More than two in three UK adults now own a smartphone. This near ubiquitous adoption rate is now revolutionising the way people shop online. For this reason, on 21 April 2015, Google are introducing a major update to their mobile search algorithm. To make sure you’re ready, here are 10 reasons why it’s essential that you have a mobile-friendly website by this date.
1. Google Will Rank Your Site Better If It’s Mobile Friendly
Above: Google’s new, revamped Webmaster’s Mobile Guide is much more accessible and user-friendly. Photo from Google
As part of the April 2015 Google mobile update, the search engine giant announced they will be expanding the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.This means businesses that don’t have a mobile-friendly website will soon show up in search results less than those that do. Therefore, to avoid losing business to your competitors, it is now more important than ever to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Perhaps in anticipation of this announcement, Google have recently made significant updates to their mobile-based resources. So now you can check the current mobile-friendliness of your website by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with us and ask for a free and thorough mobile audit of your website.
2. Responsive Website Design Delivers A Better User-Experience
Above: Responsive web design that creates a consistent viewing experience across devices is recommended by Google. Photo from: Luc Legay
Responsive web design is an approach that creates an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices – including mobile. Responsive design is recommended by Google because it’s the simplest to implement and it helps the company’s ‘search spiders’ index your content.
From the perspective of delivering a better user-experience, responsive web design’s strength is that it ensures your website’s content has a single URL and a single HTML across all devices. By providing this consistent experience, responsive web design helps users to engage with your content in all its forms, irrespective of the device they are using.
3. The Majority Of Social Engagement Comes From Mobile
Above: The time spent on social media between platforms is heavily weighted in favour of mobile, not desktop. Image from: Pixabay
The importance of social engagement as a topic warrants an entire post in itself. However, from a basic perspective, social media represents a massive leap forward in the field of marketing communications.
To illustrate this: in the past, consumers were only exposed to ads through a narrow field of channels because people could only access information via TV, radio or print. The internet, of course, expanded the number of channels significantly. However, with more and more people using social media platforms to access information, this is where you need to be connecting with a huge section of your audience today.
The majority of engagement on social networks comes from mobile devices, rather than desktop computers. As such, you not only need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly, but that social media is at the forefront of your mobile marketing strategy, too.
4. 70% Of Mobile Searches Trigger A Reaction In An Hour Or Less
Above: Mobile shoppers make purchasing decisions quicker because they are more likely to search for specific products. Photo from: Joe Ross
A recent study by iAquire and SurveyMonkey revealed that a massive 70% of mobile searches lead to actions on websites within one hour. This is an incredible statistic and one that underlines just how important it is for your website to be mobile-friendly.
Consumers search differently when they are using a mobile device compared with a desktop computer. The main difference is that they tend to be more exact in the types of search they perform. For example, on mobile, consumers are more likely to search for a specific product because they have seen or read about it elsewhere.
For this reason, you will need to be more thorough in your keyword research, so that you can optimise your website’s content effectively for mobile users. For instance, if your company sells confectionery online, you should use product specific headlines. So, instead of a headline like ‘Best Biscuits’, use ‘The Best Bourbon Biscuits’.
5. Mobile Commerce Is Set To Double By 2019
Above: Over the next few years, mobile commerce in Europe is predicted to double. Photo from: Pixabay
According to John Mercer, senior European retail analyst at Mintel:
“Mcommerce is bolstering growth in ecommerce; we expect the market to continue to see growth underpinned by both mobile shopping and a general strengthening in total retail sales in Europe.”
His statement is no doubt shaped by recent research by Mintel that revealed the €165bn generated in Europe by mobile commerce in 2013 is set to double to €330bn by 2019.
The UK is just behind Italy, as the country in Europe with the highest number of consumers using smartphones to shop, with the number set to increase further. That’s a lot of money you could potentially miss out on over the next few years, if you don’t take steps to ensure your website is mobile-friendly as soon as possible.
6. Mobile-Friendly Websites Encourage Better Brand Engagement
Above: An example of a website that provides a consistent experience across devices. Photo from: Per Axbom
Research conducted by Google and IPSOS – and reported here on Marketing Land – revealed that 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a task. This increasing consumer trend towards ‘multi-screening’ ensures that websites which provide a consistent experience across all devices enjoy better brand engagement.
As a rule, consumers will better engage with your brand if you deliver a mobile experience that is as satisfying as it is on desktop. Therefore, if your website is mobile-friendly and optimised for functionality and consistency in experience between devices, you gain trust from consumers. Conversely, if your website can’t provide these things, consumers are far more likely to gravitate towards a competitor that can.
7. Mobile-Friendly Websites Have Worked Spectacularly For Autoglass And Huffington Post
bove: The vehicle glass repair company, Autoglass, has enjoyed tremendous success since they optimised their website for mobile devices. Photo from: Graham Richardson
In a bid to demonstrate the importance of optimising your website for mobile devices, Google has produced a number of Multi-Screen Success Stories. Two of those success stories focus on the vehicle glass repair and replacement company, Autoglass, and the online publication, Huffington Post.
Because damage to a vehicle’s glass can happen unexpectedly, Autoglass’s service is perfect for mobile. So, after the company built a mobile-optimised site, launched mobile search ads, and optimised their call-to-actions specifically for their mobile site, they increased their mobile bookings by 11% and year-on-year clicks by a massive 53%.
Although the Huffington Post is designed for an internet audience from the ground up, the publication is never content to rest on its laurels. So, when it came to redesigning their site, the Huffington Post were keen to adapt to the changing mobile behaviour. As such, they introduced a number of improvements, including digital ergonomics, which helped them to increase the time spent on their mobile site by 50%.
8. You’ll Increase Your Conversions
Above: the mobile websites of Starbucks and Dell: one has navigation menus that are easy to follow, clear headlines and a clickable call-to-action, the other doesn’t. Photo from: MobileTest.me
Websites that are not mobile-friendly are ineffectual at converting visitors into buyers. This is because websites that are solely optimised for desktops appear skewed on mobile browsers, with headlines and calls-to-action obscured and navigation menus awkwardly placed. Consumers faced with a mobile experience such as this are far more likely to take their custom elsewhere.
For your website to be mobile-friendly, your navigation menus need to be clear and easy to click. If your website runs on WordPress, the WPtouch mobile plugin automatically enables a simple and elegant theme for your website that mobile users will find easy to navigate.
In addition to making sure your site is easy to navigate, you need to ensure your headlines are clear and your call-to-action is easy to click. As such, you will need to make sure your headlines are shorter, as you won’t have the luxury of a wide PC screen to display long headlines. In regards to your call-to-action, you could consider A/B testing to find the right the combination of font, colour and copy that converts best.
9. People Use Their Smartphones More Often
Above: The smartphone has become an integral part of life for so many people across the world. Photo from: Esther Vargas
According to the American multinational financial services corporation, Morgan Stanley, 91% of mobile owners keep their devices close to them at all times. Likewise, a 2014 report by Deloitte into UK mobile consumers reveals that one in six adults who own a smartphone look at their device more than 50 times a day.
In combination, these two stats aptly illustrate the degree to which the smartphone has become an essential part of everyday life for so many people. From a business perspective, it is clear that consumers now demand constant internet connectivity. As such, a failure to make your website mobile-friendly would mean missing out on a massive opportunity to provide your customers with what they want.
10. It will Reduce Your Bounce Rate
bove: If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, your bounce rate could be as high as this guy’s. Photo from:Ruth Hartnup
In short: if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, your bounce rate will be a lot higher than it should be. Visitors won’t stay on your mobile site for long if your navigation menus, headlines, and call-to-actions are not optimised. However, the biggest contributing factor to page abandonment is when pages take too long to load.
After three seconds, the rate of page abandonment from users increases significantly. As such, you should aim to ensure that the average load time for your mobile website is three seconds or less. This way, you’ll be able to reduce your bounce rate and increase the chances of users engaging with your site and making a purchase.
From the statistics and trends revealed in the previous 10 points, it is clear that ensuring your website is mobile-friendly can help break down barriers to your business’s future success. So, with that thought in mind, can you afford not to have a mobile-friendly website in today’s retail environment?
To talk to us about performing a mobile audit for your website and helping you to adapt to the changing retail climate, call Mark Poppleton on 0117 321 1436 or get in touch via our contact form. Alternatively, to get a taste of what we offer, take a look at our services page now.