Google Survey Says Marketers Should be Ga-Ga for Smartphone Growth

Google has released a whitepaper with some interesting stats about smartphone users. They surveyed 5,013 adults between the ages of 18 and 64 who are smartphone users. While the survey is US based, I think there’s still some good insight to be had for European marketers.

People use smartphones just about everywhere. They travel with them from home to office to school and even at the doctor’s. In fact, 93% of respondents use one at home, while 87% have it with them on the go, be it commuting or just out for a walk. You’ll also be happy (but not likely surprised) that 77% have one with them when in a store (seeing images of fish in a barrel are you?). The power of the smartphone is that it’s as personal as any tech device can be and travels with us wherever we go. We don’t go to it. It comes with us.

The smartphone is a pocket PC which allows us to access the power of computer technology, but doesn’t tie us to a desk. When asked how they had used the smartphone in the past week (excluding calls), 81% had browsed the internet, 77% used a search engine, 68% had used an app and 48% had watched a video on the phone. Multiple channels being accessed from once platform and that platform travels with the consumer.

From walking the dog to taking a bath, the smartphone goes where we go. 59% of respondents use theirs while waiting in line (now there’s a captive audience), 39% won’t even put one down to use the bathroom and 8% are even on one when they’re taking a bath or shower. I don’t pretend to know how one would use a smartphone in the shower, but I won’t be surprised if some manufacturer offers a waterproof phone-on-a-rope model which lathers up, just to make that more practical.

How important are smartphones to us? Consider that 43% of respondents were willing to trade beer for internet usage on a smartphone. And when 34% of Americans state they’ll trade Superbowl tickets, well you know these things are pretty important to them!

The number one reason for using a smartphone was staying connected according to 89% of the respondents. How are they staying connected? There’s good news here for email marketers because email came in first with 82% while social networking sites were at 63%.

People are using their smartphones for information with search engine sites coming in number one at 77%, social networking sites second with 65% and 46% on retail sites.

Finally, one stat which should get your attention is that according to this survey, nine out of ten searchers have taken action as a result of a smartphone search.

Smartphones are shaking up online marketing. You’ve got a device which allows the marketer to reach people via multiple channels on one platform – a platform which travels with people and doesn’t insist that people come to it. That’s a tectonic shift in technology which has far reaching implications.

If you’re a marketer and you aren’t thinking about mobile and smartphones; you aren’t thinking smart.