A recent report from domobi (the people behind .mobi, strangely), shows that there has been a 2000 % increase in mobile optimised sites since 2008. Given that at the height of the web explosion (1996-8) the two your growth was 1300%, it shows how quickly the mobile channel is moving. On the whole this is weighted to the most used sites: in Alexa’s rankings, 40% of the top 1000 sites are mobile friendly, including the likes of Google, Facebook and Yahoo. However, the next 1000 most popular sites, the mobile optimisation drops to just over 20% and continues to dwindle with the next 1000 sites. So, whilst the big boys are beginning to catch on, it would seem that smaller sites and brands are yet to understand the benefit of the mobile web.
This blog is to stake my claim as the originator of the Sofa Surfer. What is a Sofa Surfer? It started with the advent of the smartphone and the iphone in particular. With fast, easy access to the internet, users could quickly check their emails, update their Facebook status, send a Twitter message or just check IMDb to see who that actor was in the movie you’re watching. Studies, such as Orange’s Exposure 2 found that most mobile browsing was done at home, typically on the sofa watching the TV. Whilst there is evidence to support a number of people in front of the TV with their laptops on, that is not the same as the ‘quick dip’ of mobile browsing.
The appearance of tablet PCs and particularly the ipad will serve to develop this growing form of browsing. A survey by comScore found that most ipad users are interested in browsing and email, not necessarily the reading of ebooks that Apple et al are hoping for.
With these new browsing patterns comes the potential for a new media channel: Sofa Surfers are not out and about looking in shops, but by the same token they are not at the computer doing hardcore web browsing. They are relaxed and looking for entertainment. Will this be a route by which content providers and advertisers are looking to engage with customers? We’ll have to wait and see.