Guest post by Dan Stelter
Mobile phones will surpass PCs as the most common device people use to access the Internet in 2013, the analyst firm Gartner estimates.
Think about the immensity of this prediction. Just five years ago, very few people had phones that accessed the Web, and virtually no one had a tablet PC. Due to the speed with which technological progress is being made, today people access vast amounts of data and make online purchases using devices like the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy SIII and LG Optimus L9. Business owners now face two challenging questions: How are these advances changing the business-consumer relationship? And, how should my business react to these shifts?
Current Changes in the Mobile Marketplace
Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent changes in the world of mobile devices:
Mobile data traffic grew by 70 percent in 2012.
Cisco recently released a study stating mobile data traffic grew to 885 petabytes per month in 2012, up from 520 petabytes per month in 2011. Marketplace competition among mobile service providers will probably drive down the cost of downloading data in coming years. This will likely make Web browsing and downloading much more affordable and frequent for the average mobile device consumer.
Businesses will increase IT spending.
Look for businesses to increase IT spending by more than 5 percent for each of the next two years. According to a Gartner report, IT spending will rise from $881 billion in 2012 to $974 billion in 2014.
Consumers increase their mobile use.
The mobile advertising company InMobi conducted a survey and found:
- 75 percent of respondents felt they had been introduced to something new on their mobile device
- 67 percent felt their mobile device presented them with better purchasing options
- 46 percent made purchases with their mobile device
- 45 percent felt their mobile device influenced their in-store purchases.
Succeeding in a Mobile World
Change happens quickly, no doubt. Still, there are steps you can take so your business adapts alongside the trends. Here’s how to ensure you’re prepared for the mobile revolution:
Have a mobile-friendly design.
Customers demand connectivity, and business websites must be optimized for mobile. Period. And, make it clean and usable. According to a recent survey by Google, 67 percent of respondents agreed that “a mobile-friendly site makes me more likely to buy a product or use a service.” And 61 percent noted, “If I don’t see what I’m looking for right away on a mobile site, I’ll quickly move on to another site.” By investing in a website friendly to all major device types – laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets – you satisfy the current marketplace’s design demands. Mashable calls it “responsive design,” tailoring content and design to fit the device upon which it is being viewed.
Mention your location in your mobile advertisement.
The KISSmetrics blog notes that mobile ad click-through rates increased by 200 percent at the mention of a physical location or city name. If your business is preparing to launch a mobile advertising campaign, keep this in mind.
We use our mobile devices in a multitude of ways throughout the day. Think about how you use yours – you might use your phone to set an alarm at night and wake up to the device the next morning. You use its calendar to keep track of appointments and rely on reminders so you stay on top of things. You receive news, sports and weather updates on it and, of course, you still use your phone to actually talk to people. It’s just a very personal device. The same concept should spill over into your mobile advertising campaigns. Personally engage potential customers.
It’s All about Analytics
Every business is unique, and you’ve certainly seen many innovative ideas for mobile website design while browsing the internet. So, the logical conclusion becomes: unique mobile websites must also have creative strategies for capturing the attention of visitors and converting them into paying customers. Examine these tips to get a better understanding of analytics in action:
Learn from the little guy.
Websites with little annual revenue ($1,000-$50,000 in annual revenue) don’t convert as well as larger sites, according to a report by SEOMOZ. The theory goes that with less financial resources available, companies running these sites cannot adapt their designs as well for mobile devices. The lesson for you? If you’re going to make your website mobile-friendly, prepare to budget enough to make the site a scintillating experience for mobile visitors.
Mobile users don’t spend as much as their desktop counterparts.
In the same report, SEOMOZ found a 20 percent difference between spending by mobile and desktop Web visitors. If your analytics reveal spending by desktop users is more abundant, don’t be surprised.
Avoid long contact forms.
If your mobile site’s call-to-action requires visitors to provide their contact information, make sure the form they fill out is as brief as possible. An article at Search Engine Watch notes that your form should have less than seven fields, and that each additional field reduces your conversion rate by up to 50 percent.
How has your company responded to the mobile revolution? I’d love to hear from you—leave a comment below, or drop me an email: Lee at LeeHopkins dot com