You carry around a phone that cost hundreds of dollars, and more than a grand in service fees each year. No doubt, your phone is amazing in many ways, but there are too many content and functionality holes in need of a solution for it to truly rock.
When you search, for instance, something good better happen, or your investment in mobile technology loses a bit of its luster.
Natalie Wuchenich, writing on Search Engine Land, points to a new study that indicates 77.1 million mobile subscribers are accessing local business content across the U.S., up an astonishing 34% from a year ago.
The study found that among all mobile subscribers surveyed this year:
- 26% accessed weather, up 41% year-over-year
- 18% accessed maps, up 41% year-over-year
- 12% accessed movie information, up 32% year-over-year
- 10% accessed restaurant information, up 40% year-over-year
- 8% accessed business directories, up 26% year-over-year
- 8% accessed classifieds, up 51% year-over-year
There’s also a spike in the number of local mobile content users with GPS-capable devices, which grew to 87% from 76% last year. And 64% of local mobile content users own smartphones.
Local businesses should invest in building mobile-friendly websites so consumers can easily access their content in mobile browsers, Wuchenich concludes. Restaurants, for example, should prepare mobile-friendly menus and reservations tools.
Last week on AdPulp, I surveyed six local grocery stores. Only two had a mobile-optimized websites. Now, let’s look at local Portland-area restaurants: Higgins, Mother’s Bistro, Tasty and Sons, Buggati’s, Meet Cheese Bread and The Chart House.
Only one, Mother’s, has a mobile-optimized website. And The Chart House — the one national chain in the bunch — is requiring a flash plugin, which ain’t gonna happen. When you access The Chart House’s site via a laptop or desktop, the experience is just as bad–music starts blasting and the user has to search to quiet the unwanted intrusion.
To recap, seven million Americans are using their mobile handsets to retrieve restaurant information when they’re on the go. But from my random sampling, only one in six restaurants is mobile-ready. Clearly, this is a market opportunity for mobile developers and for agencies who work with small businesses. It’s also work that needs to be done. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call it a public works project.
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