Need Proof Mobile Matters More than Ever? Here you go.

By Bob West

Companies expressing concern or unhappiness with their own websites regularly focus on two key areas that need improvement: ease of updating, and an outdated design. Rarely do these companies note the third key area that will get more growers or retailers alike to visit their website and spend more time on it – mobile optimization.

No one doubts the growth of mobile web browsing at this point, yet many of the same marketers who use their smartphones and tablets to get online don’t seem phased by their own website’s flawed appearance on such a device.

This has to change. If you don’t believe me that the mobile readiness of your website matters, take a look at the growth in mobile visits over the past three years for Meister Media’s eight brand websites:

Brand 2012 Mobile Traffic 2013 Mobile Traffic 2014 Mobile Traffic
GrowingProduce.com 13.4% 20.0% 21.8%
GreenhouseGrower.com 12.8% 19.1% 27.6%
TodaysGardenCenter.com 12.9% 17.7% 19.7%
CropLife.com 16.4% 19.4% 26.1%
PrecisionAg.com 13.9% 21.4% 27.5%
CottonGrower.com 17.8% 22.4% 38.5%
FarmChemicalsInternational.com 6.5% 13.3% 14.7%
Hortalizas.com 6.0% 14.1% 22.7%

 

The percentage of visits to GreenhouseGrower.com that occur on a mobile device have more than doubled in just two years, and the growth has been even more dramatic for other markets. These numbers are not just about what is happening at Meister Media – they speak to how these audiences (your customers!) get online, regardless of the website they visit.

This trend can’t be denied. And, given that Apple sold nearly 400,000 iPhones and almost 150,000 iPads every day for the second quarter of 2014 plus 10 million iPhone 6s the first weekend they were available, your website’s mobile performance matters more than ever.

A deeper dive into our GoogleAnalytics bears out the importance of having mobile-friendly websites when we examine the pages / visit and time on site metrics by device on our own websites. Re-designing our websites with an emphasis on their mobile presentation in 2014 has led to significant increases in these numbers for us – the clearest indication of a better user experience.

The explosion of the tablet market means looking beyond the simple desktop vs. mobile analysis and understanding which devices your audience prefer. Again, here are the numbers on our websites for the third quarter of 2014:

Brand Desktop Traffic Phone Traffic Tablet Traffic
GrowingProduce.com 78.2% 15.0% 6.8%
GreenhouseGrower.com 72.3% 16.0% 11.6%
TodaysGardenCenter.com 80.3% 11.4% 8.3%
CropLife.com 73.9% 18.0% 8.1%
PrecisionAg.com 72.5% 18.3% 9.2%
CottonGrower.com 61.6% 29.0% 9.5%
FarmChemicalsInternational.com 85.3% 10.6% 4.1%
Hortalizas.com 77.3% 17.6% 5.1%

 

So, slightly more than 78.2% of website visits to GrowingProduce.com in July – September 2014 occurred on a computer while 15.0% of the visits were on a phone and 6.8% took place via a tablet. While these audiences gravitate toward tablets, their considerable reliance on smartphones underscores the need for mobile-friendly websites.

Of course, this begs the question, What does this mean for marketers? At the very least, check out your website on your phone. How does it look? How well does the navigation function? Can the content be read easily? If not, then what do the customers who visit your site on their phone think? Secondly, you have to be monitoring the mobile traffic to your website. (Easily done in Google Analytics – call me if you don’t know how!)

The good news is that web development languages like HTML5 make it easier than ever to create a mobile-friendly site without breaking the budget. If your site falls short of your goals, this may well be the time to fix it.

Now, don’t even get me started on what this trend toward mobile traffic means for any enewsletters or email marketing you produce …

Bob West is the Director of Interactive Sales for Meister Media. For more information on these audience trends or to discuss how Meister Media can help your company update its website, contact him at 440/602-9129 or bwest@meistermedia.com.

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