Mobile web trudges forward

The fact that mobile Web users in the UK visit so few sites is evidence that the mobile Web still offers a very limited range of useful content, stated eMarketer, the research and analysis for digital marketing and media company. The company’s research states that there are not many worthwhile mobile websites to visit, and the user experience is not yet compelling enough to support long sessions browsing via mobile.

According to the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom), only 11% of UK mobile phone users polled had accessed the Internet via a mobile phone in July 2008.

So as companies look to create good mobile content to attract more eyeballs, marketers are thinking of ways to tie in advertising to the content. Not all things that work on the PC translate to mobile, but search and social networking are exceptions, claimed the company.

The business added that most advertising on UK mobile phones is still based on SMS and short code or barcode technologies, but marketers that are looking to capture more mobile audience share will centre their approach on mobile search. The proven value of PC-based online search is a strong indicator of how well search-related ads will do on mobile.

eMarketer said that mobile web advertising will gain ground in 2009, but financial constraints will prevent most UK advertisers from putting big money forward until audience numbers are much higher. Other areas such as mobile social networks will suffer, as neither the audience nor the marketing investment is there. Social networks, which are emerging as a breakthrough mobile Web experience and a big driver of mobile web adoption, are hard to monetise, it said.

Karin von Abrams, senior analyst and author of the report “UK Mobile Internet, said: “Video—mostly short form—will be big on the mobile Web, but Internet technology will never be the key to live TV viewing on mobile.”

“There is some live TV content available now, through broadcaster and operator deals that don’t involve the Net, but large-scale broadcasting of live TV to mobiles will arrive when the necessary broadcast spectrum is released in the UK, in 2012 or soon after,” she added.