According to Chinese astrology, 2013 is the Year of the Snake. As a true geek, I believe that 2013 is the Year of the Mobile. Many of us are eager to know whether mobile publishing will have better luck in the forthcoming year than previous years. Since the traditional ancient astrology Five Element (metal, water, wood, fire, and earth) theory doesn't have much to offer on this particular subject, I'll use my own theories and observations to predict and foresee what will happen in 2013.
Smartphones and tablets are no longer in their infancy; they are powerful computers in our pockets and purses. Cellular networks are faster than ever and free Wi-Fi networks have covered more and more areas in recent years. Mobile Internet is no longer used by a handful of techies and other early adopters; its adoption has been quite dramatic. 2013 promises to be even bigger. I predict that mobile adoption among the publishing consumers, publishers, and advertisers will continue to rise. On the other hand, Apple iOS and Android-based devices will continue to dominate smartphone and tablet markets. Unfortunately, Apple development will become increasingly complex due to fragmentation of its leading operating systems between the iOS 5 and 6 devices. Variety of screen sizes and resolutions for iPad 2, iPad, iPad Mini, as well as iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 could make it a lot more technologically challenging and expensive to create consistent end-user experiences across all Apple mobile devices.
Android-focused development efforts could become even more complicated since smartphone manufacturers have their own versions of the Android operating system. The Android portfolio of screen sizes and resolutions is going to become even more diverse. Therefore, most mobile publishers will experience a mix of good and bad fortune. In other words, if responsive design is not your favorite element, then you should keep a distance from mobile publishing in 2013. If it is, you will build a website once that will work seamlessly across thousands of different screens, resolutions, or versions of operating systems. For publishers, it offers the simplest way to reach readers across multiple devices. For their users, it ensures a great experience on every screen.
Gartner predicts that mobile ads will collectively bring in over $11 billion in revenue by the end of this year. The company also predicts that mobile Internet use will surpass legacy PC browser-based Internet use by the end of 2013. Unfortunately, while mobile advertising is slowly gaining serious ground, most publishers aren't able to monetize their mobile inventory as effectively as their traditional web properties. In other words, since PC and mobile ads are opposite elements, publishers' fortune may start to change its direction for worse should we see strong signs of the above trend.
Based on Pew Research Center's findings, over 50 percent of consumers who use tablets prefer reading media site content via the mobile web instead of an app version of the same property. While commonly viewed as a form of mobile devices in recent years, the use of tablets and PC browsers will become more and more interchangeable for most consumers in 2013. As such, I predict that a lot of publishers will not only shift their focus from apps to mobile websites but also won't be including tablets in their mobile strategy.
Last but not least, I'm predicting that a significantly increasing number of consumers won't use their smartphones and tablets interchangeably. An increasing number of consumers will limit their smartphone use to a handful of very basic operations like: simple searches or discoveries, uploading pictures they just took, price comparisons, etc. At the same time, demands for local content among advertisers as well as publishers' ability to monetize it in a very lucrative fashion will continue to be on the rise. As such, I predict that more "local" publishers or publishers with local content will be shifting their focus to mobile-optimized solutions at a greater pace. I also predict that a great number of them will be either creating or enhancing their location-enabled web features and content in 2013. In other words, if your lucky element is "local," then your fortune will begin to take off at a greater speed.
Before predicting your own "mobile" luck in 2013, you have to know what type of element your site is and what lucky "mobile" elements could be major factors in determining your mobile's fortune. Here's to the Year of the Mobile!
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As Chief Technology Officer, Alex Godelman is responsible for championing Evolve's technical vision and leading all aspects of the company's technology functions. Additionally, he oversees the successful execution of the company's business mission through development, deployment, and operation of the company's Internet Media properties and presence.
Alex provides nearly 20 years of executive management experience in e-commerce, commercial software development, and online media. He has a proven track record in formulating and executing technology plans for rapidly growing Internet and high tech companies. Before coming to Evolve, he was a part of the senior management team at Shopzilla, the world leader in comparison shopping search; CIO at Diskeeper Corporation, a leading software manufacturer; Executive Director of Technology for the B3 division of Time Warner responsible for numerous TW and WEA music labels; Senior Director of IS&T for the Maxis division of Electronic Arts, makers of Sims Online. Prior to these, he also served as CIO of Otis and Director of Technology for WoltersKluwers, responsible for delivery of their two largest online brands, GlobalFx and CompleTax. Alex is very active in Open Source, Agile and Internet communities, serves on the board of advisors of several technology companies, and has recently been awarded the 2010 CIO Rock Star Award from Los Angeles chapter of TechExecs. Alex is certified in Lean and Scrum (CSM, CSP, and CSPO) and holds a graduate degree in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from Universitatea de Stat din Moldova.
March 19, 2014