Think about your phone. It’s probably a smartphone, right? What do you use it for? Chances are, probably not just talking on the phone (unless you’re my mom). We use our phones for everything: paying for things, reading the news and our email, social media, search, and more. Mobile has overtaken the digital world, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
Our country is addicted to mobile – in 2013, Americans spent 442 billion minutes on our smartphones. Yes, billion. With a B. That’s three times as much as we did in 2010, and those numbers are still increasing. 57% of our total internet usage is with mobile, and that statistic is pretty significant – it means we’ve become a multi-screen majority. 4G technology has allowed for improved internet speeds and usability of mobile devices, which in turn has caused our consumption on mobile to grow rapidly. Because of this, digital media consumption occurs across a variety of platforms, and mobile is increasingly becoming a large chunk of our screen time. Much of this time is spent in combination of multiple devices (or simultaneous device usage), such as watching TV while live-tweeting a show, or texting while working on homework like I’m currently doing. What’s important to note about multi-screen use is something called sequential device usage: when we start a task on one device, and then move to another to complete it. And more often than not, this process begins on a mobile screen, meaning that delivering the best content possible for mobile is key for user engagement throughout the buying process.
Whether visitors are viewing a site on an Android device (about 83.3 million Americans) or through iOS (66.9 million), you’d better believe they want that site (or app) optimized for the device they’re on. Therefore, content should be optimized for mobile and be able to integrate with other devices. This can be done a variety of ways, the most convenient (according to Moz) being responsive web design. RWD allows a website to fit to any device, which means beautiful content delivery and great SEO regardless of the platform. Using text and HTML5 instead of flash makes for better mobile SEO, which can be different than its desktop counterpart. Although RWD can be expensive, it’s less time consuming and very user-friendly. Figuring out what visitors’ goals are through analytics helps businesses tweak their mobile sites for SEO as needed, and lets them know what parts of the site should deliver different content than the desktop version. Dynamic serving should be used in situations where separate sites are needed, as it uses the same URL but sends users to the right site for their device. Another option for engagement that’s growing in popularity is mobile apps.
According to comScore, the majority of our digital media time is actually spent on mobile apps (about 52% in 2013), and 7 out of 8 minutes on a smartphone is spent on apps. Although apps certainly don’t work for every business model, giving users a positive experience on mobile actually increases offline sales. Starbucks has obviously changed how we interact with our smartphones in store with their app, which means they get to engage daily with their audience via mobile. Coupon apps such as Target’s Cartwheel are also widely popular for mobile commerce. Apps are convenient for the consumer, but are really, really important for marketers because they provide prime data about the consumer and they content they’re looking for. Using all this data lets websites and apps serve users the right content at the right time in both the buying process and sequential device usage.
The future of digital has arrived, and it’s mobile. If you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon and optimized your site and search for mobile, I suggest you do so ASAP. I’ll be here questioning your life choices and why you still think it’s okay that I can’t view your site on my iPhone.