More people than ever are accessing the Internet through their mobile devices, and it’s time for marketers to catch up to them.
According to Walker Sands Communications, mobile traffic accounted for nearly 13% of all Web traffic in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from 6% in the same period of 2010. And with more consumers getting smartphones and tablets, that number is only projected to increase.
“[The mobile Web] has hit the tipping point where it’s essentially mainstream,” Dan Laloggia, digital marketing manager, tells Marketing Daily. “It’s hit the point where it’s gone big.”
However, many marketers are still behind the curve when it to optimizing their Web sites for mobile devices, says John Fairley, director of digital services for Walker Sands. Marketers, particularly retailers, need to evaluate their mobile Web conversion rates versus those of traditional Internet browsing, he says. While consumers may be willing to fill out several different information fields on a traditional desktop or laptop, they are less likely to do so on the smaller screen of a phone.
“I think it’s important to understand that if your mobile visitor is looking at two pages that fewer than the desktop users are viewing, it’s likely because your Web site doesn’t work well on small-screen devices,” Fairley says. “At some point, your Web site is going to have to be mobile optimized, especially if it’s killing your conversions.”
Among mobile devices, phones still account for the vast majority (81%) of mobile Web traffic, although tablets are showing some gains. Mobile traffic from iPads increased to 16% of all Web traffic in the fourth quarter last year versus 10% for the same period in 2010.
“To some degree, these findings indicate that despite strong sales, the tablet does not make up as large of a portion of mobile traffic as initially anticipated,” Fairley says. “In the near future, however, we can expect tablet traffic to account for a larger portion of total Web traffic.”
According to the company, the majority of mobile Web traffic (46%) is coming from Android users (up 27% over 2010), while iPhone mobile Web traffic is down 17% to 31% of total mobile traffic. While these statistics don’t matter much for the user experience (a mobile-optimized Web site works the same regardless of the operating system), it’s worth noting that many Android tablets (like the Kindle Fire) have smaller screens and are more akin to a mobile phone than a laptop or desktop when accessing the Internet, Fairley says.
“Those small0screen tablets are still a small percentage of the marketplace,” Fairley says. “I would expect them to grow and eventually wind up dominating [mobile Web traffic].”