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Need for Speed: How Advanced Technology and Consumer Demands are Shaping the Mobile Web

09/07/2013 14:07 BST | Updated 07/09/2013 10:12 BST
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Mobile web usage has sky-rocketed. According to IDC, mobile web access will surpass that of PCs by 2016. The need therefore, to provide a consistent and enjoyable experience for consumers is becoming increasingly pressing. The effectiveness of a company's mobile strategy has a direct impact on key performance indicators such as total number of visits, page impressions and conversions. And still today, in spite of this importance, many organizations are failing to capitalize on the opportunities or are falling behind their competitors.

Any user of the mobile web can relate to the frustration that is felt when sites do not download correctly to their devices, navigational features do not function properly, the page scrolls downwards for too long or when services cannot be accessed. These apparent gaps between what users want and their current mobile web experience can often lead to unfavourable results for brands that refuse to sit up and pay attention.

As brands seek the ultimate goal of creating a superlative web experience, they must understand the importance of building mobile at the very heart of their business strategy, rather than as a bolt-on solution. The People's Web Report, an independent consumer trend report published by Netbiscuits in May 2013, found that over 25% of respondents spend more than 6 hours on the mobile web each day, with 7% engaging with the web for 12 hours or greater. Close to half of all respondents spent between one and six hours on the mobile web.

These figures demonstrate the level of penetration mobile has already achieved in most parts of the world. And, as penetration increases, so too do user expectations. The report also revealed that 76% of consumers will leave a brands mobile website if it is not optimized for mobile. 44% of consumers would wait to use a PC site, and over 30% simply will not bother with the site at all, or will turn to a competitor instead. This overwhelmingly unforgiving attitude is unlikely to soften with time as technology becomes advanced and the mobile web becomes more widespread. Forcing customers to have a browsing experience incompatible with their mobile device will result in session abandonment.

Most consumers just want a better mobile web experience. Keynote Services found that people are generally disappointed by mobile web speeds, with two thirds citing "slow load times" as their key frustration. A study by Google found that 67% of people are more likely to make a purchase from a mobile friendly site, and even if they like a business, 50% will use them less often if the site is not mobile optimized. According to the People's Web Report, speed (41%), consistency with the PC web experience (33.2%), security (16.2%), and a personalized experience (7.5%), were cited as the most important factors to achieving this goal.

With better capabilities comes higher consumer demand. Since consumers are slowly becoming used to powerful mobile devices that are capable of high-performance tasks, when their needs go unfulfilled they waste little time or thought over finding another provider/site/company that will meet their needs. Brands must be prepared today with a mobile ready website on all devices and platforms , and need to be prepared to meet customer needs, or else risk losing out.