The boom in take-up of mobile networked devices should encourage companies to implement specifically mobile-oriented marketing strategies. However this calls for a tailored approach and more careful follow-up than a traditional Web campaign.

Interview with Philippe Leclercq, co-founder of AD4screen, on the sidelines of the SEMO trade show, which was running until 3 November at the Palais des Congrès in Paris.

L'Atelier: So what’s happened to bring about this mobile Internet boom?

Philippe Leclercq: What has changed in fact are the tools themselves. Smartphones and tablets enable you get on to the Web no matter where you happen to be, whereas previously you had to be at a fixed terminal. But in fact this is just the dawning of the mobile era.  In terms of usage, people are now taking the same hesitant baby-steps that they went through at the start of the Internet era.  By that I mean that people are really just using these mobile devices to get information, check their emails, look up the weather forecast, and nowadays to log on to Facebook as well. Which means that people aren’t yet making full use of their equipment. However, by 2014, web traffic generated by mobile users will have surpassed  traffic from fixed terminals. There are many reasons for the coming switchover. Most people will own a mobile networked device - almost half of all phones sold today are in fact smartphones -  they’ll be able to use them at any time or place, which is a much more convenient approach than using a fixed terminal, even if you’re at home.

What will that mean for businesses?

Given the expected growth in the market, it’s clear that businesses should now be setting up online platforms geared specifically to mobile users. If they don’t, an estimated 4 - 8 % of the traffic on any given site will be irretrievably lost. In fact most companies already know this perfectly well. But as I said a moment ago, we are now in the same situation as we had when the Internet first arrived: speed of action is going to make all the difference. Companies that react the fastest will get a head start on their rivals, who will sometimes find it impossible to catch up. Just as, in web terms, a good many companies still today enjoy a lead over their competitors that they first acquired in the early 2000s.

Mobile Internet success based on apps or customised site?

Structurally speaking, mobile Internet first and foremost means applications. In fact, 70% of all traffic is based on apps, so logically any company that wants to plant itself firmly in the market will need to develop its own apps. However, apps management differs fundamentally from traditional web management. In fact, while a website generates traffic just by the mere fact of its existence, users will never download an app unless encouraged to do so by a company.  And then, even once a brand has been successfully launched, if it wants to go on being referenced by the appstores – and so generate downloads and traffic – it will need to keep users constantly engaged, either via marketing campaigns or notifications. So what is needed here is a permanent monitoring exercise to measure brand satisfaction and brand impact. And unless you devote at least 50% of your development budget to your promotion campaign and are really effective in your communication, just building an app and hoping it will make your brand a big success is wishful thinking.