Why your website simply has to be mobile device friendly

Mobile devices are the web

For the last several years the data has been pretty clear, and the warnings have been in place – mobile internet usage is the future. In fact, we are already well into Mobile Devices being part of our day to day lives and unfortunately many businesses aren’t keeping up.

It’s hard enough of course keeping your online presence fresh, and your content rich, relevant, and offering value to your audience. It is imperative that you take note of how much impact mobile will have on your business moving forward and think about your strategy to handle it.

What exactly is a Mobile Device?

This is an important point. Traditionally when people referred to mobile devices they were specifically talking about mobile phones. That has changed with the advent of tablets and the number of different internet connected devices. While much of the statistical data relates to smartphones and tablets, make sure your thinking is about ANY form of internet connected device.

Why care about users and their mobile devices?

The era of desktop computing has passed. The numbers clearly highlight (particularly in Australia) the breadth of usage of mobile devices in everyday life.

In Google’s Our Mobile Planet survey the results were emphatic – 58% of smartphone users use their smartphone every single day.

ACMA report that as of June 30, 2012, 49% of all Australian adults had a smartphone which would have equated to roughly 8.9 million adults at that point. It would be pretty safe to assume that number has grown.

In reviewing the Australian Bureau of Statistics Mobile Handset Subscribers report ISP’s have identified that there were 17.4 million subscriptions with internet access as of 31 Dec 2012, which is an extremely high level of penetration in a country of 22.9 million people (at that time).

So the numbers are large but that doesn’t necessarily mean much without considering what users are doing on their Internet enabled smartphones day to day that relates to running a business.

In the Our Mobile Planet survey 50% expected to spend the same amount of time this year using their smartphone as they did last year, while 38% expected it to increase. With 58% of smartphone users being online every day when the survey was taken this becomes very significant.

Mobile phone and other mobile device access of the internet is going to be the single biggest place to target your audience. Quite simply that is where they are going to be.

What did they do:

  • 75% browsed Internet sites
  • 61% conducted product search
  • 31 % purchased products or services
  • 73% did a general search
  • 86% have looked for local information
  • 48% looked weekly for a local product / service
  • 54% of those who searched local called the business or service
  • 50% visited the business
  • 53 % visited the businesses website.

This brings us back to the most significant part of understanding this usage.

If searching for businesses and / or that business product or service then there is a significant reliance on search results.

According to Google’s Our Mobile Planet survey, 59% of smartphone users are only looking at the first page of results when searching on their phone. Therefore, getting found by users searching on mobile is extremely important. Not only is there potentially less screen space to be seen in search results, more mobile searches are local based, and Google has quite clearly outlined that web sites that don’t perform well on mobile will be penalised in rankings.

Again- if your site doesn’t perform well on a mobile device then it will not rank for mobile searches. (read here)

This means if you don’t have a mobile friendly site then you are potentially not going to be seen by more than 50% of the Australian market place and with the trend looking to continue even further then you are going to be seen by less and less people.

Making your site mobile friendly shouldn’t be just about phones.

Make sure that you are very clear when migrating your existing site to a more mobile friendly site that is device agnostic – that is, it works on as many screen sizes and devices as possible.

While currently iPhones have huge market share in Australia altering your site now should be done with as much future proofing as possible. Don’t just focus on phones or tablets or desktops. Cover them all.

Interesting data (at Smart insights) on usage throughout the day shows phone usage high for the daily commute with desktop more relevant during work hours and tablets specifically in the evening.

For this reason we focus on using responsive design strategies when we redevelop sites.

We will post more information about responsive sites and how you can migrate to one in coming posts. In the meantime you can review a few of the responsive sites we have produced. Go ahead and look at them on different devices:

Sources:

http://www.seroundtable.com/google-mobile-site-demotion-16916.html http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/changes-in-rankings-of-smartphone_11.html http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/8153.0~December+2012~Chapter~Mobile+handset+subscribers?OpenDocument http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/ http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/mobileplanet/en/ http://archive.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib310665/australia’s%20progress%20in%20the%20digital%20economy.pdf

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