5 Reasons Why Ofcom Supports Optimising Your Website For Mobile

We talk to a lot of organisations who know that optimising their websites for mobile devices is important, but are having trouble justifying the costs to get the work done.

Ofcom have recently released their Communications Market Report 2014, which contains a lot of great facts and figures supporting the rise in mobile. As anticipated, mobile internet usage in the UK is on the rise, with more people spending longer using their mobile devices to browse, shop, inform and entertain.

Particularly relevant for B2C organisations, the report outlines research findings across all communication platforms for the year ending Q1 2014. 

Here I’ve summarised some of the key findings from the Internet and Web-Based Content section of the report, to help support your case for implementing mobile optimisation plans. 

1) Mobile devices have overtaken laptops/desktops in importance

It was predicted back in 2012 that by the end of 2014, more people will be accessing the internet via mobile phones than desktops. Although this prediction has proven to be a tad ambitious, with 45.3 million unique internet views coming from laptop/desktop devices versus 30.2 million coming from mobile devices (indicating an increase of 11%), the gap between the two is definitely decreasing. This is bolstered by the fact that 52% of UK adults said that their smartphone or tablet was the most important device for internet access. 

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as the rise of mobile usage has been a hot topic for a while now. With that in mind, integrating a mobile strategy into your digital plans should definitely be on your radar by now. 

61% of UK adults now own a smartphone, which, according to data from marketing consultancy We Are Social, equates to nearly half of all active mobile phones in the UK.  Tablet devices have also seen a steep increase in sales; 44% of UK households own a tablet device – nearly double the number in Q1 2013 and a four-fold increase since Q1 2012. 

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With new technology, such as smartwatches, hitting the shelves, the face of mobile could be set to change even more dramatically. 

2) People are spending longer on their mobile devices

Whilst desktops and laptops remain the most used devices for accessing the internet, there is a definite shift in people using mobile devices for longer periods of time. Ofcom recorded that the average time spent webpage browsing on mobile phones was up 2.5%, whilst We Are Social discovered that mobile internet users spend an average of 1hr 32min a day using their devices to access the internet.

Ofcom’s research into social media use demonstrates this increasing shift away from laptop/desktop browsing: 

  • The number of users accessing Facebook via a laptop/desktop has declined 2.1 million since 2012.
  • At Q1 2014, Facebook’s year-on-year mobile audience had increased from 19 million to 21.1 million, representing an 11% increase.
  • Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn all added 0.5 million to their mobile audiences, representing growth of 6.3%, 19.2% and 20.8% respectively.  

3) People are using mobile devices to shop (and spend) more

Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to search for stores, products, price comparisons and reviews, with one in four mobile internet users purchasing goods or services on their handset.mobile_shopping

41% of mobile internet consumers claimed to spend more than £100 per month online, and one in ten claimed to spend more than £300 per month online.

With these statistics in mind, visibility on search engines is imperative. For example, Google received 47 million visitors who spent 22 billion minutes browsing per month. 29% per cent of mobile users use Google as their sole search engine on their device. That equates to nearly nine million people a month, just on Google alone. If you are an ecommerce business, being easily found on the search engines is imperative.

What’s equally as important, particularly for mobile devices, is that when a consumer then visits your site, they can navigate and purchase with ease. According to research by client acquisition specialist Dan Giordano, 57% of mobile users will not recommend a business that has an incompatible mobile website, and 40% of users will switch to a competitor’s website if they experience even the slightest problem accessing the site they are currently trying to view.

4) Google says so

Google has said that "making a website that is friendly to smartphone users has now become a critical part of website management."

If Google recommends it, then regardless of whether your site is ecommerce, B2B or publishing, if you deliver content effectively for mobile users, you will score points with the search engines and potentially rank higher than your mobile-incompatible competitors.  

Google’s ultimate goal is to provide searchers with the best possible search experience, therefore having a website that is misconfigured for mobile devices could see the engine not displaying your site at all in its organic search results. 

It is thought that Google is currently working on a mobile algorithm, that will reward mobile-optimised sites with higher rankings, and punish those who do not provide a good mobile user experience. 

5) Your competitors are doing it (and if they're not, you could benefit!)

Mobile advertising continues to drive digital advertising growth. Digital advertising spend grew to £6.3bn in 2013, up by £852m in 2012. More than half of this growth can be attributed to mobile advertising, which grew by 93%.  These advertising statistics indicate that organisations are increasingly integrating digital in to their marketing spend, as an integral element to driving growth.

In regards to B2B organisations, eConsultancy research from February 2014 found that of the FTSE 100 companies, only two used responsive design, 42 had a dedicated mobile site, and 56 did not provide a mobile experience at all. As highlighted in the above section, Google favours mobile optimised sites, regardless of whether you are B2C or B2B. Having a mobile optimised site could give you competitive advantage. 

Consider your mobile options

The internet is awash with articles on how not having a mobile website will negatively impact your business, and it’s not all hype. However, it is important to consider the correct type of mobile experience for your organisation – a responsive site, for example, may not be the best solution, as it could lead to compromises having to be made on your desktop site that could, in turn, lead to user dissatisfaction.

There is no 'one size fits all' solution – you must consider your user experience, account analytics and undertake robust testing to ensure you implement the best mobile strategy for your organisation.  What is definite, is that in B2C, mobile usage is likely to be the main method your audience will access your website in the very near future, and you need to plan how to handle that now.

Any questions?

If you need more information or have any questions just get in touch and we'd be happy to answer them for you.