Ready, Steady, Go…

We started with mobile first when designing our new site and this got me thinking about how companies approach the task of creating a new site or even going through a rebrand. I very much doubt that the vast majority of companies even think about mobile let alone having mobile down as a future consideration. Honestly, I wish that these companies would dig their head out of the sand and stop to take a look around every once in a while.

The market moves pretty fast and users are becoming more established with their mobile. You need to be prepared for this.

Now firstly, I’m not a mobile evangelist as desktop is still incredibly important. It will be for sometime to come but, when I see a cataclysmic shift in user behaviour, a change in browser trends facilitated by powerful ‘in-your-hand’ technology; along with a need to engage with content and media whilst away from the desk I wonder how these companies will adapt – if at all they will.

Google have said themselves that having a responsive website will help them crawl the mobile sites content more efficiently after launching a new mobile user agent Googlebot-Mobile Smartphones. They have also said that websites that are optimised for mobile will factor into ad quality, with landing pages performing better in AdWords and driving more traffic (did anyone mention an agenda?).

So, before I have even quoted any statistics on mobile usage, smartphone penetration and mobile commerce revenue generated over Christmas 2012 from mobile, I’ve provided two undeniable nuggets of information.

1. OK, rather a personal view but people do not like to pinch and zoom to read and engage with your website. They wont stay long and will move to your competitor and will probably wont return again. This is a fact
2. Google are openly telling us that mobile does factor into their algorithm. This is a fact.

Now before I begin to sound like the ranting Rafa Benetiz from the 2009 premiership season, companies must surely start to take note. Personally (but I’m sure that I account for a large proportion of the user base) I utterly hate a poor mobile experience.

I’m certainly one of the 61% who leave a website if its not mobile optimised and the 43% who abandoned a transaction due to a poor mobile experience. Scary figures and the sheer ubiquity of mobile should be enough to convince. There is an art to success and digital and that is to forecast where and how your customers are moving and to be one step ahead of them. I bet however that many companies still don’t take head of this warning and I fear for them, I really do.

Throughout the course of 2013, you will see on this blog and in our monthly market watch reports many statistics and market trends that all point to a digital and mobile focused future.

When I refer to digital I do so on the basis of referring to online marketing and all of its components (SEO, PPC, CRO) as well as social media with the usual suspects of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Lastly of course let us not forget Google+!

Google invited me to a conference at the back end of last year. Of course, Google have, to some degree, their own agenda but what was most striking was the fact that three core elements emerged from the day: –

1. Mobile is going to get bigger. Those who are behind now will be left behind. Make the move now.
2. Social will still play a large part of online search. As the platforms mature and customers become savvier, companies need to think out of the box and of course get a Google+ page!
3. Local will gain even more traction in 2013. When I mean local, I mean local search and the utilisation of Google Places. 1 in 3 searches on mobile have a local intent with 81% of users taking action. If you haven’t taken advantage of Google Places then please do so.

Really, there is simply no excuse in not having a mobile presence and the commercial factors that can be gained from mobile are all but positive.

So here is my problem, or rather my fear for 2013. Companies will think it acceptable to simply have a tick in the box with a site that fits the majority of mobile screens, bearing the same navigation and a Google+ account that just exists.

What about the user? Do you even know what they are looking to achieve and want from your service on mobile? Why did they leave the site and what have you done about it?

My view is that 2013 may not be as profound as 2012 but it instead I think it will be the year of the mobile user who will finally grow out of its teenage outbursts and move into a more mature and prudent visitor. As I said at the start of this post, you need to be ready to cater for this user in 2013 because they are going to become one of your customers.