Brands urged to ‘wake up’ to mobile web

Brands have been urged to “wake up” and ensure their websites are mobile-ready or face losing billions in sales as new research finds consumer demand for mobile optimised sites is set to rocket next year.

Premier Inn
Premier Inn has a mobile site that ‘upsells’ towards an app.

More than two-thirds of customers (69 per cent) in an IAB and Crowd DNA study say mobile optimised sites are a necessity for brands next year, just behind the top-rated “appealing” technology: the mobile wallet (74 per cent).

Elsewhere, Deloitte forecast £3.5bn of retail sales will be purchased or influenced by smartphones this Christmas.

However, despite consumers’ increasing demand for mobile technologies, the IAB claimed last month just 37 of the top 100 advertisers have mobile-optimised sites.

Alex Kozloff, the IAB’s senior mobile manager, says while some barriers to creating mobile-optimised sites are understandable – such as legacy CMS systems that would need drastic upgrades and confusion about which department should be responsible – consumer behaviour towards mobile is moving “too quickly” for brands to do nothing.

To make the most out of their mobile websites, Kozloff advises brands look at the functionality that is unique to mobile devices, such as swipe technology and geolocation, to meet consumers’ expectations about what a mobile web experience should look like.

Dave Coplin, Microsoft’s chief envisioning officer, says when thinking about the content to use on mobile sites brands should take time to think about why consumers would be looking engage with them on the go.

He adds: “If you just have an informative desktop site, think differently and have a really honest conversation and ask whether there’s something specific [consumers want to know about your brand on mobile]. Mobile is an active device, it’s about doing things right now, so what’s your action or orientation?”

Coplin also believes that what brands are doing right now on the mobile web is not too dissimilar with the early days of social, in which brands tried to “throw stuff” at a new channel without considering its idiosyncrasies.

“An easy mistake to make is to simply treat mobile like your other marketing channels. Remember [that mobiles and tablets] are really personal devices in a way that PCs never were, which makes a massive difference in terms of customisation and putting the consumer front and centre of the experience,” he adds.

While building for the mobile web is of increasing importance, Adam Levene, chief strategy officer for Grapple Mobile, advises that brands should continue to market their apps in order to reach their most loyal customers. Premier Inn, a Grapple client, has an interstitial page on the mobile web that upsells the choice to download its app, for example.

Levene adds: “Every brand needs to get their head around the mobile web but they can’t just use that to stop there. There’s a real urgency for brands to wake up and realise the change towards mobile and ensure the experience is richer and slicker than it is currently.”

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