Why mobile matters to your website in 2017

We’ve passed the tipping point: mobile is not just the future, it’s the right here, right now.

In October 2016, there was more traffic via mobiles than desktops and, two years early, the number of global users for mobile surpassed any other kind of connected device.

Across many key metrics mobile claims a greater share of the market than desktop – and it’s still rising.

These drastic changes in how we browse, engage and consume is important for businesses everywhere.

This article sets the mobile vs desktop and m-commerce scene today before considering how your business can benefit from the growth of mobile through a mobile-responsive website or app development.

 

Mobiles top the charts

The way we browse the internet has changed in the last decade. We spend less time sat at our desks, leisurely browsing masses of content on large screens.

Our browsing in 2017 often happens on-the-move, in between meetings and just after we’ve woken up. Browsing on mobiles, we have less patience for slow loading pages or finicky navigation. And we certainly don’t have the attention span or spare time to read reams of content or search out the CTA button we need.

The change in our behaviour has followed the rise of mobiles. And if you’re not awake to it yet, it’s time you were.

A world of mobile browsers

Mobiles and smartphones have steadily increased their importance in our daily lives as desktops’ has waned. In 2017, we spend more than 2.8 hours per day (weekday) or 66 hours per month (UK, 2016) browsing on our ever-present handheld devices.

That daily mobile browsing time has grown from 0.3 hours per day in 2008 – that’s an almost ten-fold increase in under a decade. In the same period, desktop browsing times have flat-lined and, in some metrics, steadily declined.

And once we’re online with our mobiles, what are we doing?

According to Google’s 2017 data, when we’re on our mobiles we’re searching, engaging socially and looking for product information. In terms of sales, mobiles are most important at the beginning of a purchase cycle or sales funnel: 46% of consumers look for inspiration on mobile screens.

But why should mobile matter your business in 2017?

Well, given that digital interactions influenced retail sales to the tune of $2.2 trillion (USD) worldwide in 2015, 2017 is set to have more internet traffic than all previous years of the internet combined, and mobile is the device that has shown steady growth across every year of the past decade, having mobile-friendly website seems like a pretty wise business decision.

Beyond the numbers of users and time spent browsing on mobile, there are two more surprising metrics that’ll convince you of optimising your website for mobile.

This makes having a quality mobile-responsive website an opportunity. Getting mobile-friendly will be an absolute necessity before too long but in 2017, it is still an opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

Conversion rates for mobile were around half what they are on desktops in 2016. This data shows that any business who can crack mobile and deliver at least comparable performance to their desktop website, is going to be on the front foot heading into the future.

Thinking beyond mobile

But this isn’t the time to tip your desktop in the bin or throw your laptop out of the window. With the average UK adult owning between three and four connected devices, optimising your website for all devices is the real lesson in this data.

Mobile is on the rise—a seemingly unstoppable one at that—but getting a high-quality website that is optimised for desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile screens is crucial in 2017.

According to Google, 83% of adults have two or more devices connected to the internet and so optimising for only one kind of device only means you’re shutting off opportunities elsewhere.

And, as if these reasons weren’t enough, Google is also paying serious attention to the rise of the smartphone. Since May 2016, Google has been increasing the effect of mobile-friendliness of websites on your SEO ranking signal. This means that a mobile-optimised website will, simply, rank better than a non-optimised site.

How to see if you’re mobile-ready in 2017

There are two ways to see if you’re already doing mobile well.

1) Go and input your URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

It’ll tell you simply whether or not Google thinks your website is mobile-friendly, and give you the option to tell Google the (hopefully) good news. But this only means your website meets the minimum standards, so it’s good to keep digging…

2) Head to your Google Analytics and check out the share of your visitors that come from mobile.

You’ll find this metric under Acquisition—Search Console—Devices. Other key metrics to look at are average session time and bounce rate. If you’ve got a high bounce rate from mobile, or very short session times, likelihood is your website is not yet mobile optimised.

How to get an optimised mobile-responsive web design

You can get mobile-friendly in a number of different ways, all of which are only a phone call away

You could develop your own business app (82% of digital time on mobile is spent on apps). A business app gives you unrivalled control over the user experience as each device can have different software optimised for it. If you’ve got the capacity for it, an app is worth talking about.

But app or not app, the key foundation to being mobile-friendly is getting a fully responsive web design

A responsive web design is about more than just resizing your images to fit a smaller screen (although this is important). To be fully mobile-responsive, a website should also boast content that reflects the different user behaviours and expectations displayed on mobile.

Short, punchy content with clear, well-spaced CTAs mean the fast-scrolling, short-attention-span mobile visitor will stay engaged. And by providing excellent navigation—perhaps even using a ‘sticky’ menu so it’s always accessible—you’ll enable visitors to find what they want quickly and easily.

Making your website mobile-responsive doesn’t detract from your website’s desktop performance. The simplified content and streamlined design of your mobile site simply responds to the different way we browse on a mobile.

With a responsive web design, you can ensure that what you do brilliantly on a desktop translates effectively to mobile. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on the 61% of digital minutes we spend online on our mobiles in 2017.

Take a look at some great examples of mobile-responsive web designs then talk to us about taking advantage of the opportunity presented by the rise of mobile for your business.

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