Why You Really Need to Care About Mobile

Mobile : The Wave of the Future

Mobile : The Wave of the Future Greg Habermann CC BY

Mobile Optimized Websites

Is your website mobile-optimized?  If it’s not, you’re in good company, as an April 2013 Adobe study said that 45% of more than 1,800 responders said their organization did not have a mobile-optimized site or mobile application, instead relying simply on the desktop site (click to tweet this stat).  We all know how much the experience suffers when you try to use a desktop site on a mobile device.  How frustrating would it be to try get the latest scores from ESPN if you always had to load the full espn.com page and then use your thumbs to navigate around to the scoreboard you were interested in?

If you look at Internet retailers, the numbers get much better.  A fall 2012 Acuity Group study shows that 95% of the top Internet retailers had a mobile-optimized site, up from only 37% that had one the year before (click to tweet this stat).  Additionally, 49% of retailers provided a mobile app.

Tablet Optimized Websites?

We can debate if a tablet should be considered a mobile device because they’re often used in the home, or usually get their Internet connection over wi-fi instead of cellular or other reasons.  While this could be an interesting debate, for my discussion here I don’t care much about the distinctions.  What is true is that the interface differences between a tablet and a desktop/laptop are great, and tablets deserve an optimized experience, whether it’s a bulked up smartphone-optimized experience or a unique tablet-optimized experience.  What I found interesting in the aforementioned Acuity Group study is that 71% the top Internet retailers redirected an Android tablet to a mobile-optimized site, while 91% of the retailers redirected the iPad tablet to a desktop site.  How can you give a customer a great tablet experience when you’re redirecting that customer to the standard desktop site?

Mobile Device Evolution

Mobile Device Evolution Adam Selwood CC BY

Customer Expectations

Your customers expect to for your site to be mobile-optimized.  A 2012 study from the big G showed that nearly 3 out of 4 of those surveyed preferred a mobile friendly site, while a whopping 96% of them had encountered a site that was not mobile-optimized.  Furthermore, half of the responders said that even if they like a business, they will use that business less often if the website isn’t mobile-optimized.

Now we know that customers want and like mobile experiences.  But how many are using mobile?  Pew has some recent stats.  56% of American adults have a smartphone, 34% have a tablet (no stats on the overlap of those), 55% the cell owners use the internet on their mobile phones and the big payoff stat – 17% of adult cell owners mostly use their phones to access the internet, meaning little to no use of a desktop/laptop for browsing the Web (click to tweet this stat).  If you don’t have a great mobile site or mobile app, and you aren’t marketing through the mobile channel, you might be missing out on almost a fifth of your potential customers.

Does Mobile Work?

For mobile marketing, the proof is in the pudding.  A different study from the big G says that 28% of mobile searches result in a store visit, call or purchase, and 55% of those store visits, calls or purchases happen within 1 hour of the initial mobile search (click to tweet this stat).

Can you find different studies that don’t paint quite so rosy a picture about mobile?  Sure, but if you look directionally at any of them you will see that the number of customers that interact with you through mobile channels and expect a brilliant mobile experience is increasing.  These customers have an immediate need to find what they want, and if you can’t provide that they’ll quickly move on to someone else who can.

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