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Scientists have to reposition the Geographic South Pole every year.

It’s not because the Earth has moved but because the ice above it has.

That’s 2,700 metres (9,000 feet) of ice to be precise. And it moves downhill towards the Weddell Sea at just under 10 metres each year.

The pole marker is ceremonially positioned on New Year’s Day and the photo above (borrowed from here) shows the line of previous poles stretching off into the distance.

Just as polar scientists have to recalibrate their world (our world) (the world) each year, so it is in the world of digital marketing and technology.

And the turn of the calendar year is a good time to do it. For practical reasons as well as symbolic.

Lots of people received smartphones and tablets as Christmas presents last year.

And the impact of this was instantaneous and significant.

On just about every site for which the agency I work at has Google Analytics access,  the level and proportion of mobile* traffic jumped noticably from 25th December 2011 to the 26th.

A representative sample is shown in the table below, in which I’ve compared mobile traffic as measured by Google Analytics for January 2012 versus January 2011.

* “Handheld” is likely a better definition than “mobile”. I suspect that much of the extra “mobile” traffic actually came from stuffed, supine and distinctly immobile people playing with new devices whilst watching Christmas movies on TV.

 

 

Website sectorMobile traffic % increase Jan 2012 vs. Jan 2011
fmcg272
b2b260
fmcg215
b2b38
b2b230
Travel130
Public sector178
Charity42
Charity119

 

The size of the jump varied according to a range of factors, which I’m not going to explore here.

The point of this post is that, regardless of sector, audience or strategy, the digital earth moved on 25th December 2011.

And the question is not whether it will move again this Christmas, but how far.

Devices affect behaviours and render previous assumptions obselete.

Handheld device penetration moves the earth (no sexual pun intended, but I’m leaving it in having spotted it).

And we need to recalibrate accordingly, as Murat so delicately points out.

 

 

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