Should I have a mobile version of my site?
If the mobile web were a stock, now would be the time to buy. If you were to pinpoint the single most important technology that will affect how we do business literally in the next few years, mobile would be a very strong guess.
So two question remain:
The answer to question number one is YES - you need a mobile version of your site.
An example of a mobile website:
Click the image below to get a real-time example of what a typical mobile site looks like. Consider also the desktop version of the WebStrategies website.
1) Mobile web will overtake the desktop within 5 years. (ref. 1)
Not only will the mobile web inevitably overtake the desktop, but also usage and adoption is growing at a much faster rate than the desktop did. In the future, the vast majority of visitors to your website will likely be on a mobile device.
According to a new study by investment firm Morgan Stanley, mobile web is experiencing faster growth than its desktop predecessor did. which forecasts more consumers will access the Internet by mobile devices than PCs within five years. Morgan Stanley's report suggests that the mobile web is now just in it's infancy. What's more – the growth of 3G, videos and social networking are driving factors in the growth of mobile with more and more people having a tendency to interject their social networking interactions into active, “mobile” lives.
Interestingly enough, companies that appear to be at the most risk from the evolution of the mobile web include Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. Microsoft's much anticipated Windows 8 is already aiming at mobile platforms with the specific focus of having a version of the new OS for every type of device, not just desktops.
2. People are using mobile web more and more – in some cases MORE than the traditional desktop.
Statscounter Global Stats report currently shows that since January 2009 Mobile Internet activity has seen an increase by about 7% (see chart below).
A new survey (ref. 2) by the Pew Research Center shows that 25% of consumers actually prefer web browsing on their phone. The survey showed that 68% of smartphone owners use their devices to go online every day.
One of the leading technology companies in the world presents a great case study further showing us how the mobile web is already here and taking over. Japan currently has the highest rate of mobile media consumption, with a whopping 75% of mobile users using connected media.
On March 11 2011 a devastating earthquake hit Japan (ref. 3). What followed was a huge spike in traffic coming from both computer and mobile users. Over the days that followed, mobile Internet traffic continued to increase in volume relative to Internet traffic coming from computers. Many of Japan's population were stranded unable to access their computers or rely on landlines to communicate with one another.
The freedom and mobility that phones provide unquestionably adds to our dependency on them and indirectly our use of them more and more over the desktop computer, especially as their technologies become more and more advanced.
3. Mobile advertising spending will surpass $6.5 billion by 2012/2013 (ref. 4)
If you aren't already sure now is the time to go mobile, perhaps one of the most convincing facts is money expenditure. Ad spend is a great indicator for the current status of an industry. If someone is willing to spend considerable amounts of money on mobile advertising, you can assume there is a pretty good reason for it. It is estimated that mobile advertising spending will surpass $6.5 billion by 2012/2013.
4. Currently half Of U.S. Mobile Consumers Use Cell Phones For Realtime Info Retrieval (ref. 5)
Approximately 51% of U.S. adult cell phone owners have used their phones to get just-in-time information as quickly as possible (i.e. right now, walking down the street) – we are catching on on Japan! About 42% use their phones to “stave off boredom.” For 18-29 year-olds, that percentage is 70%. Evidence shows that more and more people are using their phone not just for browsing the web but as an important part of their every day lives. Smart phones truly are becoming the pocket PC.
5. Desktop websites just don't fit into a tiny screen.
There is a fundamental difference between a desktop/laptop website and a mobile website. The limited amount of screen space on a mobile phone means not only do you have less real estate on which to build your site but contents are also harder to see which means everything has to be bigger than you might choose to display it on a traditional screen. Even with the ability to turn your phone into a horizontal position, the resolution is still small making it difficult to visualize content and read important information as easily as you would on a desktop/laptop screen.
Studies also show you might in fact be losing important opportunities for your business without a mobile solution. (ref. 6)
According to a study by Compuware Corporation in Australia, mobile users are seeking convenient, on-the-go mobile sites and at high speeds, yet most aren’t receiving what they need. The survey showed the majority of users experienced slow or unreliable mobile performance.
62% of mobile web users expect websites to load as quickly, almost as quickly, or faster on their mobile compared to their home computer, but over a third reported that websites load more slowly on their phone. Over 82% of users said they would access websites more often from their phone if the experience were as fast and reliable, with 64% saying they wouldn’t recommend the site if they had troubles accessing it.
There are a few takeaways here, most of which are pretty self-evident: For online companies, it seems wise to consider allocating marketing dollars to improve their customer's mobile experiences, whether that be via mobile site versions or through apps. In the very near future, it seems your customers will be arriving at your website through mobile devices. Phones are just the beginning - smartphones, tablets, e-readers and wireless home appliances add more layers to the mobile cake and it has become more and more apparent that the question is not – will the mobile web become the mainstream online media portal and when? … but rather how many of my competitors have already beaten me to the punch.
(ref. 6) http://www.dynamicbusiness.com.au