74% of people own a smartphone, and people now own an average of 3.3 connected devices. Worldwide, we spend an average of almost two hours per day on mobile. Consumers are constantly connected, and they use an array of devices to find whatever they need, wherever they are. When they have an I-want-to-know or I-want-to-buy moment, they turn to their smartphones or tablets and engage with the businesses and brands that are ready to help.
Mobile trends in the UK and Ireland
Looking at the digital landscape in the UK and Ireland, five key trends emerge:
- Mobile is vital to daily life
People are increasingly reliant on their mobiles: 68% of smartphone users check their phone within 15 minutes of waking in the morning, and 30% admit they get “anxious” without their phone.
- Mobile is transforming consumer behaviour
Many people turn to their smartphones while interacting with other media. For example, 58% use their device while watching TV.
- Mobile is helping users find what they need
When it comes to product research, 28% of people use their mobile to look for advice, 32% for comparison, and 46% for inspiration.
- Mobile is changing the way consumers shop
76% of people who search on their smartphone for something nearby visit a related business within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase.
- Mobile is helping us "go local" Google searches with 'near me' have tripled year-over-year in 2016.
Mobile Searches are leading the way
Mobile and desktop traffic are undergoing a change, with more people using mobile devices to go online. In Oct 2016 over 50% of internet usage worldwide came from mobile. This increase is also reflected in the usage for research and decision making, with studies suggesting that 80% of people use a smartphone to research and 57% use several devices.
Mobile Sites vs Mobile Apps
Of the 50% of worldwide internet usage that takes place on mobile devices, 90% is spent in apps. This is great from a brand loyalty and engagement perspective. However, the length of time a user is engaged in something isn’t always the best measure of value to a business.
A more relevant consideration for the majority of businesses is where users are actually spending their money. When it comes to commercial tasks, 66% of people use sites more often, 28% use sites and apps equally, and only 6% prefer apps. So having a good mobile site should enable you to reach 94% of users looking to buy.
Ultimately, it will come down to a deep understanding of both the customer and your business. Most consumers switch between different devices, websites and apps on the path to purchase, so sites and apps should ideally work together to provide a seamless, smooth experience across the whole spectrum of your target market. Most customers will first experience your brand through your mobile site, with apps primarily used by your existing base of loyal customers. For most marketers, therefore, the question should not be browser or app? Rather, how can I make both work for me?
The importance of mobile sites
Consumers now interact with businesses 24/7: at home; at work; on the bus. The phone is a powerful tool for achieving advertising objectives and marketers now have the unique ability to match marketing messages with signals of both intent and context.
Mobile marketing can:
- Increase your sales and leads
- Target users by demographic, interest and behaviour
- Increase offline sales with location based ads
- Connect more consumers with what they want
By making mobile a central part of your strategy and developing cross-media campaigns that engage consumers, your business will inevitably reap the rewards.
Mobile User Experiences
Smartphone users have very different expectations to Desktop users, so it’s paramount that the user experience of mobile sites caters to this accordingly.
Sites should be responsive and perform well across the full range of mobile platforms and screen sizes. Content management plays a key role here, as reduced screen real estate means that designers have to be ruthless in focusing on only the most relevant content. This can have a powerful effect, as research suggest that 65% of users are more likely to make a purchase on their smartphone if they can see product reviews while browsing.
After an extensive study covering hundreds of mobile websites on Android and iOS platforms, Google has published a list of 25 User Experience principles that serve as an effective guide to benchmark the design and usability of mobile websites.
Mobile Speed Matters
In a recent poll conducted by the Google WebMaster team, users were asked to identify what they disliked most about browsing the internet from their smartphones, with the largest group identifying slow load speeds as the biggest problem.
In another piece of research by Nielsen Labs, it was also confirmed that the stress levels of consumers waiting for slow pages to load is equivalent to the stress of watching a horror film!
With 70% of mobile connections worldwide still predicted to be on 3G, it is important that businesses focus on faster loading times as part of any effort to improve usability and customer experience.
Mobile Speed Impact
Up to 53% of smartphone visitors may leave a website if it doesn’t load within the first 3 seconds. Using a tool like Test my Site will enable you to benchmark your performance, while data from your site analytics package will show if speed is having a negative impact on bounce rates (i.e. the number of people who leave having only viewed the page they landed on).
A drop in site load time from five seconds to one second decreases the probability of a user bouncing by more than 90%. It is also estimated that 1s of decrease in load time can raise website conversion rate by upwards of 20%.
Alphabet CEO Larry Page once said that ‘we are no longer living in a mobile first world, we are a mobile only world’. Having a mobile-optimised site is now a mission-critical requirement for any business. More time and effort spent making your site mobile-friendly mean higher conversion rates - and more profit.