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Smartphones for everyone! $100 phones, $30 plans, and abundant free Wi-Fi.
This may mean very little to you directly -- lawyers, it seems, are Apple addicts, and there's no way Apple would ever make a $100 (off-contract) phone. But the implications for advertising, finding clients, and the like are massive.
Why? We've already seen a surge in mobile Internet traffic. More and more people are using their phones as their primary means of surfing the web, finding restaurants and services, and more importantly, finding lawyers. And with an influx of uber-cheap phones from Motorola, Alcatel, and others, the trend is only going to become more pronounced.
Mobile First Users
For those of us that spend our entire day in front of a computer, the idea of someone relying solely on a smartphone for internet access is strange. But for many people, especially students and blue collar workers, their phone is their Internet. Social networking, sports news, everything that doesn't involve typing lengthy documents, are increasingly being primarily through phones on the go.
Like numbers? In Q1 2014, desktops accounted for 70 percent of web traffic, while phone and tablet traffic rose to a combined 30 percent. The trend line is even more impressive:
Wired ran a great article last week, "Don't Diss Cheap Smartphones. They're About to Change Everything." Why are these phones so revolutionary? Not only does the sub-$100 smartphone mean more users in developing countries, but more important for your purposes, it means the "three out of ten American consumers who couldn't previously afford a smartphone may be able to buy one this year (and next year, and the year after)."
Mobile First Marketing
What does this mean for you? It means your website needs to be mobile-friendly, preferably employing a responsive design that adjusts automatically for the size of the consumer's screen (phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop). It means mobile advertising is far more important than it was a few years ago and will be even more important in the coming years.
Online marketing is no longer a "slap up a free template-based webpage" game -- it's a find me an expert game.