Commentary

Search Marketers Need A Mobile Wake-Up Call

If you're in the United States reading this, I'm sure you're one of the 100 million people who own a smartphone. Smartphones have become as common as a pen in a pocket protector of some nerdy aeronautical or computer engineer in the 1980s. Maybe you're even reading these words on the device.

But just because someone owns a smartphone doesn't mean they use it to conduct a search, make a purchase, download a white paper, or complete some other type of conversion. In fact, smartphone clicks convert at one-third the rate of desktops, whereas tablets convert at nearly the same rate as desktops, according to a recent white paper from BrightEdge.

Mobile Internet use now accounts for one out of every three digital media consumption minutes. Not just for consumers, but within the workforce, too. Millions of workers will use mobile business apps in 2013.

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For consumers, mobile clicks convert less often, although total mobile visits grew ten times faster than desktop in the first half of this year compared with last. Mobile traffic grew 125%, while desktop traffic grew 12%.

About 21% of search budgets will go toward mobile this year in the U.S., according to eMarketer. The research firm believes that number will rise to 59.6% by 2017.

What needs to change? Marketers must do a better job of addressing consumer experience on smartphones, according to BrightEdge. While success begins with a better user experience, the white paper suggests paying close attention to common mistakes such as smartphone-only 404s and featuring app download messages that may disrupt the visitor experience to a specific page.

Software and technology lead the market growth of smartphones compared with desktop at 21 times the rate. Financial services follows with 16 times; and real estate, 15 times.

Video consumption drives smartphone conversions. BrightEdge analyzed sites in media and entertainment, travel and hospitality, and ecommerce to find that video drove 1.6 times the conversion rate for smartphone versus desktop, .7 times for travel and hospitality, and .6 times for ecommerce.

The report suggests that brands optimize sites for smartphones should consider hosting video content, and match the content formats that render properly on the devices.

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