I always think it’s trite to throw around a word like ‘revolution’ in a marketing context. So let’s just say that the advent of smartphones and their impact on digital marketing is a massive deal that has changed forever the way a company website should behave. As we reported in a previous blog, businesses in the UK are missing out on up to £77bn in annual revenues as a result of not having mobile-optimised websites, according to research commissioned by Hibu. If your website is still only accessible via desktop it’s time to invest in a redesign – research by Google in 2012; found that two-thirds of smartphone users believe a mobile-friendly site would make them more likely to buy or use that business’s service.
According to Jon Williams, Head of Global Agency and Client Solutions at LinkedIn, 41% of the site’s unique users in Q4 of 2013 came via mobile. He also states that 60% of customers’ pre-purchase journey is made online – that’s time spent on brand perception, research, consideration and decision-making before any kind of purchase is made.
People are now increasingly accessing their information on the move – Mashable, the hugely popular news, technology and social media site founded in 2005 now cites that 45% of its audience view it via mobile and they expect that number to grow.
“It’s important to build a great UX mobile experience,” said Adam Ostrow, the site’s Chief Strategy Officer, speaking at Social Media Week New York in February. “It’s not about apps on mobile any more, for us it’s all about responsive design.”
User experience puts mobile first
Businesses large and small can reap the benefits of a ‘mobile first’ approach. As reported in Computerweekly.com this month, sports retailer Converse is now seeing over 50% of its web traffic in North America come from mobile devices since redesigning its website with a mobile first strategy. The new site launched in September 2013, and it has plans to roll out a similar concept for its UK site. Todd Watts, director of site experience and technology at Converse predicts that the company’s desktop traffic will start to drop off in the next year.
The need to adapt and move with the shift in consumers’ habits becomes all the more stark when you consider that only 40% of the world’s population are currently connected to the internet – by 2018 almost everyone will be connected. In China, already the world’s largest consumer of smartphones, 618 million people use the internet, 500 million prefer to do so via a mobile device, but barely half the population are connected. For companies with ambitions to venture east the implication is clear. But to be honest, for companies who simply want to keep performing in their domestic market, a website that’s stuck in 1995 simply won’t do. Mobile first is a must.