If it seems like everyone is attached to their smartphone these days, it’s because they are. Fueled in large part by mobile use and tablets, internet use has more than doubled over the past decade. In 2005, the average adult spent almost 10 hours per week online; that number rose to more than 20 hours per week in 2015.

For businesses, that makes digital marketing more important than ever, because internet use continues to rise, with no end in sight. Today, businesses are increasingly using the internet to not only increase sales, but to be found by targeted customers, and to interact with them via their website and social media.

In many ways, this rise was fueled by the iPhone and the smartphones that came after it, which put the internet in the pockets of millions of people. In the first quarter of 2007, consumers used roughly 2.4 billion bytes of data each month.  In the first quarter of 2017, that number rose to almost 9.7 trillion bytes of data each month or almost 4,000 times as much data. It is clear that mobile has lead to an exponential growth of internet use for consumers.

The increased mobile use has also changed the way websites are built and marketed. No longer is it OK to tailor your website to desktop consumers; websites have to be dynamic, meaning they adjust to the device the consumer is using. Nothing turns off a customer more quickly than a poorly functioning website.

A decade ago on social media, Myspace was on its last legs and Facebook was seeing tremendous growth. Today, there are seemingly endless options, and it has resulted in social media interaction making up 30% of all time spent online, which equates to almost two hours each day. This includes 35 minutes per day spent by the average person on Facebook. This presents a great opportunity for businesses that have been able to curate their online presence, as it allows them direct access to customers and potential customers.

With all of this extra time online, customers are more trusting than ever to make their purchases online. In fact, 51% of Americans prefer to shop online, and 96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase at some point. To increase reach and profitability, it is paramount to have a digital marketing strategy that not only reaches customers but sells to them as well. Long past are the days when customers were nervous to do business online; instead, they embrace it and even prefer it.

With online use continuing to grow thanks to the rise of smartphones and unlimited data plans, digital marketing provides one of the most useful rates of return on any investment that a business can make. People are spending more time than ever online, and that is a trend that is not likely to stop anytime soon.

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