In October 2016, web browsing on mobile devices overtook desktop browsing for the first time. With this rise of mobile web surfing, it is more important than ever that your website is optimized for mobile viewing. Right now, mobile sites are lagging behind desktop sites in many key metrics, including average time on site, pages per visit, and bounce rate. Driving conversions on a mobile site is done differently than on a desktop or tablet and must be approached differently. If you aren’t focusing on mobile moving forward, you are already falling behind.
Need for Speed
According to a study done by Google in January of 2017, the average mobile landing page takes 22 seconds to fully load; a majority of people won’t wait more than three seconds for a page to load, let alone 22. For every second delay in mobile page load, conversions can fall by up to 20%. Trimming the fat by compressing and removing images is one way to dramatically increase speed and conversions. Speed is additionally important when it comes to mobile versus desktop due to the inconsistencies of cellular data network speeds versus wi-fi and wired connections that are generally used by desktops. 70% of cellular network connections globally will occur at 3G or slower speeds through 2020, so ensuring your mobile site is speedy is important in reaching as many users as possible.
Content is King
This digital marketer’s golden rule is just as important to mobile site optimization as it is to all other parts of internet marketing. Content on your mobile site should be quickly consumable and easily accessible by fast-moving mobile users. Be aware of things like paragraph length, which may look fine on a desktop but is an imposing wall of text on mobile. Avoid the dreaded pinch and zoom that will drive away users by ensuring that buttons and form fields are easily clickable and accessible to thumbs and fingers. Many users will also favor scrolling over clicking because it is easier to maneuver with a finger. Be aware of how your images will take up valuable space on the smaller screen and how intrusive pop-ups are to your user.
Site Metrics You Should Be Watching
Analyzing mobile metrics in the same way that you are analyzing desktop metrics is ineffective in understanding your mobile users and how you can better their time on your site. The mobile experience is different than a desktop one, and website analytics will reflect that. For example, a lower rate of pages per session and time on site is a worrisome metric, but on a mobile site, it may mean that users were able to find the information they needed quicker and easier. If your mobile users are spending longer on your site and visiting more pages, its might be a sign that they are not finding what they need, especially if your conversions are low. Bounce rate is also vital in understanding the success of your mobile site. Your landing page should be attractive and easy to navigate for the mobile user. If users are leaving immediately, it’s a bad sign.
Know Your Mobile Audience
Mobile users and desktop users have different needs and goals, and to best serve those needs and meet those goals, it’s vital that you understand what they are. Many mobile sessions are driven by search, so if you are looking to drive mobile conversions, making sure your SEO is updated will help drive users to your site. Mobile users are often looking for information quickly and don’t want to have to spend too much time searching your site, unlike desktop users that are more likely to browse a site for a longer period of time and explore more pages on a site. To ensure users don’t leave your site for a competitor’s, make information easy to find and digest. Additionally, Google and other search engines prefer mobile sites that are fast and optimized for users, so you have a better chance of ranking higher in search results if you have a good mobile site.
Three-quarters of Americans now own smartphones, and if you are not catering to those smartphone users, you are getting left in the digital dust. Optimizing your mobile site is vital to cutting ahead in your industry and driving conversions. Speed, mobile-friendly content, and understanding the mobile user and how they will use your site should be the foundational pillars of your mobile marketing game plan. Mobile can no longer be an afterthought, it needs to be a priority in your digital marketing strategy.