The momentum of mobile: impressive traffic data show the mobile marketing opportunity

 
 

You hear the term "exponential growth" thrown around a lot when talking about such things as the internet and technology today in general, but according to Cisco's Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, that's a an apt description for the immediate future of mobile technology.

Globally, mobile traffic grew 2.6 times in 2010, almost tripling for the third year in a row. That growth rate was even higher than what Cisco forecasted last year - the company attributes that in part to an accelerated adoption rate of smartphones. To put it another way, Global data traffic in 2010 (237 petabytes per month) was over three times greater than the total global internet traffic in 2000 (75 petabytes per month).

There will be 788 million mobile internet users by 2015 with global mobile data traffic increasing by a factor of 26 by 2015. Average smartphone usage doubled in 2010 from 2009, going from 35 MB to 79 MB data per month. Now that's some pretty incredible mobile momentum right there!

There are 48 million people in the world who have mobile phones, but do not have electricity at home. The mobile network has extended off the grid, connecting people who would not normally be provided such an option. In fact, by 2015 Cisco predicts there will be nearly one mobile device for every person on the planet. There will be over 7.1 billion mobile devices for a population of 7.2 billion by 2015.

The time to start integrating mobile in cross-channel marketing is now

Staggering data that again prove that it's time for marketers to adapt their existing online marketing activities to this increasing use of mobile devices, such as mobile e-mail, mobile websites, mobile CRM and so on. It's also an enormous opportunity for marketers to increasingly test mobile marketing possibilities, ranging from SMS to full-blown cross-channel campaigns and activities whereby mobile plays a central role.

Considering recent events in the region, it's also interesting that Cisco is predicting that the Middle East and Africa will have the strongest mobile data growth with a compound annual growth rate of 129%, followed by Latin America 111% and Central and Eastern Europe at 102 CAGR. How will this connectivity growth further change our world?

People will be doing a lot on their smartphones too if data use is any indication. According to the forecast (PDF), the average smartphone will generate 1.3 GB of traffic per month in 2015 and that's an incredible 16 fold increase over the 2010 average of 79 MB per moth.

Cisco predicts that two-thirds of the mobile traffic will be video by 2015. "Mobile video will more than double every year between 2010 and 2015. Mobile video has the highest growth rate of any application category measured within the Cisco VNI forecast at this time."

Globally, Google reports that the number of YouTube videos delivered to mobile devices tripled in 2010, reaching 200 million video views per day.

Tablets will also suck up their fare share of the bandwidth over the next few years. The report predicts they will generate as much traffic in 2015 as the entire global mobile network did in 2010. In 2010 mobile generated 242 petabytes per month and tablets are forecast to generate 248 petabytes per month in 2015.

Mobile technology has fantastic momentum today and that is only going to increase as we continue to roll forward. What makes these numbers and predictions really interesting and enlightening is that they are based on traffic data.

Cisco isn't looking at sales, but at the footprints people are leaving on the net as they use the devices. Just one more indication of how critical it is for you to expand your reach across multiple channels to serve the consumer with a cross-channel interaction approach.


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