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Mobile in Hong Kong - the numbersAre you wasting your marketing effort on Facebook? Should you spend more time on Yahoo? How many people actually use their mobile for shopping? How many would rather give up their TV than their smartphone?

Google’s “Our Mobile Planet” survey is an ongoing global effort commissioned by Google to gain insights into smartphone adoption and usage by consumers. The associated site is a goldmine for marketers allowing you to select your own criteria from country, year, consumer age, consumer gender and consumer behaviour.

Here are just 5 highlights from the survey.

1. People are getting more “mobile” with huge leaps in penetration, from 35.1% in 2011 to 62.8% in 2013 (HK).

Mobile in hk charts-02 500w
The pattern of increased usage is similar in the USA and the UK while China, unsurprisingly, lags slightly behind, but not that far! ( 35.4% in 2011 /46.9% in 2013)

What does this mean for marketers? If you haven’t already got a mobile-friendly website then now is the time to commission one. It’s important to realise that not having a mobile friendly site negatively impacts your site’s SEO, not to mention the user experience (which is pretty much one and the same). Similarly, you should review whether your email marketing is also mobile friendly. (Please talk to us about either of these subjects if you want to know more.)

2. People largely use mobile for play, but research and even shopping have an increasing role.

Activities carried out on Smartphone in the last 7 days (HK, 2013)
Note that 45% of users looked up directions or used a map from their smartphone so if your business has a physical location visited by customers, be sure to at least have a mobile-friendly location map on your site.

In another section of the survey, participants were asked the main reason for not shopping online from their smartphone phones and the reason was security concerns. Whether this will be resolved remains to be seen.

3. Facebook is the clear winner when it comes to social media platforms used on smartphones.

Which are the most used social media platforms on mobile? (2013/HK)

You should pay attention to Facebook in your marketing mix. The result that did surprise me was Instagram which I had assumed to be far more popular in Hong Kong. Clearly, marketers should be focusing on Facebook and WeChat in Hong Kong! However, if you are selling in the US the picture is different with Twitter usage reaching 28% (Hong Kong 10%) and Pinterest sitting at 18% (Hong Kong 2%). Instagram is about the same. Note also that these  figures are for Mobile, but the survey also covers desktop and, apart from Instagram which is designed for mobile, the figures are not significantly different (+/- 3-5% or so).

4. Yahoo is still surprisingly popular in Hong Kong.

Search engine used on smartphone (2013/HK)
At a 78% take up, Google still gets marketers’ attention, and money is well spent on such things as Google AdWords (which will show up on Google search) and search engine optimisation as determined by Google. However, Yahoo is still very popular in Hong Kong at 63% (as compared to 20% in the US) so marketers should not ignore Bing/Yahoo and make sure your site is registered with all these search engines.

5. Don’t leave home without it!

Changing attitudes (2011-2013, HK)
As websites become more mobile friendly and companies design campaigns to target smartphone users, users will naturally use their smartphone increasingly for research and purchases, which will drive companies to focus more on mobile. It’s a perfect example of chicken and egg. Of course soon there will come a critical point when smartphones become our main tool for research and purchase. Make sure you don’t get left behind.

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Is your site mobile friendly?

Here’s a bit of fun. Use this Google tool to check your website. Click through to  enter your website URL to find out whether you are “Awesome” or not!

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