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Going With the Scroll: 3 Ways to Confirm Mobile Matters

Going With the Scroll: 3 Ways to Confirm Mobile Matters

By Shawn Massie

If you’ve been following along with the Thunder blog this month, you’re probably thinking it’s time to invest in a mobile site or app. Our first post detailed the mobile landscape in 2012 and presented some pretty powerful stats demonstrating how Americans are browsing the web on their phones more than ever these days. Purchases and brand interactions from consumers on the go are soaring and those who are taking advantage of this are winning. Our second post by Gary shows us why mobile keyword research is huge for business owners who want to capture this growing market.

But let’s stop for a moment and consider this question.

Does it really make sense for your business to invest in mobile and how do you prove that?

Other than us telling you mobile is where it’s at right now, how can you tell your employees (or clients) that a mobile site is justified and worth the cost? Sure it’s nice to say “Well everyone is already doing it so we should too!”, but that’s more of a blanket statement than an applicable one for your business. I’m here to show you how you can do the necessary research to prove whether or not going mobile makes sense for you.

Step 1 – Do An Industry Analysis

This might sound obvious, but a sure way to know if mobile is even in the question is to look at competition and evaluate your industry’s customers. If you are a restaurant and you notice that local competitors have mobile sites with easy-to-read menus and quick ways to place to-go orders, you might be heading in the right direction with mobile.

Similarly, your industry might just naturally lend itself to being accessbile on mobile devices, like airline reservations for business travelers on the go. A less obvious industry factor that might spell mobile is if you sell low cost items that don’t require a heavy purchasing decision. Your customers are probably willing to purchase over the phone and a great mobile experience is going to increase conversions.

On the other hand, if you think your industry doesn’t make sense because it’s not a natural fit for mobile, then you should at least go through these next steps to be sure. Either way, you will know with confidence that you’ve made the right decision.

Evaluate Competitors With a Keyword Search On Your Mobile Device

Looking to see who’s already integrating mobile into their marketing strategy? Try searching Google from your phone or tablet for locally targeted keywords using the tools and resources Gary mentioned in his post. Let’s pretend I’m in the news and media industry. If I search for “San Diego news” on my iPhone, I find ABC 10 news has a mobile site with easy-to-read stories and large navigation.

Scrolling further down, I see the top 5 ranking sites have mobile versions, and only San Diego Downtown News is missing a mobile version of their site (which is hard to read without zooming). If I were a new player in this industry, I would know right away that I need to look further into a mobile site.

Step 2 – Evaluate Your Site’s Current Visitors

Here are some questions to consider that will help you get a clearer picture of what’s already happening on your site.

  • Are visitors using mobile devices to browse your site?
  • Do mobile versions of sites like Yelp and Facebook refer you traffic?
  • How do conversions from mobile visits compare to regular visits?

Using Google Analytics to Track Mobile Visits

To answer the first question of whether or not visitors are coming to your site via mobile device, log in to your Google Analytics dashboard and under Standard Reporting go to Mobile > Overview. This will instantaneously tell you how much of your total site traffic is coming from mobile.

As you can see in this example, about 20% of my traffic was mobile. Well I don’t know about you, but 20% is not a number to be ignored. If I break that down by device, I see that most of it came from the iPad or iPhone.

Interesting right? Well using that data, maybe I should consider developing an app instead of a mobile site. Stay tuned for a great post next week on determining which mobile platform is best for you and how to answer that question.

Do Other Mobile Sites Refer Traffic To You?

If you went through your Analytics and completed the previous step, you’ll get an overall picture of how many mobile visits are coming to your site, but it’s equally as important to know where they came from. Why? Consider this statement from Yelp first.

Recommendation engines are huge for referral business, and a lot of it is happening on mobile. Let’s pretend I’m on Yelp’s mobile app and I’m going through their search results. I’ve visited the business’ website on the first two results and viewed their mobile sites which looked good, but didn’t offer what I wanted. Now I’m clicking on your business, which is the 3rd result, and it’s not formatted for mobile. Do you think I’m going to bother exploring your site looking for the right navigation, and ignoring broken images? The answer is probably not. I’ll just hit “back” and view more results because your site doesn’t appear to be as professional as the others.

Think about the other side of that as well. If the first two sites aren’t suited for mobile and then I come across your good-looking mobile site, I’m probably going to go deeper into your site.

How Do Mobile Conversions Compare To Regular Ones?

This is one of the most important factors in deciding if mobile is right for you. If you have visitors purchasing or converting on your site at an average of 5%, but your mobile visitors convert at 8%, then why not boost that rate with a better mobile experience? Certain industries like travel or dining are, of course, more well-suited for mobile purchases but there are creative ways a mobile site could help a business need on the go. It just takes facts like these to drive others on your team to get behind the concept.

Step 3 – Determine Your Site’s Current Mobile Experience

The first two steps in this post are absolute musts for evaluating whether or not mobile is right for you, but this last step is what will push you to act now or later.

Consider the following questions to determine if you need to go mobile now or if you can live with it for a while.

  • Is your site hard to navigate on a phone or tablet?
  • Can you easily achieve your site’s goal or conversion on a mobile device?

How Easy Is It To Navigate Your Site On A Mobile Device?

Websites have all kinds of navigation, but when drop down menus, image links and even sections written in JavaScript come into the equation, mobile devices might not allow a user to navigate your site the intended way. A great tool you can use on your computer is IAB’s Tap Into Mobile, which shows you how your site looks on a mobile device and what weaknesses it may have. If I have 20% of my traffic coming from mobile with an 8% conversion rate, think about how much I could improve sales by simply correcting these weaknesses.

Can Mobile Users Convert On Your Site Easily?

One issue I’ve seen business owners run into on mobile sites is a lack of easy form submissions. The iPhone and Android models have some great type tools when you try typing in a form field but it’s often not enough to make converting easy. Having to zoom in different areas and scrolling left and right to find the submit button can cause users to bounce off the site.

If you’re interested in more ways to optimize your site for mobile users, be sure to check out Meteor Group USA‘s services, which are a favorite of ours.

Putting All The Factors Together

If you’ve completed all 3 steps detailed here, then you should have a much more tailored picture of your business’ mobile needs. This is data you can arm yourself with to feel confident in whatever decision you make. Mobile isn’t the answer for everyone, but if you find any opportunity or reason to do so, hopefully you now know why you’re jumping into this exciting medium!

Shawn Massie

Shawn Massie is the Director of Business Development for Thunder. When he's not mixing and mingling in the industry, he enjoys brewing his own beer and playing beach volleyball.

He's on LinkedIn and Google+ waiting for you to say hi.