Last June, Google UK-Ireland Managing Director and VP for Sales and Operations Eileen Naughton reported that more than half of UK searches were made using mobile devices.
Last May, Google (through its AdWords Blog) reported that searches done through mobile devices have outpaced those done through desktop computers in 10 countries, including Japan and the United States. The report, however, did not delve into the details about other countries, the timelines involved, and the differences in percentages between desktop and mobile searches.
Last March, comScore released “Digital Future in Focus,” listing key statistics for the American market. While the research focused on the American market, it highlights something online marketers have anticipated before: mobile dominating the searches.
Among the relevant points discussed in the report include:
394 percent and 1,721 percent growth in digital consumption for smartphones and tablets, respectively, over a period of four years
Consumers aged 18 years and above use both mobile and PC to access the Internet — a 68 percent growth from the previous year
Millennials are the key driving force for mobile-only Internet use
Smartphone penetration in the US has grown by as much as 10 percent annually, peaking at 75 percent penetration in 2014.
But as early as 2008, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers (KPCB) analyst Mary Meeker made the bold prediction: “Mobile to overtake fixed Internet access by 2014.” In a recent update released by KPCB, authored by Meeker, her forecast has been reinforced by the latest statistical data, including the 51 percent increase in mobile digital media time compared to 42 percent in desktop.
But why does this trend matter, especially for businesses?
For one, this highlights the fact that smart devices are not used merely for apps, social media and games. In fact, a study conducted by the Online Publishers Association said that as much as 99.5 percent of mobile users use their devices to access information and 63.1 percent use these to access the Internet.
For B2B, this means that the decision-makers are relying more and more on their mobile devices, with as much as 92 percent using their smartphones for business purposes, and 77 percent of these using their smartphone to conduct research on a product or service for their companies.
Finally, these reports underscore the need for businesses to have mobile-compatible websites. Today, it is no longer enough to have a website built for your business. The technological advances as well as the popularity of mobile devices have made it necessary for websites to be mobile-friendly. One such notable change is Google’s release of a mobile-friendly algorithm update last April.
Making your website mobile-friendly will allow you to reap the following benefits:
Reduced website abandonment
A website visitor will most likely abandon your website if it does not load properly or if the content is jumbled. This simply means that you lose a potential customer.
Boost in average time on site
And conversely, if you invest in the optimisation of your website for mobile, you will see a marked increase in the user average time on site. When a visitor can easily navigate your website while on mobile, he or she can learn more about your business and what it has to offer.
Faster loading time
Websites that are optimised for mobile will also finish loading faster as compared to their counterparts that are not. This is also a key factor used by website visitors in deciding whether they will stay on your website or abandon it.
A competitive advantage
Enforcing a strategy that your competitors are already using is not always good business. However, when it comes to mobile, following suit is not necessarily a bad idea. In fact, in some industries, the adaption of a mobile website strategy is fairly low and being a pioneer will allow you to gain a strategic advantage over your competitors.