Defining mobile content is no easy task. It takes many shapes. Strictly speaking, mobile content is any form of media (pictures, music, text, videos) that can be used on a mobile device, such as a cell phone or tablet. From that song you just downloaded in iTunes to your favorite ebook to Angry Birds, mobile content is everywhere.
Rising Demand for Mobile Content
The demand for mobile content will continue to grow as more mobile devices arrive on the market. Devices like the iPhone, iPad and Android devices have changed how consumers consume content. Improvements in device speeds have also contributed to an increase in demand for mobile content.
According to Delotte's "State of the Media Democracy" access drives demand: "As recently as 2009, only 28 percent of Americans reported streaming a movie; today, 42 percent report streaming." Meanwhile, "While only 23 percent of respondents preferred to be able to download their books, magazines and newspapers to a digital device in 2007, more than one-third of respondents (36 percent) now express interest in this option."
From January of 2010 to January of 2011, sales of adult ebooks rose almost 50% to $99 million dollars. Companies such as Amazon have started streaming audio books directly to smart phones and tablets although the verdict is still out as to whether those efforts will be successful.
It's pretty clear that mobile gaming, however, has been a success. The increased popularity of mobile games has significantly decreased the market share for videogame maker Nintendo's DS, the leader in portable gaming.
Mobile Optimized Sites vs. Mobile-Native Content
One of the biggest struggles for companies wrestling with mobile is deciding whether it's best to invest in mobile optimized sites or mobile-native content, such as apps. The proliferation of devices can make it difficult for a company to keep up with designing apps for each individual smartphone or tablet. So many choose, instead, to invest in creating mobile optimized websites.
Thanks to advancing technology like HTML5 some think the age of the app is coming to an end. According to Alex Kutsishin, president of FiddleFly, "Mobile-optimized sites, when constructed properly, now offer all the convenience of native apps, without any of the unnecessary complications." Of course, many people still turn to their apps for everything from the latest news to directions.
How to Monetize Mobile Content
According to Forbes, a key component to monetizing mobile content is selling apps. But selling apps for $1.99 a piece, there are other ways to make apps profitable. For instance, Starbucks launched the company's app in January 2011 and twelve months later it was downloaded 26 million times and was used to reload Starbucks cards for $110 million dollars.
And there is always the old stand-by: selling ads. The market for mobile ads has been growing. It is predicted that by 2013, mobile marketing dollars will more than double, according to Econsultancy, from 2009 to over $2 billion a year. That's a number advertisers can't ignore.
For more information on how to mobilize and monetize your content, read "A Guide to Mobilizing Your Content: Which App Solution Is Right for You?"