Over the past several years we have been bombarded with articles urging us that some concept is the “wave of the future.” We should get ahead of the curve by embracing the new trends and preparing our businesses for the inevitable reality that will be. Some of these trends have gone the way of the pet rock and live in the passing fad category, but many have come to fruition. I can tell you with certainty that with regards to mobile responsiveness and mobile friendly content, the future is now.
People in general and specifically consumers are embracing the hand-held digital phenomenon more and more. Recent surveys show that 80% of all internet users own a smartphone We have reached the point where mobile engagement has surpassed desktop usage as means for browsing the internet, online shopping and viewing digital content. If you are not doing so already, it is imperative that your website, landing pages, and email be designed with the mobile user in mind first and foremost.
The figures don’t lie.
According to research conducted by StatCounter, The number of mobile users globally surpassed desktop users in 2016, and the divide in usage continues to widen.
Additionally, the average time spent consuming all forms of media per day is continuing to skew towards mobile. Estimates from eMarketer show that in 2018 the number of hours spent viewing mobile content will rival television viewing and will have far surpassed desktop and laptop consumption.
Consumer buying tendencies are continuing to evolve. Any good inbound marketer knows that people are conducting more research before making a decision to purchase than ever before. The data illustrates that the buying process is occurring increasingly on mobile devices. When you hear a radio ad or see a television commercial you don’t go running to your desktop computer for more information on a product, you consult the phone or tablet that is next to you or already in your hand. To this point, tablet devices currently account for the highest add-to-cart rates on e-commerce websites at 8.58%.
Providing a functional user experience on mobile devices is even more important when trying to reach the largest global age demographic, Millennials. It is estimated that there are over 80 Million people currently who were born between 1981 and 1997 and that 63% shop on their smartphones every day. That’s over 50 million sets of eyeballs that are considering product options and making buying decisions daily. A recent study by MediaPost.com shows that of the Millennials that make purchases in “brick and mortar” stores, 84% use smartphones to assist with their shopping. If your website is not responsive or is lacking in mobile functionality, you could be missing out on a huge segment of the buying public. Check out our blog “How Millennials’ preferences are molding the future of Marketing” for more useful tips on marketing to this significant population base.
What about SEO?
Google, the current reigning SEO Czar, has been on top of mobile friendly content for some time now. Google has been releasing algorithms that take into account mobile friendly signals adding a boost to SEO rankings for years. At this time, desktop rankings are still the primary factor for SEO, but all of that is about to change.
Google has been hinting (or warning) that it will be instituting a mobile-first index before the end of 2017. Google has been developing this plan since it announced in 2015 that more than half of all searches were taking place on mobile devices. While we still do not know the full extent of the new update we do know that Google will be treating mobile versions of web pages as the primary index ranking moving desktop to secondary status. This is reason enough to embrace the mobile-first concept.
Additionally, Google has been adding other features designed to enhance the mobile experience. Most recently it has launched the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project. If you have noticed a little lightning bolt next to some of your search results lately, this is someone taking advantage of AMP. In its simplest terms, AMP is a stripped down, alternate version of your web pages that are designed to load much faster. Google accomplishes this by housing the content on its own servers rather than acting as an index that points to other sites. Facebook uses a similar practice with its Instant Articles feature.
Google has already prioritized its long-term goals and investments on mobile. As usual, it would be wise to follow suit and may be necessary in the near future.
Setting your business up for mobile success
Your business website is your digital storefront and quite frankly is now more important than your actual storefront. Google recommends that your website be mobile responsive. A mobile responsive website design enables your website to show content on desktop that is sized and formatted for comfortable viewing and then can adjust the layout automatically to size appropriately for other devices. Most importantly it does this using the same URL and HTML code. Take a look at your website on a smartphone or tablet. If it looks like a miniature version of what your site looks like on a desktop computer or if your mobile site has a different URL than your main site it is not mobile responsive.
If this is the case, you should stop reading and contact Heart+Hammer to get your site up to speed on mobile.
If you are still reading, that must mean that your site is mobile responsive. Unfortunately, having the technology in place may not be enough. You should review your website user interface on mobile. We need to change our way of thinking and begin designing for mobile first. Notice I didn’t suggest designing for mobile only, but with the changing habits of digital content consumption, it is a good idea to start with mobile and work back to desktop. If you are not a developer, like myself, here are some of our best practices as well as some others outlined by Wired.com so that you can have a discussion with your web designer to make sure that your site is achieving the maximum in mobile friendly content.
Mobile friendly content is no longer a concept on the horizon; it is right in front of all of us now. If you intend to attract customers through digital content, it is more important than ever create your content with mobile in mind. Engage your target audience most effectively on their own terms and think mobile first.
We are a digital marketing agency focused on helping brands create meaningful marketing experiences that fuel growth.
© 2017 Heart+Hammer, LLC | All rights reserved