MARKETERS: BRACE YOURSELF FOR THE IPHONE PHENOMENONIt’s official and well and truly anticipated. The iPhone will be hitting Australian shores later this year, with two of the big service providers (Optus and Vodafone) recently announcing their agreements to support and resell the groundbreaking device.
If the iPhone follows in its older cousin’s (the iPod) footsteps as expected, we can soon expect relatively wide spread, wide screen and wide band internet access in the hip pockets of technology enthusiasts and willing consumers. This will really cement the ‘third screen’ mobile device as an important marketing and communications channel, and I expect will supercharge mobile marketing initiatives across Australia.
Not only is the iphone a mobile, pocket size, broadband internet device, it also provides an application platform upon which savvy marketers can build innovative, value adding brand interaction experiences.
Make no mistake about the opportunities that such a platform represents and the value of getting your message into the hands of media hungry, affluent iPhone consumers.
The simple presence of the iPhone will undoubtedly increase consumer appetite for handheld media consumption and prompt competing products to rapidly hit the market. So perhaps it’s time to review your marketing and communications channel mix, is there room to add mobile? I expect some amazing iPhone targeted marketing campaigns and applications to be launched soon after the Australian release.
Even if you aren’t ready to embark on a mobile channel specific plan, those of you already engaged in email and online marketing should pay attention to this new browsing platform. It is only natural to assume that shortly there will be a number of your customers consuming your emails or browsing your website through the iPhone while out and about and on the go. iPhone (and, I expect similar device) browsing is a little different to desktop browsing so it will pay to ensure you provide your iPhone friends with an optimized experience.
In fact, recent studies have suggested that carefully adapting your email program for mobile platforms such as the iPhone will lead to higher a ROI. A report in DigiTimes suggests that current iPhone users spend 10.4% of there device engagement time on email compared with 2.8% for all other mobile phone users. Internet use is 12.1% of the time spent on the iPhone compared with 2.4% on other mobiles.
So what are some things to start thinking about now to become iPhone ready?
For websites, two big considerations need to be taken into account; the iPhone’s lack of support for Flash, and its reduced processing power compared to desktops. While the web browser is Safari, it won’t necessarily render your website the same way as Safari on Windows or OS X, so testing on the platform is a must. Because of the smaller screen, a user will be doing a lot of zooming in and out to consume your web content, so you’ll need to test your site’s usability in this regard.
Email marketers are likely to be the big beneficiaries of the new platform. HTML is supported, images are displayed by default, and even iFrames work which would allow dynamic or time sensitive content to be loaded and displayed in the email. Certainly the iPhone will become another critical email testing platform for your HTML email campaigns (along with Outlook and the various Web Mail platforms) and optimizing your design and the positioning of the call to action for the iPhone may also have positive outcomes.
With a simple strategy to optimize your current digital communication initiatives for the iPhone, you can take advantage of the growing audience ready to engage with your brand through the device. In a future edition of THE ORANGE, and following our own extensive experimentation and testing, Enso Consultancy will outline some specific steps you can take to leverage the iPhone audience.