By the end of the year there will be more mobile devices than people in the world. An amazing statistic but what does that mean for web marketers and businesses that want to understand how users will spend their time on these devices.
Since 2008 the buzzwords for businesses have been “Download Our New App From the IOS / Play App Store”. Five years on have apps really provided a return on investment or should you be focusing on optimizing your existing website for mobile instead?
Earlier this year mobile statistics website Flurry published some interesting insights into mobile device usage and as you can see from the above graph, most of the mobile usage goes into games, social and entertainment. Whilst traditionally interuptive media would work in these areas, in-app banners are an annoyance for most users, mostly only tolerated in exchange for a zero price app.
So in most of the 80% of mobile usage users aren’t in buying mode, however the 20% browser time is where most active product and buyer searches will take place. As the pareto principle once again shows, that 20% of mobile browser time will be where 80% of people find your business. Perhaps investing in an app might not be such a good return on investment after all.
With Google’s Hummingbird update focusing on understanding voice search better, having a mobile optimized website and providing a great tablet and phone experience could actually be a better investment instead. Making your website responsive will help the shareability of your content and products too and since social forms a big part of the mobile experience there’s nothing worse than clicking on a link and having to pinch and zoom to view the resulting website the user is directed to.
Responsive websites that automatically adjust for various screen sizes are key to remaining competitive in search engines, and essential if you want to fully engage your customers. If your platform is already built on a theme based content management system such as WordPress, upgrading to a mobile responsive theme can be relatively simple, and this is where small businesses can make a big impact for minimal outlay. Larger companies that have not had the foresight to plan for mobile will have to green light mobile optimisation through layers of red tape and it could be years before they become fully mobile responsive.
Whilst apps have their place perhaps the buzz for businesses wanting to build them has waned. For return on investment in digital marketing however, investing in a mobile responsive website design might not have the immediate sizzle but it will certainly give you a firm head start in the race for mobile commerce in the coming years.
Photo credit: Flickr
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