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The Ideas Distillery
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Companies need to embrace ‘The Years of Mobile’

It’s surprising to think that the slogan “The future’s bright, the future’s Orange” is nealy 25 years old. It seems true to say that the future for mobile has always been bright. And indeed this is more true now than ever before.


When thinking of the pace of innovation in the mobile space and the tools now available to connected consumers and advertisers alike, it seems more appropriate now to say that the present is bright – and the possibilities for the future are infinite. It’s a sign of the maturity of the sector that we no longer wonder when ‘the year of mobile’ will be – and instead accept that we are currently living through ‘the years of mobile’.


Missing out on future sales and revenue is likely to be the most compelling reason that gearing your website to be used when mobile becomes a priority. A recent study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s found that 43% of the top 100 advertising-orientated websites were still not optimised for mobile.


Put this together with the latest comScore estimates that roughly one third of page visits are done by devices such as smartphones, tablets, games consoles and connected TVs and you have a situation where businesses could really be missing out when it comes to page views.


If these page view figures aren’t enough then think about sales. Domino’s Pizza achieved £1m of sales through mobile in a single week in the UK as early as March 2012 and added an extra £17 million of sales through their use of a Foursquare check-in and rewards programme.


So in addition to missing site traffic – which is bad enough – businesses not optimising for and adopting mobile, not just through their websites but also through apps, will be missing out on sales.


Tablet ownership is forecast to hit 50% in the UK by 2016, and the pressure is on businesses to offer sites and apps that consumers can access on any of the devices they own and still enjoy the same high quality experience as if they were using a desktop or laptop computer.


One of the biggest challenges for businesses is the massive range of different devices and screen sizes available – it’s just not possible to design a specific site for each different combination of screen size and operating system. So they will need to adopt responsive design techniques with different elements of content being shown in a modular fashion according to screen size.


Increasing connection speeds and consumer demand will also mean that businesses need to change their mobile content strategies. Currently companies think about offering ‘snackable’ content via mobile and reserve ‘proper’ content for laptop and desktop consumption.


But improving mobile connection speeds mean that this will change. Within two years of the launch of 4G in the US adoption had grown from 215,000 to 22,300,000 – a massive increase. Everything Everywhere signed up 400,000 subscribers to 4G in the first six months in the UK and with increased competition with the roll-out of 4G to other providers then we’re likely to see big increases in the UK.


This means that consumers will expect full content – including video – via mobiles and other devices, even out of the home, and this should lead to the review of current mobile content strategies.


Finally, businesses need to keep up with consumer excitement about m-commerce and the mobile wallet. In an Internet Advertising Bureau study, UK consumers cited the mobile wallet as the most appealing future development compared to, for example, using a mobile as a remote control in the household.


So, businesses that embrace the mobile future will be offering mobile payment solutions through responsively designed sites that enable consumers to enjoy the same levels of content on the move as they do on their laptops. Those that don’t will miss out on valuable online traffic and sales. It’s this prospect of missing out on sales and revenue that is likely to be the most compelling reason that mobile becomes a priority.




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