Communications regulator Ofcom reports says the UK is now ‘a smartphone society’
The UK communications regulator Ofcom today released a report that shows that consumers now are using smartphones more often to access the Internet than laptops, crediting wider use of 4G for the gain.
“Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report finds that a third (33%) of internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, compared to 30 percent who are still sticking with their laptop,” the report’s authors say. “The rise in smartphone surfing marks a clear shift since 2014, when just 22 percent turned to their phone first, and 40 percent preferred their laptop.”
Ofcom puts the credit on wider availability of 4G data connections, the faster speed allowing for more online shopping and other Internet activities. But the regulator would like to see more availability for indoor 4G.
“Today, indoor 2G mobile voice coverage reaches 98% of people’s homes and offices. But that still leaves 2%, or half a million premises, without a signal,” the report states.
“Ofcom wants to see the widest possible availability of communications services and is considering what further options might be available to improve coverage, both mobile and fixed-line broadband, as part of the Digital Communications Review.”
The UK-based digital publishing platform Pugpig jumped on the report by sending out a release concerning smartphones and how publishers can reach readers through apps.
(You can learn more the Pugpig’s platform in the interactive eBook Guide to Digital Publishing Platforms.)
Here is the Pugpig release:
New Ofcom report says ‘smartphones are device of choice’, but what does this mean for brand and content owners?
London, England – August 6, 2015 — UK communications regulator Ofcom released their 2015 Communications Market Report today, stating that smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online – results which would suggest that the market for mobile apps is bigger than ever.
With a 65% rise in smartphone ownership in the UK since 2012, 33% of internet users now see their smartphone as the most important device for going online. For many of us, this information is no surprise, with mobile web adoption having grown eight times faster than desktop web adoption did in the 1990s and early 2000s. However, these latest findings reiterate the importance to brands and content owners, of having a mobile optimised website as well as potentially an app to drive further engagement.
But how do you decide whether you need an app, or if a mobile website is sufficient? Ultimately, we think that websites and apps offer different things to users so it’s key to consider the following when deciding if you should create a new app.
1. Your audience
Where are your audience coming from? How do they want to consume your content and how would you like them to engage with it? If your audience is large and transient an optimised mobile website could be the answer. On the other hand, if you’re trying to attract a more targeted audience, or wanting to have your content available offline, an app would be a better fit. But it’s not all up to you – Newsstands and app stores can help to promote your content to new audiences and ultimately build your customer base. Combine this with engagement features like deep-linking push notifications, ‘Today’ widgets, badges and background loading, you can increase the chances that your audience keep checking the app and coming back for more.
2. How do you want to publish your content?
Is your content fast moving or more long form? Does it have a long shelf life? Answering these questions will help you see if an app is more suited to your content, or if indeed a mobile optimised website is the right approach. Content that is continually updating is well suited to a website, and edition based content (with a start and finish) is more suited to an app. Having said that, there is a trend within the publishing industry at the moment of creating apps with a continuous style of publishing. Titles such as Retail Week and Health Service Journal publish content as soon as it’s ready, meaning users have access to the latest news and analysis wherever they are.
3. How will I make my money?
Do you want to offer subscriptions and paid-for single editions, or do you want your content to be available for free? What advertising opportunities do you want to offer? It’s hard to take money for content, so you shouldn’t be surprised when free content online performs better than paid content in apps. But it’s not impossible, The Week for example has over 26,000 fully paid weekly subscribers. And of course, your app could be free, Stylist magazine has more than 29,000 edition downloads per week. Apps also provide new opportunities for advertising. Full-page interactive ads, algorithmic interstitials, and splash screens all offer an alternative to the well understood web-based CPM model.
4. Do you want to go native?
Are you promoting events and activities? Does your content contain audio? Would tapping into the native elements of a mobile device be beneficial to your content? Whether you’re promoting a gig in London, or a conference in Berlin, allowing your users to seamlessly add the event to the native calendar on the device can help to ensure the success of that event. That seamless experience is also important when listening to audio or writing an email. By tapping into the features of the device, it means you can ensure an excellent user experience whilst they interact with your content.
So what’s the answer?
We believe that the two models sit well together, but as a content owner you need to be clear about which product does what for your users as well as your advertisers. If your website is powered by a CMS, then there’s not much additional workload required to repurpose your app content for your website, and visa versa. We think it ultimately comes down to offline reading and native user experience, and if these are things you want, then an app is the way forward.