After reviewing the trends summarized in comScore’s 2012 Mobile Future in Focus report, readers may wonder why advertisers are taking so long to roll out their mobile campaigns. Smartphone use has moved well past the 50% penetration rate and analysts are calling tablets the fourth screen.  In their findings, comScore analysts say that mobile is here to stay but advertisers and publishers will need to heed “incremental effect” and “platform cannibalization.”

The incremental effect is all about the growing numbers of consumers who are looking for information in specific categories in the mobile universe. As this interest increases, advertisers can reach unduplicated audiences. Categories that are experiencing the largest jumps include:

  •  Health information +134%
  • Online retail +87%
  • Men’s magazine content +82%
  • Electronic payments +80%
  • Gaming info +77%
  • Job listings +74%

To reach these growing audiences, advertisers must rely on publishers who are scrambling to deliver content on rapidly shifting platforms. Now that price points are falling for tablet devices, widespread adoption is expected. It’s difficult to know whether the tablet will cannibalize the smartphone market. Both marketers and publishers  understand that while some cannibalization is unavoidable, mobile devices are often used in a complementary fashion. For example, on most weekend days, mobile phone and PC online traffic peaks between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. The same peak is noticeable on tablets but there’s another significant rise between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. for these tablets.  These small differences in the market will make a difference for businesses seeking to reach specific audiences. So publishers and content providers will be tracking these kinds of differences and positioning themselves as superior to the competition.

As this market heats up, comScore analysts say that the mobile ecosystem is no longer a battle. It has turned into a war. Marketers will have to constantly monitor new developments to keep from falling behind.

[Source: 2012 Mobile Future in Focus. comScore.com. Web. 9 Mar. 2012]