by Aaron Baar, Staff Writer, August 30, 2016
Think about how — and especially where — you’re using smartphones and tablets. When you’re moving from one place to another, certainly. In “snackable” moments — such as a coffee shop or grocery-store line — when you have a minute of idle time. And, sadly, despite the warnings, you’re probably using them in your cars.
Very often, however, you’re probably using your smartphone at home. It’s faster than booting up a traditional computer, and it’s right in the palm of your hand.
Indeed, a recent survey of more than 1,000 adults by Burke for the Local Search Association found that 56% of mobile searches were happening from home. Additionally, 57% of those searchers were looking for “general information,” suggesting they were just beginning to search online.
Yet, a shocking number of companies are still slow to get on the mobile-first, mobile-everywhere bandwagon. A separate audit from the LSA found that of 170,000 small- and medium-sized businesses, nearly half (49%) weren’t mobile-ready. Even among larger brands, 80% don’t have a long-term mobile-strategy, and of them nearly a quarter had no mobile strategy whatsoever, according to Econsultancy/Adobe’s “Taking Advantage of the Mobile Opportunity” report.
This, despite the fact that Google has been factoring mobile friendliness in its Web site rankings for just over a year. While Google has said 85% of Web sites are now mobile friendly (and that it will soon be removing the “mobile friendly” designation from the results), the numbers above seem to indicate otherwise.
There’s no shortage of statistics showing how much more we’re using smartphones and tablets over laptops and desktops. The International Business Times last year noted that 20% of Millennials rely exclusively on tablets and smartphones to access the Internet. ComScore earlier this year said the mobile channel represents 65% of all digital media time.
These statistics are only going to grow. The time has come to begin thinking about mobile as more than just another part of the marketing mix. With so many consumers using these devices exclusively and in places where they had previously considered using laptops, it’s time for mobile to move into a pace as the primary gateway of consumer contact. Everything — Web sites, emails, video, and especially search — need to be more than “mobile-optimized” or “mobile first.” They need to be mobile-primary.