As mobile marketing continues to grow, so do the ideas behind connecting the 300 million mobile phone users and Web browsers in the U.S. to the wide variety of technologies available now and in the very-near future. More than half of the population has a smart phone with estimates that U.S. consumers with a smart phone will double to 192 million by 2016.
According to a 2013 study by Google/Nielsen (Mobile Search Moments, March 2013) on the drivers behind mobile search, 77 percent of all people use smart phones as their preferred method of finding information while at home or work, even if a computer is available, because smart phones are simply more convenient. The study also found that 45 percent of all mobile searches are “goal-oriented and conducted to help make a decision.” In fact, three out of four mobile searches triggered a follow-up action such as a visit to a store or even a purchase.
If you do not have mobile web design or are planning on it in the very near future, you are putting yourself at a great disadvantage. If your company depends on its website to bring in new business, including a mobile-optimized website in your marketing mix before the end of the year should be your priority. In a survey of client-side marketers worldwide, 30 percent of respondents listed mobile optimization as a top priority for 2013, with 43 percent stating mobile optimization was the most exciting digital opportunity for them this year.
There are a number of mobile solutions available. What you chose to do should be based on the “performance aspect” of your site – who your target audience is, what is the desired action and how you want your site to function to facilitate a user-friendly experience while generating the greatest ROI.
So what is Responsive web design? It is a website designed to fit on tablets, smart phones, and desktops including today’s large desktop screens. Have you ever pulled up a website on your smart phone and it was just a very tiny version of what you would see on your desktop? This is not a responsive website. Or if it was, it left out the key point of adjusting “gracefully.” A responsive website looks good no matter whether you’re looking at it on a phone, tablet, or desktop.
One of the current challenges is the ever-evolving technology behind smartphones. Smartphones typically have to download and sift through all the information even if it’s irrelevant to what will be displayed, which is the primary reason that responsive websites tend to be slow to load on mobile devices, instantaneously killing user experience and causing poor conversion.
Ravi Pratap, CTO of MobStac, notes, “With adaptive delivery, the most significant difference is that the server hosting the website detects the devices making requests to it, and uses this information to deliver different batches of HTML and CSS code based on the characteristics of the device that have been detected.”
This approach allows the server to optimally render pages and enhance or remove functionality based on the capabilities detected.
You might wonder if you’re too late. No, you’re not, because in all likelihood all your competitors are late to the game as well. Most businesses lag behind the cutting edge by at least a year when it comes to such things. 2013 turned out to be the year when companies and industries began getting behind responsive and mobile design.
So why does all of this matter? Because mobile design is better, and everyone else is doing it. If you use a tool like Google Analytics on your website you can look at the stats regarding mobile users and gauge how urgent the matter is for your company.
More importantly, not only are consumers browsing with their smart phones, but they are also making decisions and assumptions about your business. A poor mobile experience will negatively impact how a consumer perceives your company. A survey conducted by Google confirms that:
While going with a mobile-friendly website can present challenges for website owners, without one your future online is going to be a challenge. If you’re not providing a mobile-friendly experience for your customers, they’ll leave and go to your competitor whose website is easier to use. The future is mobile. And we see people increasingly favoring their mobile devices over desktop computers.
Moving forward it will be extremely critical that your website provides mobile users an easy-to-use experience. Having a mobile website is no longer a simply a nice feature, it is a necessity and literally impacts the growth of your business.