U.S. mobile Web browsing, spending growth is good news

Mar 16, 2009

By Mickey Alam Khan

March 16, 2009

New research from Bango about the United States overtaking Britain in mobile Web browsing and spending is encouraging news for marketers seeking to monetize the mobile channel.

According to Bango, a mobile analytics and billing company with offices in Cambridge, England and New York, the U.S. knocked Britain off the top slot for mobile Web browsing with 29 percent of the worldwide traffic.

As reported by Mobile Marketer’s Dan Butcher (see story), the good news for content providers is that growth in traffic is matched by growth in users paying for content on the mobile Web.

Per Bango, the U.S. is accelerating faster than any other country and now accounts for 57 percent of mobile payments worldwide.

“Bango’s view of the mobile Web and spending is rosy, because even though the world is going through a recession, we’re seeing an increase in businesses that are charging for content via a mobile Web experience, as opposed to SMS,” said Sarah Keefe, Cambridge, England-based vice president of marketing for Bango, told this publication.

“We’re seeing the growth and migration towards the mobile Web way of selling content,” she said.

This trend should give comfort to content owners who despair that mobile may end up the way of the wired Internet: a channel associated with the one word that’s increasingly abhorred in the content world – free.

As pointed in a previous editorial (see story), it is imperative that marketers quickly develop a viable business model for mobile so that consumers don’t assume that everything available on the mobile channel is free.

While eyeballs matter on mobile as much as they do on the wired Internet or television or in print and outdoor media, mobile marketers have the luxury – albeit slight – of deciding their business model before consumers decide it for them.

This is not about bucking consumer wishes. It is about reality.

Content creation, marketing and delivery come with costs. If there is a demand for such content, then consumers should expect to interface with mobile the way they do with other transactional channels: through exchange of money for value delivered.

If the Bango-monitored trends hold up, it seems clear that U.S. consumers may soon realize that the mobile Web is as much as transactional medium as it is informational. Marketers should not condition consumers otherwise.


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