The tail end of 2016 saw mobile internet use surpass desktop internet use worldwide for the first time – 51.26% of pages were loaded on mobile compared to 48.74% on desktop. Google – whose advertising revenue is carefully monitored – cagily reported similar statistics back in 2015, stating more searches were undertaken on mobile devices than on desktop computers. The changes, although not completely unexpected, will be expected to change how business is undertaken, and act as a warning to businesses not optimized for mobile.
Optimizing websites for the mobile platform is a given in 2017, especially based on such information as to how online behaviors are changing. People are craving smaller nuggets of information, carefully given to them, as opposed to spending hours online browsing for what they want to find. By ensuring consumers are able to access a business’s site quickly and efficiently, they will be more likely to result in a successful conversion. Every sector can benefit from optimizing their site for mobile.
Time-consuming browsing is reserved for the desktop, whereas mobile browsing is for fast, easily accessible information. As the over 70% bounce rate for mobile searches shows us, mobile consumers know what they want, and are determined to find it. Marketers can use this information to analyse mobile users’ preferences, and provide them information they may be looking for before they ask for it – thus making consumers more likely to feel favourable towards a brand. Through searching for a holiday, for example, the search engine can point the mobile user towards destinations they are interested in, and offer the key information in an easy-to-digest package, eschewing the time-consuming desktop process.
Sites need to show their features immediately for possible consumers to be able to digest what they are offering. Mobile users want the sum of their search to be laid out in front of them. The mobile journey is a quick one that accomplishes what a desktop journey can in less of the time. For example, Fabulous Bingo’s mobile bingo utilises the brand engagement speed which consumers crave in order to offer their mobile games in short, sharp bursts. The mobile version contains everything that the desktop version of the bingo website does in terms of games available and layout and design, and provides the exact same experience – just in a quicker, more accessible format.
Social media is also incredibly important in a business’s online persona. And that’s not just their presence on it. Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest offer a large volume of referrals – Pinterest leads to 43% requesting more product information, Facebook offers 37% purchase alert reminder, while one fifth of sales are Facebook recommendations. With over 80% of social media accessed through a mobile device, and with social media referring so much traffic, it’s clear that through optimizing your site for mobile, more comprehensive traffic will be driven your way.
And with social media advertising spend up 61.5% on this time last year, it’s clear that businesses are wising up to how we are navigating the web. By ensuring your business has a presence easily modified for mobile, the channels for sharing through social are further opened. For example, ASOS offer social logins, which allow preferences to be utilised through social media channels. While this offers an easier journey for the consumer, it also allows ASOS to monitor and offer products based on the consumer’s journey.
But it’s not just ensuring a mobile site is readily available. Apps are reported to eat up most of our browsing time compared to mobile websites, indicating that businesses should be entering the app market to add some credibility to help possible consumers. Bars are increasingly optimising their websites for apps, outlining in less text than is found on their menus their key deals, their prices, opening times, and other information that might get a consumer into their physical location. By adding sales promotions into the mix, the consumer’s initial hook through the app can be converted into a sale.
The simplest reason for optimizing your site for mobile use, though, is to cut the clutter. Desktop websites are often self-indulgent in their masses of text and flowery language, burying the important points in jargon that nobody will read. The scaling down of the mobile site allows the key points to be ascertained and the unnecessary text dropped. Not only will this aid in the consumer’s journey, but it will also aid in the business development.
While desktop websites are critical for a lot of factors, and will likely always remain the first point of creation for businesses, mobile site optimization should be the very next step. Desktop sites will be unlikely to be phased out anytime soon, but a stronger application of both desktop and mobile together looks to be the future of the web.