A Mobile Website is No Longer ‘Optional’

mobile growth

Smartphone uptake has been phenomenal in recent years. As a society we’ve simply become accustomed to having the Internet in our pockets. We expect it. We expect to be able to check train times, look up cinema times and even shop on our mobile devices, wherever we are and at whatever time of day we choose to do so.

In fact, it is estimated than ten years from now, mobile commerce will be worth £19 billion globally.

An interesting statistic that came out of the Google@Manchester event we attended last week was this:

Only 17% of UK businesses have a mobile website – but 45% of consumers use their smartphones in the shopping process!!

Something doesn’t add up there.

Our own mobile research indicated that, by July 2011, more than 12% of web visits originated from a mobile device. More recent figures suggest this has reached closer to 20% and the rate of growth is phenomenal.

Mobile Search

Google’s own keyword tool enables you to see search data from both desktops and mobile devices and this can be used to illustrate the growth. Let’s take a look at three of the most competitive UK keywords.

The search volumes here are based on an average of the previous 12 months.

mobile searches

While the figures for mobile search are significant, they are still dwarfed by searches from desktops. But when you look at the rate of growth, this is where it becomes staggeringly obvious that mobile is only going to get bigger and that it’s going to happen quickly. In December 2010, the mobile search volumes (of course, some seasonal fluctuations, particularly in holidays, will apply) were:

  • Cheap holidays – 12,100
  • Car insurance – 12,100
  • Loans – 9,900

Figures aren’t yet available for October and November 2011, but we’ll update this when they are.

A Mobile Site is Essential

Wherever you get your website traffic from, whether it’s SEO, PPC, social media or other forms of advertising, there is a cost involved. This investment in generating qualified traffic to your site becomes less valuable if 20% of your visitors can’t navigate your site properly and are just going to leave and find a competitor who does have a mobile solution.

As consumers, we’ve come to expect an easy browsing experience. If we’re looking to buy something online, we want an easy purchasing experience. If we have to work at it, we’ll go elsewhere.

A mobile website isn’t something that’s just ‘nice to have.’ With the number of smartphone users growing and mobile web visitors making up a fast increasing proportion of web traffic, failing to cater to your mobile visitors could effectively mean losing out on the possibility of ever engaging 20% (or more!) of your audience.

Dec 7, 2011
Stacey MacNaught


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