Two hundred thirty four million Americans, or 75 percent of the U.S. population, used a mobile device between September and December last year. Of these mobile users, 36.4 percent accessed the Internet from their phone via a mobile web browser. (Source: Comscore).
This information is telling of a shift in how audiences consume information. In response, marketers across the country are launching mobile versions of their websites to more effectively capture and convert this traffic to leads.
Mobile Web Browsing
Mobile browsing habits vary significantly when compared to desktop browsing due to smaller screen sizes and in some cases lack of a pointing device. According to the W3C, “mobile users are typically less interested in lengthy documents or in browsing. They are likely to have more immediate and goal-directed intentions than desktop web users.”
For this reason, mobile websites should not be miniaturized versions of desktop sites. Instead, they should be simplified versions — basic in their navigation, design and content, and tailored to audiences on the move.
Following are some suggestions for marketers planning to build a mobile website, or looking to improve the performance of an existing one.
The mobile version of a site does not need to be as robust as a desktop site.
Review your desktop site and identify the 3-5 main features or pages you believe mobile visitors are interested in. This may include account login, directions, contact information, basic product/service descriptions or resource content.
Next, review your web analytics to confirm your thinking. Look to see what pages your mobile audiences are visiting. Also, review what queries they are using on search engines to find your site, as well as what other sources are driving traffic.
Now that you’ve got the pages identified, make navigating the site simple.
On the homepage, main navigation options simple to avoid scrolling when possible. Also, don’t overload users with too many navigation options.
For all other pages, offer navigation options that will help visitors get back to the homepage or top-level pages should they need to.
Unlike desktop computers, mobile devices are not very conducive to reading lengthy, text-heavy pages. Make sure your content gets straight to the point, and that the most pertinent information is at the top.
Avoid large images and unnecessary design graphics that may slow the load time of the page. Mobile devices have relatively slow Internet connection. Also, it is recommended to avoid Flash because not all devices (namely iPhones) support it.
Don’t include tables because they may appear skewed, depending on the device.
Calls to Action
To improve mobile conversions, focus on optimizing calls to action.
Web forms are often cumbersome to navigate and difficult to complete on mobile phones. Make sure to only include necessary fields — when forms are too long visitors may get frustrated and abandon them.
Phone calls are becoming the primary method consumers use to interact with mobile websites. Place a phone number somewhere near the top of every page and make it easy to find. Most mobile phones have a click-to-call feature that lets users quickly dial.
Conversion Tracking and Reporting
Analytic tracking and reporting is important to continually improve conversion and site performance.
Web analytics work just the same on mobile sites as they do on desktop websites. With analytics software, marketers can begin to visualize how people arrive at the site, what they are doing there, and what types of conversions are happening.
With phone calls being the primary method consumers use to interact with mobile websites, you may also want to consider a call tracking solution to provide lead intelligence on mobile users. If you do not understand or attribute phone conversions correctly to online marketing efforts, you likely are missing 50 to 80 percent of your mobile marketing web conversions.
Download and read Mongoose Metrics’ 3-part Mobile Marketing white paper series to learn more about optimizing mobile marketing.
Have you optimized your mobile site for visitors and conversion tracking? We’d be interested to hear your experience.