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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 over the last several years as people 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, while mobile web browsing outnumbered desktop browsing for the first time in 2016. According to a post on Stonetemple, 67 percent of...

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 over the last several years as people 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, while mobile web browsing outnumbered desktop browsing for the first time in 2016.

According to a post on Stonetemple, 67 percent of websites received their traffic from mobile users. The post from Stonetemple uses data from SimilarWeb to compare traffic patterns on the web for the year 2017.

Mobile investing: 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 reach49 exabytes per month by 2020, up from 7.2 exabytes in 2016. For reference, that’s the equivalent of watching 12,238 million DVDs each month.

Indeed, the use of the mobile web has steadily increased since 2009, the Guardian notes. In fact, in October 2016 the two overlapped, with mobile and tablet browsing totalling 51.3 percent compared to desktop’s 48.7 percent.

As quoted by the Guardian, Aodhan Cullen, chief executive at StatCounter said, “This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not.”

“Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile-friendly websites for its mobile search results,” he continued.

In that regard, data from Cisco reveals that mobile data traffic will grow sevenfold between 2016 and 2021, which is compound annual growth rate of 47 percent.

Even more revealing, global mobile data traffic will grow two times faster than fixed IP traffic during the same period, while traffic will be equivalent to 122 times the volume it was in 2011. As such, the switch to the mobile web isn’t a passing fad. Instead, it’s the new frontier of internet use.

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.

The case of Snapchat (NYSE:SNAP) is a good example. Unlike its social media predecessors Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and LinkedIn, now a Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) product, were both designed to be used on desktop computers and fixed-line laptops, Snapchat has only ever existed as an app.

In fact, when the app officially began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2017, it was worth roughly US$25 billion–which was more than Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) at US$14.08 billion, although things have changed now as Snapchat’s competitors began offering mobile oriented apps. The current market cap of Snapchat is US$16 billion while Twitter is US$24.64 billion.

Mobile gaming is also taking the stage by storm. According to Newzoo’s quarterly Global Games Market Report, more than 2.3 billion users around the world will generate US$137.9 billion in game revenues in 2018–a 13.3 percent increase from the previous year. It was noted that revenues from mobile games account for more than 50 percent of the global games revenue. It was noted in the report that mobile games will generate US$70.3 billion in revenue which is 25.5 percent year on year growth.

Mobile investing: Marketing a key outlet

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.

ZenithOptimedia’s global ad spending forecast expects it to reach $558 billion by the end of 2018, with Asia and Eastern Europe representing a large part of that growth. To that end, however, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook represented 84 percent of digital ad spending in 2017–more than double the amount it was five years prior.

Companies like SITO Mobile (NASDAQ:SITO), Engagement Labs (TSXV:EL) are all small-cap players making a big impact in the field of mobile marketing. 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 is certainly becoming an attractive way to expand one’s portfolio. 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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