Critical Mass: The Worldwide State of the Mobile Web | MMA
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Nielsen Mobile )July 2008)

It is increasingly difficult to talk about the Internet, or media and marketing in general, without the conversation quickly turning to mobile phones.
40 million mobile subscribers in the US, plus millions more across Europe and Asia, surf the web through a mobile phone each month—checking email, exploring their social networks, making bank transactions and engaging in other web activities right from their hands.
How has mobile Internet so quickly become part of the consumer media experience for millions? Through a confluence of essential factors in mobile Internet adoption and use, mobile Internet reached a critical mass this year, offering a large and diverse enough base of users to support large-scale mobile marketing efforts.
By no coincidence, consumer devices, networks, data packages, content and interest have come together to turn the mobile Internet into a mass medium that deserves the close attention of marketers and media companies.
This paper pulls from Nielsen’s broad portfolio of mobile research to provide an overview of the mobile Internet market in 2008 and the opportunities it presents.
We look closely at the universe and demographics of mobile Internet users, their devices, the cost of accessing the mobile Internet in the US, the sites and categories that are emerging as leaders on the mobile Internet, the relationship of PC and mobile Internet consumption, customer satisfaction, network quality and the state of the advertising opportunity in the mobile Internet space.
Key Takeaways
  • The US, UK and Italy are leaders in mobile Internet penetration. 15.6 percent of mobile subscribers in the US, 12.9 percent of subscribers in the UK and 11.9 percent in Italy actively use the mobile Internet
  • We believe mobile Internet has reached a critical mass as an advertising medium in the US. As of May 2008, there were 40 million active users of the mobile Internet in the US, with individual sites that attract millions of unique users. This provides scalable marketing potential with demographic breadth.
  • Unlimited data packages are an important part of the growth of the mobile Internet and are increasingly popular with US consumers. Today 14 percent of US wireless subscribers have unlimited data packages, and 50 percent of data users say they would prefer to have such a package.
  • 3G networks are greatly improving the quality of the mobile Internet experience and will help drive customer satisfaction with mobile Internet. 3G networks perform up to six times faster on data throughputs used for mobile Internet than 2G and 2.5G networks.
  • Yahoo! Mail is the most popular mobile website in the US, with 14 million unique visitors per month, as of May 2008
  • Mobile Internet provides audience “lift”—added reach over home PC traffic, at an average of 13% for leading mobile websites in the US
  • As mobile Internet publishers build out an advertising inventory, advertising is becoming a common part of the mobile Internet experience: 26 percent of mobile Internet users recall seeing some form of advertising while using the mobile Internet.  Mobile Internet users are 60% more likely to be open to mobile advertising than the average mobile data user.


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