Your Competitors Are Optimised For Mobile Devices – Are You?

We’ve all heard of #Mobilegeddon in the digital news of late… if you haven’t where have you been!?

It was deemed that the Google organic sky was blackening for those businesses whose site was not optimised for mobile devices, or deemed mobile friendly, with the fear of being dropped from Google SERP altogether.

This begs the question, Your Competitors Are Optimised For Mobile Devices – Are You? And do you need to be for PPC?

In this post I will look at what it is to be mobile ‘friendly’, or optimised. There are examples of what is and what is not, along with my tips on how to approach optimisation for mobile from a organic and paid POV.

I will say at this stage that I had a decision as to whether to use stats from Bing or Google…. I decided on Bing for the sole reason that they seem to receive far lower coverage in the media than the giant that is Google. So, the figures you’ll see displayed throughout the post are taken from Bing on-line publications.

So… the first question.

Why invest in mobile?

Well to start with, CPCs on mobile are typically 30% cheaper than desktop/laptop CPCs with 3 out of 10 searches on the Yahoo Bing Network undertaken on a mobile device(1).

We’ve seen search become more intuitive on mobile devices of late than desktop, and the recent(ish) introduction of Siri and Cortana has enabled us as a user to find the information we desire via voice command (is it me or are those keyboards on mobiles devices getting smaller? That or my fingers are getting fatter!)

Customers are spending more and more time on mobile devices, with average time on device increasing by some 5 times from 2011 to 2014.

Consumers in general are spending more time on their mobile devices than watching TV or reading a book (OK so they could be reading a book on their mobile device, but you get my drift). As smartphones become more and more the norm to own, over 82%(2) of owners search on and browse the web using their mobile device during the day.

Search is shifting to mobile; over 40%(3) of internet searches on the Yahoo Bing Network are through smartphone devices and it’s estimated by 2017 that searches from mobile devices will outpace those via PCs and laptops.

mobile-time-on-device

Smartphone searches drive conversions at home, in-store and on the go with 70%(4) of mobile conversions occurring within five hours of a mobile search.

This does vary by sector but this is very true for online shopping. Sectors such as travel see a very different conversion path with mobile/tablet searches being undertaken for research purposes and generally conversions following on a desktop/laptop device.

So, we have looked at some impressive stats, but before you consider mobile advertising, ask yourself, ‘Is my site mobile optimised?’

What is a mobile optimised website and why do I need one?

In plain English, a mobile optimised website is a simplified version of a site, designed for smartphones and tablet devices for ease of navigation and readability.

The whittard.co.uk site is mobile optimised, and is shown below on the left. TheMissingBean.co.uk website is not optimised for mobile, and is shown on the right:

mobile-optimised-non-optimised

As you can see, the site with a desktop optimised layout is more difficult to navigate than the mobile optimised version.

Mobile users need, no demand, a suitable experience on your site; it needs to be:

  1. East to load
  2. Easy to read
  3. Easy to interact with

The benefit?

Users are more likely to convert on sites optimised for mobile devices; Bing Ads reported that the smartphone conversion rate was 23% for those not optimised for mobile and 60% for mobile optimised sites(5)… the stats speak for themselves right? If your site is not optimised for mobile you’re losing customers!

30% of users will abandon a purchase from your site if the shopping cart is not optimised for mobile. I’m part of that 30%.

There is nothing more frustrating that attempting to make a purchase and constantly having to zoom in/out of fields within the cart or hit the wrong field as they’re so so small to read, I would much rather skip to a competitor and pay that extra £1.00 if it meant that the shopping experience was optimised for me and my purchase. Have you done similar?

Now, when I say ‘mobile-optimised site’ I do not necessarily mean you need to rush out to your developers and design a new site, you have two options really. Either create a separate site for mobile screens (m.example.com) or create a mobile-friendly responsive design.

Option 1: A separate site for mobile screens

Typically a separate site served on an alternate URL, m.example.com for mobile users.

Pros:

  • A design that is fully optimised to work on smaller screens
  • You have the ability to adjust content to respond to top ranking mobile search queries or products purchased more often on mobile tan desktop
  • Faster load time for the user

Cons:

  • Cost and management time required to monitor and optimise two separate sites
  • SEO is managed seperately on a mobile site
  • Can lack flexibility to adapt to new screen sizes as they’re released

Option 2: A responsive web design (Like the one you’re on now :) )

A responsive design automatically adjusts to different viewing conditions, such as screen size and orientation. Try viewing this post on your tablet and switch between portrait and landscape orientation.

Pros:

  • Management time and costs are lower due to a single URL, sitemap that adapts to all device types automatically and updates apply to all device types

Cons:

  • The site will require a complete overhaul in-terms of architecture and design – a one-off investment

How can I make the most of my mobile optimised site?

There are three key things to remember here, your site must be easy to load, easy to read and easy to engage with.

Optimise the site for speed, I would probably say this is one of very key things to ensure you adhere to at all times. Mobile users want content that is easy to read and engage with yes, but, the very first thing they want is the page to load quickly!

Typically if your page takes longer than 5 seconds to load that’s going to be a bounce and possible an exit. Here is a great post by Pauline Jakober on Site Speed & PPC Performance: Why You Can’t Ignore A Slow Site Anymore. A great read.

Make it easy to read by only using content that is accessible on mobile devices. For example, its no good using Adobe Flash as this is not accessible on iOS devices, instead consider HTML5.

Ensure that any plug-ins you are using are also mobile friendly, otherwise you may end up with a mobile site with a lot of inaccessible content which to a user is a reason to bounce/exit right there and then. Typically HTML5, JPG, GIF and jQuery are good formats to stick to.

Ensure that the design is easy to navigate, limiting distractions You want your user to follow a sales/conversion path so don’t consider bombarding them with 101 reasons to click elsewhere. Less is more.

Keep your content concise  and to the point. Talking of points…. use bullet points to get key messages across. This may sound silly, but consider your font size also, minimise the need for the user to zoom. Make sure that the CTA is clearly visible at all times, having a ‘Menu’ button at the top of the screen makes it visually hard for your user to miss.

mobile-optimised-nav

Make sure your site is touch-friendly, fingers and thumbs, keeping the need to click at a minimum. Buttons are a clear path for users to naturally recognise and follow, so integrate them. Speaking of buttons, make sure these call-to-actions are strong, ‘More info’, ‘Add to cart’ for example.

Mobilise Your PPC Activities

As above, it is important to signal to users that you recognise that they are searching via a mobile device and that they can expect an optimised experience when visiting your site and converting.

Tell potential customers that you are mobile-first.

  • Use keywords and ad text like mobile and smartphone where possible. “Order now from your mobile” for example
  • If you have a mobile-specific URL, be sure to use it… “m.example.com”
  • Utilise mobile-friendly ad extensions such as location, call and app

I guess what I am trying to say here is extensions, extensions EXTENSIONS. Help your customers find the pages they’re seeking with sitelink extensions. If you have bricks and mortar stores then utilise location extensions to allow users to locate their nearest store.

Get more customers on the phone with call extensions, it is sometimes easier for the user to call than browse your site, and example here would be a user looking to locate a last minute hotel room. It’s quicker to call and ask than fill in mobile forms to only then be told no.

starbucks-ad

If we analyse the Starbucks ad to the right, we see that the ad text fits perfectly for mobile screens, we have the options to click-to-call, click to get direction to the nearest store and also to download the app.

All of these options are designed to assist us as a potential customer. The major benefit of engaging the user to download your app is the potential log-term gain of repeat custom. A recommendation here would be optimisation of the sitelinks.

“Conversion rates for smartphone shoppers on mobile-optimised sites is 160% higher than on non-optimised sites” – Bing

If an ad group has both mobile preferred and regular ads, only mobile preferred ads serve on mobile devices, and only regular ads serve on PCs and tablets.

Don’t forget to set up mobile-only ads, this will ensure that you can deliver your desired message to searchers rather than potentially losing that message when not all ad text is displayed on a mobile device from a non-mobile preferred ad.

Make sure as well that you have both mobile preferred and non-mobile preferred extensions set up correctly to ensure they are displayed on the correct device type. Note: mobile preference cannot be set at the ad group level. If all sitelinks in an ad group are set to ‘mobile preferred’ some may be displayed on tablet/PC if there are no other sitelinks available to use.

mobilepreferred

As mentioned above, if you have a mobile site (m.xxxxxxxx) ensure that you utilise the {if mobile} destination URL query string so that you direct mobile users to your mobile optimised site. For example {ifmobile:m.thisis-anexample.com}.

To re-cap then, I hope the above is enough to encourage you to optimise your site and ad campaigns now.

The time we as a user spends on mobile devices is expected to increase even further through 2015 with an estimated 42% of digital media time occurring on smartphones and 12% on tablets(6). Mobile ad performance is accelerating also by 57% growth in year-over-year mobile conversion rates.

As always, I’d love to hear your experiences of optimising for mobile. Have you taken the plunge? Has it worked? Get in-touch using the comments section below.

*1 - Yahoo Bing Network CTR and CPC, Apr - Sepetember 2014 Internal Data. 2 - Nielsen. "The mobile consumer. A Global Snapshot". 3 - Microsoft Internal Data. 4 - xAd/Telmetrics Study, "Mobile Path to Purchase" and Microsoft research. 5 - NetElixir study of 180M shopping session on 53 retail client's sites. 6 - comScore Media metric Multi-Platform.

The post Your Competitors Are Optimised For Mobile Devices – Are You? appeared first on White.net.

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