Mobile usage continues to increase rapidly and shows no signs of stopping. According to a comScore study, nearly 90 million Americans accessed their email from their mobile phones in 2011, a 28% increase from the previous year. This represents a whopping 19.5 million additional mobile email users. In November 2011 nearly 40% of all mobile users in the U.S. were accessing email on their phones, and over 75% of smartphone users took advantage of the service. The majority of these users accessed their mobile email on a daily basis.
The growth of mobile applies to more than just email. Apps are another strong area of growth, with smartphone users now spending more time per day using mobile apps than web browsing. Mobile analytics firm Fleurry found that Facebook has had a significant impact on this behavioral shift. Facebook is the most downloaded app of all time on both Apple and Android-powered smartphones, and is the most-used application in the 14-44 age range. While Facebook is a huge culprit, games are the largest offender, accounting for 49% of time mobile users spend on apps. Session usage lengths are also longer for social and gaming apps, compared to other leading categories such as entertainment, news, and weather.
Advertisers have started to take note of these mobile shifts, and it is beginning to show in search. According to a Q4 2011 study, mobile paid search ad spend was up nearly 270% YoY, and impressions were up over 300%. Many companies are also seeing increased performance from paid search, as well as higher click-through rates for campaigns on smartphones and tablets when compared to similar campaigns on desktop computers.
With users relying more heavily on smartphones and tablets and advertising performing better on these devices, expect to see increased ad dollars designated for mobile advertising in 2012.