More than one-quarter of internet access now comes through mobile devices rather than desktop or laptop computers. In decreasing order, Android phones, iPhones, iPads, Android tablets, and Blackberry devices are used for internet access on the go because of their convenience and ”untethered” quality.
”Mobile-only” internet users are growing in number as well. A 2012 Pew study reported in the Harvard Business Review blog showed that 31% of mobile internet users say they use their mobile device as their primary way to access the internet. Are you convinced yet that audience development requires mobile-friendliness? Read on for some more compelling statistics.
Mobile Users: The Numbers
Pew Internet says that as of May 2013, 63% of adult mobile phone owners used their phones to go online. Moreover, two-thirds of mobile phone owners check their phones for messages, alerts, and calls even when they haven’t noticed their phone ringing or vibrating. Forty-four percent of mobile phone owners sleep with their phone by their beds to make sure they don’t miss any calls, texts, or updates overnight, and 29% of mobile phone owners say their phone is ”something they can’t live without.” If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you are missing out on traffic, audience development, and revenue that comes from those who use their mobile devices for internet access.
What Mobile Users Expect and Need
Pinching and zooming is over. If a mobile user doesn’t find your website to be mobile-friendly, she quickly gives up and goes elsewhere. Increasing numbers of digital publishers and trade publication websites offer apps or mobile sites (created with the help of responsive web design) that give mobile users pages that are sized correctly and that have the necessary mobile navigation tools so that mobile users don’t miss out on anything over the desktop or laptop user. A 2013 Association for Information Science and Technology study found that mobile users want mobile sites to make efficient use of space on web pages, they want to have to type less, want more user control, and more social media sharing options. In other words, you ignore mobile users at your peril.
SEE ALSO: How to Capture the Mobile User
Making Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Whether you choose to create an app or use responsive web design to create a mobile-friendly site, it’s critical that you offer mobile users access to everything that makes your site unique, including multi-media content and audience development features like custom job boards and interactive features. The Association for Information Science and Technology study mentioned above found that mobile users want current headlines rather than ”editor’s picks” placed prominently so they can choose for themselves what to access. Mobile users do not want to feel as if they are missing anything by accessing your site on their phone or tablet. If, for example, your custom job board isn’t mobile-friendly, they won’t use it, and they may abandon your mobile site altogether.
How Content Marketing Can Be Mobile-Friendly
The Content Marketing Institute suggests these five steps for making your content mobile-friendly:
- Make content readable on mobile screens.
- Get the mobile ”look and feel” right with swiping and touch for navigation on devices.
- Create extra, mobile-only assets just for mobile users (like an app that curates your top content).
- Optimize your site rather than adding ”friction” by requiring users to download an app just to access content.
- Incorporate hot mobile social networks like Vine and Instagram into your social media strategy.
Content marketing is effective for your regular desktop website, and it can extend its reach greatly by being optimized for mobile access as well.
International Data Corporation (IDC) recently estimated that by 2015, tablet shipments are expected to top total PC shipments. Smartphone saturation is almost complete, and tablets are expected to gain rapidly, because these devices are useful in so many applications. Field service workers use them on-site, traveling employees can use them to run interactive remote meetings, and some businesses even use tablets as cash registers. There’s reason to believe that between smartphones and tablets, mobile internet access could overtake desktop access sometime in 2014. Audience development in 2014 demands a site that’s mobile-friendly. Is your organization ready?