massive for many businesses, and the bounce rate that long loading times cause can snowball into other problems for a website and business as well.
12. Mobile Ad Spending Is Expected to Reach $327.1 billion in 2022.
This amount is only increasing year after year, and by 2024 the amount is expected to reach nearly $400 billion. While this is a huge amount of money, how does it play into the larger world of marketing?
It means that marketers will be looking to get the most for their money and that more platforms will be looking to expand offerings and options. With so much money to go around, a platform will want to make itself as friendly as possible for marketers.
Additionally, the mobile ad space will grow at once more competitive and more varied. It also can be more competitive and targeted, as you have likely experienced yourself. You can only segment that so much into regions with a TV slot. Marketers can pay for a certain number of clicks or impressions instead of a hopeful shot in the dark with the right TV spot. Mobile marketing, social media marketing, and most forms of online marketing are adaptable. If a change needs to be made, it can often happen in a matter of hours if it's an emergency. Need to tweak a campaign? It can be done in minutes with some platforms.
13. By 2023, $240 Billion is Expected to be Spent on Mobile Advertising in the United States.
Perhaps this comes as little surprise, but most of that advertising spending will take place in the United States. Part of this is because there is a high concentration of people with smartphones in the United States, and those using a smartphone in the United States are a more valuable audience. They’ll have more money to spend overall. Additionally, people in the United States are heavy smartphone users, and the time they spend on their phones is often linked to those apps and sites that have more mobile ads (or chances to convert).
Overall, mobile ad spending growth in the U.S. is expected to slow down a little bit, but that is to be expected. Such extreme growth is unsustainable forever. In the meanwhile, expect a lot of competition over United States eyeballs.
14. It Is Expected that This Year Mobile Ad Spending Will Surpass Desktop Ad Spending
Much like the other stats and trends, likely multiple factors are going into this. It is not necessarily desktop ads getting cheaper but the fact that more people are spending more time than ever before on their smartphones and less time on other devices. With mobile spending going up, it’s going to take a larger share of the pie. Just take a look at the trend below:
Based on the above, you can also tell that the trend will continue, if slowly. We don’t know at what point it will plateau and at what rate, but there will still be some time before that happens. Additionally, given that we don’t know how people will change their mobile usage habits or if there will be a major change in the landscape, it is possible the mobile ad industry gets upended from a spending perspective.
For marketers, the above trend means two things:
We could write an entire other piece twice as long as this one that focuses on social media marketing. Yet mobile marketing and social media marketing are so intertwined that for many marketers, they could be considered one and the same. Here are some key statistics and trends that you should know about:
14. There are 4.7 Billion Active Social Media Users
Out of everyone that uses a smartphone, more than 90 percent of them also use social media. In fact, we figure that many smartphone users only have a smartphone to communicate and be active on social media. And given that so much can be done on social media, that comes as little surprise.
And most people are not tied to just one platform. The average user goes on about 7.4 social media networks per month (some more than others). Each of those platforms represents a unique opportunity for marketers. It would be wise for marketers to diversify their marketing efforts among platforms on top of a split between mobile and desktop. However, depending on target demographics, some platforms might be better than others.
15. Facebook Is Still the Most Popular Social Media Platform
Marketers ignore Facebook at their peril. With several billion users around the world, it is the most popular platform and has been for a long time. Marketers would do well to understand how advertising works on the platform and how they can connect to audiences using Facebook on their smartphones.
Yet that doesn’t mean billions of people don’t use other platforms. Take a look at the following:
Some of these might be more relevant than others. Most notable are TikTok, which has experienced a huge rise in popularity over the past few years, and Instagram, which remains incredibly popular and an active option for many marketers. Yet with a few exceptions, nearly any of the platforms listed above could be a good choice for the part of a marketing campaign.
16. About 92 percent of Facebook Ad Revenue comes from Mobile Ads
Much of this comes from the fact that most usage of Facebook comes from mobile. Yet it showcases that most ads need to be optimized and designed for mobile users, and it shows where Facebook will invest the most in its platform.
And given that most other social media networks are going to be similar in their trends and revenue breakdown, this information can be used for marketers on all platforms. We rarely see a social media network that focuses on the desktop experience. Everything is meant for mobile because that’s where the money is.
17. Influencer Marketing Is Key to Mobile Marketing
Influencers and marketers alike are starting to realize this, given that the influencer marketing industry is going to reach 16.4 billion in 2022. And in just 2021, it was 13.8 billion. That matters greatly if a brand is mentioned a lot on a platform such as TikTok. About 93 percent of marketers have used influencer marketing to some degree.
And for marketers with smaller budgets concerned about the costs, that isn’t as much of a concern as they might think it is. There are micro-influencers with dedicated and niche audiences who will listen. In fact, the right micro-influencer can lead to more sales than a widespread approach.
Influencer marketing might technically not be directly tied to mobile marketing. An influencer can use any platform they desire. Yet, given the status of social media, influencer marketing is mostly mobile marketing of a sort.
Just because most people might think of marketing directly to the consumer on mobile devices doesn’t mean that B2B doesn’t happen on mobile devices or that it wouldn’t be worth the effort. Here are some stats to drive home that point.
18. More than 80 Percent of B2B Buyers Use a Mobile Device to Make Purchases
Some studies say 80 percent, while others might say a little lower, but the end result is the same: people are making B2B purchases and at least looking at B2B opportunities on their mobile devices. That means early adopters of mobile had the advantage, even in the B2B space. Those who were leaders in the space got at least twice as many queries and twice as much general traffic as those who were lagging behind.
One study noted that mobile increased the speed at which transactions happen, which is generally good for those looking to make a sale. Having a solid mobile platform allowed buyers to get more information quickly yet also give them less time to abandon a cart or second guess themselves.
19. In Major B2B Organizations, Mobile Is Responsible for 40 Percent of All Revenue
It is more than just uncertain leads and creating a better and more convenient experience for potential B2B customers and clients. That is a major part of any organization’s income, and mobile's faster decision-making likely encourages that revenue.
Will this increase? Much like other mobile usage statistics, it might be for a time, but given that this is a statistic about revenue, we aren’t so sure. Much revenue comes from developed countries such as the United States, and people in those countries are more likely to use a desktop. Therefore the growth of mobile users and only mobile users in other countries might not make as big an impact as one might expect.
Nonetheless, the above showcases the need for marketers of all types to pay attention to mobile marketing tools and new mobile device platforms to use.
There is no shortage of information on mobile marketing if you know where to look for it, but we hope that with the above information, you can narrow down your areas of interest and better understand the most important notes. Whether you are expanding your mobile marketing efforts or plan to continue to learn more, we wish you the best of luck and encourage you to bookmark and return to this page as you feel the need.