It's Official: Mobile Search Surpasses Desktop Searches on Google
Creativity Marketing Transformation

It’s Official: Mobile Search Surpasses Desktop Searches on Google

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If you’ve put mobile marketing on the back burner, it’s time to get serious. Mobile searches now account for more than half of all searches in 10 countries, including the U.S., Google reports.

The new mobile milestone comes on the heels of Google’s mobile-friendly update, commonly known as Mobilegeddon. The update boosted the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results—meaning sites with easily readable text, playable content, and minimal horizontal scrolling enjoyed a search ranking boost.

Mobile or BustCloseup of business woman hand touch phone over laptop keyboard

For brands, the writing should be on the wall: Get with the mobile program or lose out to competitors with more mobile marketing savvy. Sadly, many companies are dragging their heels when it comes to optimizing their sites for mobile. Forrester Research found that among the companies surveyed, only 38 percent of their webpages are mobile friendly—and that’s an optimistic outlook.

Even some of the world’s top brands have failed to pass the new mobile-friendly test. Momentology looked at Interbrand’s top 100 global brands to see if they met Google’s mobile-friendly standard. Eighty-five percent did, but 15 brands failed, including brand juggernauts Nike, Nestlé, and MasterCard. Generally, the brands failed due to poor usability, including using too-small text and placing links too close together. Shockingly, some of these top brands, such as Canon, Kleenex, and DHL, don’t appear to have mobile-facing sites at all.

Ultimately, companies big and small will need to heed Google’s warning and upgrade their sites for a better mobile experience. Mobile usage shows no sign of slowing down, and that means more people—not less—will be utilizing mobile search for products and services.

Approaching the Mobile Web

Responsive and adaptive design types offer two different approaches to creating mobile-friendly sites, both of which offer certain advantages (and some caveats), so the choice on strategy ultimately depends on a company’s needs.

  • Responsive design delivers flexibility. The basic idea is that one single, fluid design can be emulated across devices of different sizes and types, creating a consistent experience across each device. However, load time can be slower with a responsive design.
  • Adaptive design, on the other hand, allows for variation across devices. Users get an optimized experience depending on the device they use. American Airlines, for example, delivers an interactive slideshow with large images to its desktop users; mobile users, on the other hand, get a site focused on top mobile needs like checking into flights or viewing a reservation. Adaptive design captures user intent: Desktop users get an experience most applicable to their needs, while mobile users get a different experience tailored to their different needs. But this strategy can be more time- and cost-intensive.

If a website overhaul isn’t in the cards, there are some baby steps companies can take to make a site more mobile-friendly. To start, simplify: Use larger fonts, put critical information toward the top of the page, and design bigger buttons that are easier to tap. At the very least, put your business’s name, phone number, and address at the top-left of the page.

Then, commit to making the switch to a fully mobile-friendly website. If potential customers can’t view your site from a smartphone, it’s all too easy for them to simply tap their way to companies with better, mobile-friendly sites. Given the growth of mobile, businesses can’t afford to ignore the rapid encroachment of mobile any longer.

For more on digital media strategies, check out Skyword’s webinar on increasing audience loyalty through new digital media.

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