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Mobile-friendly Web content explodes as number of mobile sites exceeds 3M

The rate of global mobile Web content growth over two years has outpaced the growth of the desktop Internet over that same period, according to dotMobi?s Mobile Web Progress study.

DotMobi?s  third annual study on mobile Web trends examined Web sites available via the world?s most-used global top-level Internet domains: .com, .net, .org, .info and .mobi. The 2010 study demonstrates that the mobile Web is continuing its explosive global growth.

The 2008 study showed 150,000 mobile-ready websites, while the 2010 study showed approximately 3.01 million sites, representing an incredible two-year growth of more than 2,000 percent. And that growth level significantly outpaces early desktop growth.

Web analysts Netcraft found that, between 1996 and 1998, the size of the desktop Web grew from 150,000 sites to  million sites, a growth rate of 1,333 percent, compared to the mobile Web?s 2,000 percent growth in the equivalent timeframe.

Mobile Marketer?s Dan Butcher interviewed Trey Harvin, CEO of dotMobi, Dublin, Ireland. Here is what he had to say: 

What is the key finding of the study?
The key finding of the study is that mobile Web growth is significantly outpacing early desktop growth during an equivalent time period.

Our 2008 ?Mobile Web Progress? study showed 150,000 mobile-ready Web sites, while the 2010 study showed approximately 3.01 million sites.

That?s a two-year growth of more than 2,000 percent.

In 1996, there were 150,000 desktop Web sites. Two years later, there were 2.0 million sites, a growth rate of only 1,333 percent compared to the mobile Web?s 2,000 percent growth.

What is the most surprising finding, and why?
The finding that surprised me the most?both negatively and positively?is that 40.1 percent of all sites in the Alexa top 1,000 sites are mobile-friendly.

These sites represent the world?s most popular Web properties, like Google and Facebook.

While 40 percent is a strong number, for the weight these sites carry on the Internet, I expected the total number of sites that have mobile-friendly equivalents to be much higher.

Smartphones are getting more and more powerful, but the screens aren?t getting bigger and bigger?and I?m including the iPad here?and the needs of on-the-go users aren?t changing.

But the use of mobile Web is growing and I expect much more of the Alexa 1,000 to go mobile over the coming year.

Mobile is how users are now looking for their favorite businesses?the biggest Web brands need to be ready for that traffic and to provide a unique mobile experience.

What advice can you give to brands/marketers and retailers/merchants based on your findings?
?Are we going mobile?? shouldn?t be the question to ask. ?How are we going mobile?? is the question.

As the marketplace for apps becomes more and more fractured with competing operating systems and handsets, the first step onto the mobile Web that any business should take is to look at a mobile website rather than an application.

To help businesses with that, dotMobi recently launched goMobi, the world?s first mobile content platform to help businesses of all sizes easily, quickly and completely publish mobile Web content at a low cost, with hosting included.

GoMobi is designed with an understanding of what mobile users need from a business and, in turn, lets businesses deliver content in a format that works on any mobile phone, not just iPhones and Androids.

What is driving growth in mobile Web adoption?
More than anything, simple consumer awareness is driving the growth of the mobile Web. As dotMobi suggested when the iPhone was first announced, the amount of advertising Apple and AT&T put into the iPhone brought an awareness that the Web was possible on a mobile phone.

Of course, consumers could do that for years but device manufacturers and carriers were promoting voice services, not data.

As data began to be promoted, the mobile Web increased in popularity ...  at least applications did?at first.

Now that brands are looking at ways to best spending their market dollars, they?re finding that mobile Web sites make more financial and technological sense in terms of reach than applications do.

The evolution to the mobile Web mirrors that of the desktop Internet: from walled gardens such as AOL to applications such as proprietary desktop software to Web-based solutions such as Google.
What are best practices for integrating a mobile Web site into a company?s overall marketing and/or commerce strategy?
Each company needs to understand that the mobile Web is a unique medium, and has to understand what its customers want when they?re on the go.

Those two questions will help any business focus on what the mobile Web can do for them.

To help marketers and businesses think about how to approach these kinds of issues, dotMobi runs a free forum for marketing professionals called with dozens of articles, interviews and videos on best mobile practices.

Final Take