With more than 50 percent of consumers reporting that they use their smartphones to research products while shopping, mobile content marketing can help businesses drive sales in stores and online.

A report from Pew Internet Research found that more than 50 percent of consumers used their smartphones to research purchase decisions over the holidays.

According to Pew, it conducted its poll during a 30-day period that began before the Christmas holiday and ended after it. Thirty-eight percent of consumers included in the survey said they made a phone call while in a store to ask about a product, while 24 percent said they used their handsets to research a product online.

Moreover, one-quarter of respondents reported they use their smartphones to compare the price of an item in stores to the cost online.

For marketers, the frequency with which consumers use their mobile devices to search for product information (even as they are shopping at brick-and-mortar locations) means that websites are as important any in-store marketing. Content marketing that includes product overviews or general industry news can drive traffic to a company’s website. Encouraging user-generated content, whether positive reviews or negative feedback that brands promptly address, can also help companies boost search status and stand out more on the web.

Targeting content for mobile access is quickly become beneficial to an increasing number of businesses. Brafton recently reported that mobile content marketing generated more than $39 billion in revenue for businesses in 2011.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.