Monday, May 12, 2008

Small screen, big change

What's the single biggest threat to the way we use the web today? Our cell phones and PDAs, which continue to steal screen time away from our laptops and desktops. There are several reasons for this--our increasing reliance on our cell phones, an increasing shift in preference from e-mail to instant messaging, our changing web-surfing habits--but the cumulative impact is a change in the way content is being packaged and delivered. That's the larger context behind a recent Business Week article about how the mobile web means less ad inventory on Google and elsewhere:

Google can fit about 10 ads on a standard computer screen. (If you look at Google search results on a PC monitor, paid ads are the listings at the very top and along the right.) But on your cell phone, if you type in a search query at you get only one or two paid ads in response.

Imagine the horror that would befall your business if a large slice of what you sell suddenly disappeared. A similar fate could befall companies that depend on online advertising, as small screens become the gateway to the Internet.
Even if you don't host ads, how well does your site translate to the mobile web environment? As more visitors to your site surf from their phones, it's worth thinking about.

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