As smartphones become more ubiquitous, the way people access the internet is shifting. The old practice of logging onto a desktop computer to connect to the internet seems relatively archaic in the new era of mobile accessibility. Nicknamed the Web 3.0, the mobile web refers to using the internet via a mobile or wireless connection on a handheld device.

The world has witnessed a dramatic shift from laptops to smartphones in the past couple of years, as people all over the world switch to using mobile devices as their main mode of internet connectivity. Indeed, Forbes went so far as to name 2015 the year of the mobile web.

For example, new data from Cisco reveals that mobile data traffic will grow eightfold between 2015 and 2020, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate of 53 percent. Even more revealing, global mobile data traffic will grow two times faster than fixed IP traffic during the same period. Therefore, the switch to the mobile web isn’t a passing fad. Instead, it represents the new frontier of internet use.

Using the mobile web
Whereas mobile devices were once used for brief internet surfing on the go, today they have emerged as the primary screen for most people. That means people are more likely to turn to their smartphone than a laptop or desktop computer. Cisco states that globally, mobile traffic will reach 30.5 exabytes per month by 2020, up from 3.7 exabytes in 2015. For reference, that’s the equivalent of watching 7,641 million DVDs each month.

The companies that are poised to succeed in this new epoch of internet usage are those that are capitalizing on the uniqueness of the mobile experience. Snapchat is perhaps the most quintessential example. Unlike its social media predecessors Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), which were designed to be used on desktop computers and fixed-line laptops, Snapchat has only ever existed as an app. Its $17-billion valuation (and constant >rumors that the company is headed for an IPO) illustrates the strength of its vision for the future.

Mobile marketing a key market for the mobile web
Snapchat’s value rests primarily in its ever-increasing advertising revenue. The strength of this model reveals another key feature of the mobile web: its revolutionary impact on marketing. New ways of collecting and organizing data have allowed targeted ads to supersede conventional forms of marketing, transforming companies’ means of generating user engagement and loyalty. This year, the global ad market is expected to surpass $100 billion, and for the first time in history, digital ads will account for more than half of all spending.

Companies like SITO Mobile (NASDAQ:SITO), Engagement Labs (TSXV:EL) and Perk.com (TSX:PER) are all small-cap players making a big impact in the field of mobile marketing. For example, SITO’s share price has seen a 14.91-percent increase this year so far, while Engagement Labs has seen growth of 30.36 percent in the same time period. Meanwhile, Perk.com’s share price has gone up nearly 10 percent in the past month alone. By incorporating big data, analysis and the mobile user experience, these innovators have tapped into a new market unique to the mobile web.

For investors, the mobile web market looks very bright indeed. An ever-expanding user base, coupled with innovative tech companies that are making the most of the medium, indicate that there are numerous opportunities in this space. Mobile marketing in particular is a strong area of growth. And if that isn’t compelling enough, the near-infinite number of apps on the market almost guarantees that every investor will be able to find something in the space to get excited about.

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