Think investing in mobile is not worth it? Think again! According to a recent IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, almost 40% of purchases made on Black Friday 2013 were from mobile devices, up 34% on 2012. And with traffic set to overtake desktop in 2014, mobile is a platform not just worth investing in - but essential.
Many argue that mobile is a research platform and doesn't add to the bottom line. While this is decreasingly true according to statistics, one has to wonder if the gap is more to to with inadequate mobile shopping platforms than anything else. And, even if mobile devices are only being used by an individual for research - a bad mobile experience won't encourage them go to your website when they are ready to purchase from their desktop.
So, how do you tackle the mobile marketing world?
Here are 4 tips to get you started:
1 - Get mobile friendly
You need a mobile friendly website. Full stop. App versus mobile site used to be the big debate but now, regardless of whether or not you have an app - you need a mobile friendly website.
Take a look at your analytics and see how many people are coming to your website on mobile devices. By the end of 2013, on average over 40% of our clients' traffic were coming from mobile devices. 2014 is predicted to be the year this number reaches, and exceeds, 50%.
When looking at mobile websites, responsive (or adaptive) sites are best, rather than independent websites such as m. sites. Why? You only have one URL for search engines to crawl and one website to maintain and manage. You also don't have issues with differences in or dealing with duplicate content, and with the ever increasing popularity in social sharing - you are not faced with 404s, slower redirects or losing the visitor completely.
Here's a common scenario: Do you share your latest offers or blogs on your social media? Mobile clicks on these will either be directed to your main website - not the intended mobile site for them - or be redirected to your mobile homepage - not what they were looking for at all. Both of these result in bad user experiences. If the visitor is now on your mobile homepage, and if you haven't lost them already, is the same offer/information on your mobile site for them to find?
The result of such scenarios is lost leads and frustrated visitors.
2 - Target mobile users
In responsive website mobile adaptations, and particularly with independent mobile websites, you need to consider potential differences in what your mobile visitor is looking for over desktop visitors.
Mobile visitors are 44% more likely to be local, so local SEO becomes vital. What do they want? To see your business location ? To call you? Make this kind information overly easy to find.
But, they still might want more or to read more details - skimmed down versions of desktop sites only please half the consumers. And, even making it easy to get to your main website, can result in a bad user experience.
Don't rush your mobile platform, think about what the user wants and needs - look at your current data to give you insights, and develop a platform that will provide good user experiences and aid in the conversion process.
3 - Ensure it is technically compliant
As well as having a mobile friendly website that is targeted to mobile users, you need to make sure it works smoothly with your desktop website and can be found. In 2013, Google introduced new standards for mobile websites to tackle bad user experiences on the platform - and those that fail to meet these standards will see their websites penalised and/or with lower rankings. Google even has it's own mobile crawler to rank mobile pages independently from the desktop websites.
Common mistakes with mobile website including incorrect redirects, slow sitespeed, incorrect formats (flash, video, etc.) and duplicate content.
Use your code to tell Google the website/page is optimised for mobile and flag duplicate content. Use your sitemap to link your main website with your mobile website and have correct, relevant redirects in place.
By failing to correctly identify mobile content as such, you are risking, not only not being found, but having your website penalised. There are additional improvements you can make technically, such as optimising forms and keyboard displays (especially for booking/payment sections of ecommerce websites), that can make the user experience better and ensure you are utilising every opportunity on mobile.
4 - Analyse, Optimise, Analyse
Before making any changes analyse the data you have to gain insights you can use to your advantage when implementing a mobile website. Once changes are made track and analyse to see what impact these have had.
Ensure your Google Analytics is tracking both your websites (if you have a separate platform) and segment the data to compare your mobile visits and visitor journey to your desktop one.
Once you have optimised for mobile, check the difference in visitors - are you getting more mobile visits? Are they better quality visitors? Is there a change in the source of these visits? Is there an improvement in bounce rate, more conversions?
By analysing the visitor journey you can identify areas for further improvement and optimisation. It is a continual cycle and , as mobile continues to grow, the processes and technology will continue to evolve, so keep up with it to ensure your business is getting the most of its online presence.
Make sure you are doing mobile, and make sure you are doing it right.
Cara Shields, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Aró Digital Strategy
For more information see: