Dead in the Water without Mobile

Still water / 240-365
Image by ~ Sandy ~

This year’s Millennial Impact Report shows that anyone doing business in the United States needs mobile communications as part of its portfolio. Without mobile any business or nonprofit’s growth strategy is dead in the water.

An astounding 77% of millennials use a smartphone to access the Internet, says the report — well above the general adult population’s use.

This is literally any business or nonprofit’s future stakeholder, if not their current one.

Millennials (those 35 and younger) use their smartphone like a computer, reading e-newsletters, emailing people, and engaging in social media.

This trend will only increase as the next generation of teenagers matures. Mobile web use increases while email and instant messaging (IMing) decreases, according to Pew Research.

Three out of five smartphone owners in the U.S. do not go more than one hour without checking their devices, according to the Mobile Mindset Study (hat tip: Beth Kanter). Further, the study says that 63% of women and 73% of men ages 18-34 don’t go an hour without checking their phones.

Finally, mobile now comprises 10% of global web traffic, according to Pingdom.

Do you need more convincing?

5 Starter Tips

Carmine, Bleecker, nyc, woman
Image by Joanna_Pan

If you want to develop a mobile content strategy, here are five short tips to get you started:

1) Download the WordPress Plug-In WPTouch now to make your blog and at least a part of your site somewhat mobile now.

2) Use Google Analytics or a different analytics package to determine what’s relevant to your smartphone stakeholders. You may find they want different information, like local store data or product reviews.

3) It’s helpful to understand how mobile works, including the different types of communications choices within the medium. Learn as much as you can before going crazy and building apps and unique mobile experiences. Tactile input makes entering data harder, for example.

The best book on the topic is Chuck Martin’s The Third Screen.

4) Hire a web developer to make your site HTML 5 friendly, which empowers smartphones to view your content on any mobile operating system. The native web is the first application for any mobile phone user. Take the lessons learned from steps 2 and 3 to drive your mobile web build out.

5) Continue to monitor how people use your now mobile friendly site. Develop an even better mobile experience: From shorter content to more visual media, the mobile experience is different.

This unique mobile web experience (that may or may not include applications) serves and cultivates a loyal strong smartphone stakeholder group. Make sure it’s integrated within your larger web and communications strategy.

Do you think a mobile strategy is a must have now? What tips would you offer?


  • Great post. I wonder what you may recommend for those who aren’t on WordPress. Such as non-profits using platforms like Convio or Blackbaud.

    •  Boy, I don’t know. I might suggest talking to @Franswaa (Frank Berry) on Twitter for that one.

  • Another interesting thing to think about is that smart phones are growing as computer replacements in rural areas and for minorities; Cheaper and easier to use. 

  • Definitely not a trend to ignore. Sadly, I’m behind the curve on this one. 

    If anyone has doubts as to how often we rely upon our mobile devices, simply step off a plane in Europe, wait 15 minutes for the “You have accrued US$100 in international data roaming charges” SMS, turn off data services on your device, and see how physically painful it becomes to be without that sweet, sweet connectivity or be forced to seek out wifi.

    It’s not just something teenagers do to kill time. 

    •  Dude!  That is the worst!  AT&T always kills me with those prompts!

      • Someday… SOME DAY… we’ll have fast, super-reliable, global wifi powered by the devices connected to it and won’t have to deal with the punitive measures put into place to preserve the bottom lines of industrial era megaliths. 

        And, while I’m dreaming, I’d like a pony.

  • Ah the most telling statistic was that more than 50% of users check their mobile phones in bed! And over 30% check in the toilet.    I worry about the need better mindfulness as we increasingly have more ways to be distracted.  And, it could be a safety issue given the percentage who admit to checking their mobile phones while driving!! 

    • I am unfortunately one of those people, and I agree it becomes a problem for mindfulness.  One of the things I am doing is turning the phone off with the baby.  I am leaving it in the car.  I am not using it on long hikes, etc.  I just think we need to mindfully say no.  Great insights, Beth.

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