Why optimising for mobile matters to your success

optimising for mobile

We’ve all grown aware of the increasing influence of mobiles in our day to day lives, but have you actually noticed the impact they’ve had on businesses in general or more importantly your business itself?

Whether you’ve just got up first thing in the morning, on your daily commute to work, or enjoying some down time watching TV, chances are you’ve more often than not got your mobile in hand. The mobile has become the first port of call for communication and information when we need it. The ownership of smart phones has seen growth year on year and currently sits at a record high with figures stating that in February 2015, 58% of the UK population owned a smart phone, a number which is only looking to grow for the foreseeable future.

So the number of smart phones users is on the rise, but how does this impact you? To really understand the relevance it serves to your business we have to look at user habits along with some industry specific usage statistics.

Web browsing – desktop vs mobile

Web browsing is just as significant on mobile now as it is on desktop. Stats show that 40% of overall web browsing is done on mobile or tablet. Just as the growth of smart phone ownership is set to rise so is web browsing on mobile devices, meaning a desktop version of your website alone isn’t enough. Having an internet presence became a massive priority for businesses as its usage grew and now the same applies to smart phones and the need for mobile sites. Users are becoming accustomed to businesses of all sizes now adopting mobile sites, with less attention being paid to desktop sites which can be frustrating to navigate as a result of the constant pinching and pulling to zoom along with hard to select icons. The usual bounce rate for desktop sites is around 40-45% however this increases drastically when they are viewed on mobile devices with the number increasing to 65-75%.

It’s not only web browsing that is on the rise on mobile devices, mobile commerce has also shown some serious growth in recent years. Mobile transactions in the UK now account for 43% of all ecommerce, displaying the need for online retailers to take their mobile presence seriously. This rise in spend via mobile has been put down to the improved security that smart phones now offer along with improved functionality through bigger screens. It’s not just online retailers benefiting from smart phone users though; other industries have also seen improved business as a result of smart phones being embraced.

Industry example 01 – Estate Agents

Recent data from Rightmove stated that 40% of all properties viewed on their website were done via mobile or tablet, with over 1 in 4 enquiries being made through the same format. Compare this to the numbers in 2012 (where only 1 in 10 enquiries was made through mobile) and it’s clear to see that along with the increased growth in mobile owners, usage for house hunting is also growing. This is likely to be down to the ease of access which mobiles provide, giving people the ability to look up a house as they pass a sale board.

Industry example 02 – Restaurants

Mobile searches for restaurants have become increasingly popular in recent years. Figures show a growing trend of searches for restaurants being made through Google maps on mobiles along with searches being made through regular search engines. Multiple reports dating back to 2012 state that there remains a high conversion rate for restaurant enquiries made via mobiles, primarily down to the fact that more people will now search for a restaurant while they are out and actively looking to eat. Therefore being visible on the likes of Google Maps and also having a mobile site which users will most likely be directed to can be the difference between having a customer dine at your restaurant or completely pass you by.

Industry example 03 – Hotels

The hotel industry is another which has witnessed a growth in enquiries made via mobile. Research from 2013 showed that 21% of all UK hotel enquiries were made through mobile, a figure which is likely to have increased in line with the growing popularity of smart phone usage. The hotel industry has started to thrive with many people booking hotels on a last minute basis given the fact they can readily access the internet through their mobile phones, making searching for hotels easier and allowing for more flexibility in terms of when they choose to book their stay.

As can be seen many sectors are experiencing a surge in trade as a result of smart phone usage and chances are you could also have an opportunity to capitalise on this. However the reasons for optimising don’t end there, Google have also placed an added importance for prioritising mobile friendly sites.

Google’s call for mobile friendly sites

That’s right, Google’s continued changes in their search algorithm have now started to penalise websites which don’t have user friendly mobile sites. So while you may be working tirelessly on your SEO and PPC campaigns, you could well be suffering as a result of not having a fully functioning mobile site. The bounce rate of your website is something which Google takes into consideration when assessing your SEO efforts, and as mentioned earlier the bounce rate for non mobile sites on mobile devices sits at around 65-75%, meaning you are likely to not only struggle with your SEO efforts but also lose out on the majority of visitors who do actually find your site. To add to this the need to have all the cards in your favour for SEO and PPC is even more important given peoples browsing habits on mobiles. Users aren’t likely to search multiple results pages on search engines, instead opting to browse primarily through the top few results.

What you should consider

Smart phone users have started to become accustomed to being presented with mobile friendly sites for companies of all sizes. With improved functionality, mobile sites help to enhance user experience and make browsing a lot easier than viewing desktop sites on a mobile. There are a few things to consider when creating a mobile site.

1. A fully optimised mobile website

Having a fully functioning mobile site is a necessity to help combat against losing potential customers. Smart phone users have become almost expectant of being served mobile sites so it’s important to have a well designed website which enhances the user experience. Look to stream line your current desktop site without sacrificing on key pieces of content when developing a mobile site.

2. Making your website social

A lot of mobile interaction occurs through the ever growing number of social networks; therefore giving the ability to easily share content on your website will likely increase your brand exposure. Making an added effort to draw traffic to your website through social media should also be considered an important aspect of your process to optimise for mobile, especially given the fact that 18% of all smart phone usage is spent on Facebook alone.

3. Prominent call to action

While your site may be optimised in terms of running smoothly it should also be noted that along with a smaller screen comes the need to serve a clearly distinguishable call to action. This is more so important when we take into consideration the reduced conversion rate on mobile. Therefore make it easy for visitors to identify the process of making a purchase or reserving a table so they aren’t left frustrated.

4. Online reputation management

The searching habits of customers on smart phones means that there is even more reason to manage your online reputation. The use of apps such as Google maps means that they are regularly exposed to reviews and ratings, something which is likely to play a big role in determining their decision especially within the food and leisure sector so be sure to get current customers to review your company whenever possible.

Hopefully there’s enough here for you to take away the importance of embracing the mobile landscape.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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