Mobile web access grew substantially in the fourth quarter of 2011, with more than 47 percent of mobile phone owners accessing the web.

A report from market research firm comScore found that more than 47 percent of mobile phone owners in the United States accessed the web from their devices in the final three months of 2011. The figure represents a 4.6 percent increase from the previous three months, when 42.9 percent accessed mobile browsers and internet marketers should take note that their on-the-go audiences are growing.

Additionally, 47.6 percent of mobile phone owners downloaded an app, compared to 42.5 percent that did so in the previous quarter.

As both mobile apps and the mobile web become more popular, businesses can leverage the growth of these technologies by optimizing their web strategy for mobile use. Previously, mobile advertising meant expensive display ads. However, smartphone and tablet capabilities allow businesses to extend their organic multi-channel marketing strategies to mobile users.

Social media marketing, for example, benefits from rising mobile use as Facebook and Twitter apps are among the most popular applications for Anroid, iOS and BlackBerry OS users. Meanwhile, mobile search’s growth means that SEO campaigns will reach those searching on their mobile devices as well.

Brafton recently reported that mobile search and overall web access from smartphones hit an all-time high in 2011. Moreover, Google, creator of the Android mobile operating system, recently announced the latest iteration of its mobile search app to make the process easier and faster for users.

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.