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Rise of the Mobile User


Rise of the Mobile User

Smartphones are a big part of our daily lives. So much so that they impact our relationships, change the way we consume media and modify how we shop online.

This is particularly true for businesses, where the customer journey is far more complex than a decade or two ago. With multi-screen behaviour – whether sequential or simultaneous – consumers are using more than one device when active online and even when shopping in physical stores.

Mobile overtakes desktop

Usage of smartphones grew to around 1.8 billion users in 2014 (comScore image), overtaking desktop for the first time. The amount of goods that were purchased via mobiles in 2014 increased from 20% to 24% since 2013. The UK’s mobile advertising spend increased by 50% to just over 1 billion pounds in 2013.

Here at iThinkMedia, we’ve seen some interesting year-on-year changes in our clients’ organic mobile traffic. Growth figures had previously been positive, hovering around the +30% to +150% mark, but two significant recent increases of +260% & +370% were impressive to say the least.

Year-on-Year Mobile Traffic

A ‘mobile-first’ culture

According to Chris O’Hara, who has written for eConsultancy’s The New Mobile Display Ecosystem, this emerging ‘mobile first’ culture is a result of mobile being the first port of call for most online activity.

Businesses optimising for mobile right now are doing so as part of a survival strategy to remain competitive by not pushing customers away with a poorly optimised mobile offer.

Google’s commitment to high-quality mobile websites can be seen through the introduction of ‘Mobile Friendly’ tags in search listings and from Chrome’s mobile developer tools function. Google also provides its own test allowing webmasters to see and understand the improvements needed for full mobile compatibility.

Paid search crossover

In paid search, Google has introduced a cool carousel feature where users can scroll right to left on shopping feed adverts as shown below. Not only is Google expecting the usability of websites to improve, it is itself committed to improving its own mobile search experience for users.

Google Paid Search Results

The future

So what’s next for Google and mobile technology? It will be interesting to see which new features arise in the next 12 months as devices continue to evolve and screen sizes continue to grow.

Online companies large and small need to be hot on the heels of future changes to retain existing customers from fleeing to better-adapted competitors.

Do you like what Google is doing with mobile search and its related functionality? What are your plans to improve your website’s mobile responsiveness? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

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