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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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June 4, 2013

Why Travel Marketers Must Think Mobile Right Now (Travel Tuesday)

June 4, 2013 | By | One Comment

Mobile experiences will get betterI feel like I’ve been beating this to death lately, but for all the talk about how big mobile’s going to be, its ridiculous growth rates, and what it will do to your conversion rates, I don’t know that I’ve ever said why it’s so important (apart from the obvious reasons, of course).

So, here’s why.

Today, mobile represents 15%-20% of web traffic for many travel businesses (revenue/sales data is a bit harder to come by, though Booking.com has shared that its 2012 mobile booking revenue tripled from $1 billion in 2011 to $3 billion last year).

That share is growing. Even Google has said, “all the growth currently being seen [in travel search] is from mobile and tablet.”

And, today, the mobile experience your customers face is, well, generally pretty crappy.

No. Really.

But here’s the thing. It’s not going to stay crappy. Lots of very smart people are out there, right now, working hard to improve that customer experience. Some of those folks are your competitors.

They’re doing this work at the same time that mobile continues to steal share from “traditional e-commerce.” Sadly, that 15%-20% isn’t all additive. Sure, some is. But not all of it (and, don’t forget, it’s not going to be 15%-20% a year or two from now).

Now, pretty soon, one of those very smart people is going to get the mobile experience just right.

So, you’ve got an emerging channel, representing an increasingly large share of your business, that also presents a ripe opportunity for someone to come in and swipe your customers. Sure, maybe only 15%-20% of your customers, but, still…

When you put it that way, it seems like something really worth paying more attention to, doesn’t it?

Because, you can be sure, that’s exactly what Google is doing. And intermediaries. And anyone else with a vested interest in getting between you and your customer.

Now, if any of this sounds familiar, it should. We all just watched the exact same movie over the last decade-plus with the Internet. History, in fact, repeats every once in a while. The difference here is, you know how it played out the last time and probably don’t want to go through the exact same experience again.

And that’s why mobile matters so much.

Interested in learning more about multi-screen, multi-channel marketing for hospitality — as well as lessons that apply to a host of other industries? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” You can get your free copy of the report here or use the form below to receive yours today.


And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of mobile, including:

Tim Peter

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June 3, 2013

Are Mary Meeker's Projections for Mobile Growth Dead Wrong?

June 3, 2013 | By | 3 Comments

I’ve spent a lot of time this week talking about the latest “state of the Internet” report from Mary Meeker with its mind-blowing statistics about the growth of the Internet generally, and mobile specifically.

But, as often happens, some are suggesting that Meeker is wrong. Very wrong. The surprising bit is these critics think Meeker’s projections are too conservative. As E-commerce Times notes:

“Meeker’s projected numbers for the increase in mobile traffic are too conservative, said James Lamberti, general manager and vice president of AdTruth.

‘Not only are we seeing a tremendous growth in mobile phones, but as she noted, tablets are also growing like wildfire, roughly three times faster than the iPhone…'”

OK, I don’t want to bash Mr. Lamberti, but he’s making a (potentially) huge mistake here: Assuming tablets are mobile.

Typically tablets are replacing desktops and laptops — outselling both in Q4 of last year (see the chart below).

Tablet growth is ridiculous

But as I mentioned the other day, in practice, most customers don’t use their tablets outside the home.

Tablets aren’t desktops or laptops; they’re “couch computers,” a second screen your customers use while consuming other media. That’s not to say tablets aren’t a huge change in customer behavior (constant connection, mullti-device consumption, etc.) But they’re not mobile in the most meaningful sense of the word.

Of course, that still doesn’t answer the question as to whether Meeker is wrong. The answer to that reminds me of an old Bill Gates quote I mentioned on yesterday’s podcast:

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”

Gates couldn’t be more right. And there’s a good reason for this. The changes we’re seeing in the marketplace are driven by Moore’s Law, an understanding that computing power roughly doubles every 18 months. So the computing devices we’ll see in the next 18 months — mobile phones, tablets, wearables like Google Glass, etc. — will be twice as powerful at the end of 2014 as the devices we’re dealing with today. That’s not that hard to get your head around. (An alternative approach is to think that the tech you’re buying today will cost half as much in that same period).

So the problem isn’t the near-term. Many people look at how far we’ve come over the last 5-10 years and say, “OMG! You won’t believe where we’ll be in just the next year or two!” (To be fair, I may have done that myself once or twice).

But, that exponential growth really kicks into high gear when you look out 5-10 years. The doubling effect of Moore’s Law means that the devices 5 years from now will be 10 times as powerful as today (or 1/10th the price), while those 10 years from now will be 100 times powerful.

And that’s a hard reality to wrap your head around. Picture a Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5 selling for $5-$10. Picture one of the current iPads selling for eight or nine bucks. If you think I’m crazy, just remember that the best-selling “smartphone” in 2003 was the $600 Nokia 6600, a powerful device with Bluetooth, streaming video and audio, and the first camera phone to sell over 1 million units (cheaper phones existed, but they couldn’t do much).

If you’re curious, this technological marvel looked like this:

Nokia 6600

OK. Now imagine what you you’ll be able to buy a decade from now for $250, $500, $1000.

Tough to do, isn’t it?

So Meeker’s short-term projections may be off a bit. They may be a little bit optimistic or they may be conservative.

But the long-term picture blows my mind. Continually. We’re only now beginning to see how constant connectivity and instant access to information changes customer behavior. One thing that doesn’t seem to be happening is for that shift to slow down. Quite the contrary, in fact.

So I’m going to give Ms. Meeker the benefit of the doubt on this one. Your customers are snapping up mobile devices like they’re free candy. They’re expecting your site, your marketing, and your message to work from them across screens and across devices. And they’re only getting more accustomed to that reality. If Meeker’s numbers turn out to be a shade aggressive time-wise, you’re likely not too far ahead of the game given how many people already rely on mobile and tablets.

And if Meeker is too conservative? Well, brace yourself as the world turns upside down again.

Interested in learning more? Register to receive a free copy of my new special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals. And, if that’s not enough, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web, including:

Tim Peter

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May 30, 2013

Tim Peter

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May 29, 2013

4 Amazing Global Internet Trends

May 29, 2013 | By | 3 Comments

Mary Meeker’s semi-annual report on the state of the Internet is out. And, wow, are there some serious takeaways worth reviewing. Here are the highlights:

Mobile’s on fire

Mobile now represents 15% of all Internet traffic — and its market penetration at only 21% globally. It’s at 31% annual growth and its trend line continues to accelerate. I’ve been bullish on mobile for a while. This is why:

15% mobile traffic growth and accelerating

And “wearables,” “drivables,” “flyables,” and “scannables” may change the game further — each generation of technology, historically, increases the number of users by a factor of 10:

Technology shifts drive 10x increase in use

Tablet growth is sick

I don’t know any other word for it. Check out the orange trend line:

Tablet growth is ridiculous

Obviously, not all tablet usage is mobile. I’ve said many times that mobile is a situation, not a device. But your customers’ experience will continue to rely on “touch” and voice experiences at the expense of the keyboard-and-mouse world we’ve taken for granted over the years.

Sharing is big and getting bigger

There’s big growth in consumer sharing, both in terms of percentages and in terms of the channels your customers use. As I noted yesterday, this trend will likely increase the number of places your customers shop and push conversion rates lower. The positive, though, is that it increases opportunities to reach customers and gets your existing audience to tell your story. So, there is that:

Sharing is big, getting bigger

The visual web

I’ve talked about how the web is increasingly visual before. But the numbers boggle my mind, with more than 500 million photos uploaded daily and more than 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute:

Daily photo uploads

100 hours of YouTube video uploaded each minute

There’s tons of good stuff I’m leaving out here, of course, including the importance of global growth (especially China), the changing market for entrepreneurs, and lots more. You can (and should) review the whole presentation here:

Interested in learning more? Register to receive a free copy of my new special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals. And, if that’s not enough, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web, including:

Tim Peter

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May 24, 2013

Nothing Bigger Than Mobile Internet

May 24, 2013 | By | No Comments

Mobile enoughThe Washington Post has a look at new data from the McKinsey Global Institute. The big takeaway?

“McKinsey folks believe that the most economically significant technologies over the next decade-plus will be those already well underway in their development — the mobile Internet, largely in place in the advanced world and rapidly growing in emerging markets; the automation of knowledge work, things such as computerized voices that can handle many customer service calls; the “Internet of things,” such as embedding sensors in physical objects to monitor the flow of products through a factory; and cloud computing. Each of these areas of innovation, in the McKinsey telling, will be worth north of $1 trillion to the world economy by 2025, even on the low side of their range.”

Not a shocker, really. You can read the whole write-up here.

Now, I’ve been talking a lot about the automation of knowledge work this week and have been relatively bullish on mobile for some time. But, it’s increasingly obvious that we’re really just at the beginning of the Internet revolution. Ought to be fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about this, register to receive a free copy of my new special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals. And, if that’s not enough, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web, including: