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Is the social, mobile web too small to care about?

How big is the social web going to be? What about the mobile web? The combination?

Frederic Lardinois points us to an “…almost silly” report projecting $3.3 billion in revenues for location-based social networks within 5 years. Frederic says, “…with a market that is barely establish[ed], trying to put a number on the potential success is almost silly.” I agree. But we also both agree that market opportunity exists. With over a quarter-billion mobile phones shipped each quarter, somebody’s got to be using them.

What’s holding the growth of the social networking on the mobile web back? Mike Moran thinks it’s the cost of data plans. I think it just hasn’t hit the tipping point yet. Well, that and the cost.

But, what can you do right now? Well, for one thing, despite all this, more and more of your customers do use the mobile web. And they are using it for the same things as the PC-based web: search (though more often map-based local search) and social networking. So, you should:

  • Make the most of maps. Customers frequently use mapping services on their mobile devices. Pay attention to how your business appears on those search results.
  • Look at location-based services. Sites like Yelp and Slifter – to say nothing of Google Maps and Yahoo Local – will likely play an increasing role in driving business to your site and your store.
  • Make use of mobile content. Sites like MoFuse make it easy to publish your content on mobile devices. I do. You can now read my blog on your mobile using MoFuse.

The mobile web is coming. And with it social sites, too. Local businesses – small businesses – have much to gain by getting in front of it. It may not be a $3 billion business yet, but waiting until it is may hurt you in the long run.

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Tim Peter

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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