Smartphone life shakes up website world

Jun 10, 2013 by Glenn Chapman
A man uses a smartphone on June 5, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Internet giants from Google and Facebook to Yahoo and Zynga are scrambling to adapt to an online world where people reach for smartphones or tablets instead of traditional computers.

Internet giants from Google and Facebook to Yahoo and Zynga are scrambling to adapt to an online world where people reach for smartphones or tablets instead of traditional computers.

pioneer Zynga, which rose to stardom making titles played at 's website, is cutting nearly a fifth of its staff as part of a move to focus on titles for .

After taking over as chief executive at Yahoo last year, former executive Marissa Mayer laid out a turn-around strategy that made a priority of tailoring offerings to smartphones and tablets.

The dismal performance of Facebook's freshly-launched stock last year was blamed in large part on fears that it lacked tools to cash in on members who are increasingly accessing the social network from mobile devices.

Google has proved prescient by creating and giving away an Android mobile operating system that showcases its software and services on smartphones and tablets.

Even the Mountain View, California-based technology titan's seemingly offbeat "big bets" on Internet-linked Glass eyewear and Web-connected self-driving cars are seen by some analysts as shrewd moves to remain anchored in lifestyles.

"The head-mounted display makes the mobile user much more valuable because you can serve ads as they are walking and make them location-based," independent analyst said of Glass.

"With self-driving cars, the dashboard is a huge tablet; if the car is driving and someone is bored, you can serve up whatever you want."

Companies that staked claims with websites visited by people using desktop or risk obsolescence if they don't adapt to Internet users switching to apps on smartphones or tablets.

Industry data shows that people are moving "aggressively" to apps and away from traditional websites, according to Gartner analyst Van Baker.

"It is important to cater to that ," Baker told AFP. "That is the in the market right now; the one device a person carries everywhere—the smartphone."

Not only are the devices preferred by changing, so is their behavior.

Gartner research shows that people using smartphones access the Internet an average of 20 times a day with sessions lasting about a minute, compared with four times daily for about 35 minutes a pop on traditional computers.

"It is a big challenge, because the behavior associated with a is dramatically different from a notebook computer," Baker said.

"Your experience needs to be two clicks deep and be done in a minute," he continued. "If it takes any longer, they are gone."

Smartphones in particular have small screens, raising the risk of people being annoyed by advertising.

Mobile devices also allow location, calendar information and other contextual data to be woven into services to win people over with desirable information at just the right moments and places.

"The opportunity to be relevant or helpful is much greater because of the contextual information," said Forrester analyst Charles Golvin.

"If you interrupt me and adopt the old get-in-your-face approach of many marketers, you are much more likely to sour any potential relationship."

Internet companies don't have the luxury of focusing on either mobile devices or traditional computers; they must tailor offerings for both, according to analysts.

"Mobile first is correct, but it is not mobile only," Golvin said.

"You need to enable your customers to reach you where and when they choose to and on the device that happens to be in their hand at that moment."

Established Internet companies tend to be well-positioned to adapt to engaging people on mobile devices.

"The fundamentals of delivering your experience digitally are still there at the core whether it is going to a PC or a browser or to a mobile device," Golvin said, referring to established operations such as Facebook and Yahoo.

"It is less of a disruption than it is a transition."

However, the ability to bypass running websites makes it easier for startups to blaze into the market with mobile apps.

Zynga faces the added challenge of being in a hits-drive business in a world where loyalty to apps is fleeting.

Most of the people who download a mobile app at launch abandon it within three months, according to Gartner.

"The life of 'Draw Something' or 'Farmville' can be even more compressed in the mobile world," Golvin said, referring to Zynga titles.

"A game is a hit, people engage and then the next hit comes along and takes up their time."

Explore further: Baidu profit up 34 percent as mobile service grows

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook buys mobile app builder Parse

Apr 26, 2013

Facebook said it was buying a startup specializing in powering mobile applications as part of its drive to make the social network friendlier to smartphones and tablet computers.

Zynga shares tumble to fresh low on Facebook fears

Jun 12, 2012

Shares of the social media games maker Zynga plunged more than 10 percent Tuesday after an analyst note highlighted concerns about the impact on the firm of a shift to mobile Internet.

Facebook Home features spread to iPhones

Apr 16, 2013

Facebook said Tuesday that features from its new Home software for Android-powered smartphones will begin spreading this week to Apple's popular iPhones.

PC market losing more ground to tablets

Apr 04, 2013

Sales of traditional desktop and mobile personal computers are expected to drop 7.6 percent this year as consumers shift to tablets and other devices, a market tracker said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Report: China to declare Qualcomm a monopoly

10 hours ago

(AP)—Chinese regulators have concluded Qualcomm Inc., one of the biggest makers of chips used in mobile devices, has a monopoly, a government newspaper reported Friday.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alfie_null
not rated yet Jun 10, 2013
Kind of depressing reading of this huge effort to shoehorn ads into phones. Or otherwise inject them into what people are doing.
BSD
1 / 5 (3) Jun 10, 2013
Ya-who? is dead, Mayer knows it. Pity the shareholders don't.

No use putting ads into phones, my eye sight isn't good enough to read them anyway.