Our phones are, at this point, basically an extension of ourselves. In fact, according to a recent report, nearly 60% of all online traffic is driven by smartphones.
Year after year, people are spending more and more time on their mobile devices, and as the breadth of what they can do for us continues to increase, so does their importance to the success of the marketing industry.
There is nothing more annoying than checking out a website on your desktop or laptop computer, leaving the house, trying to show a friend the same content you were just viewing, and realizing that the page is lagging because you’re on your phone.
In this day and age, there is no excuse for differentiation in quality from device to device.
That’s where mobile optimization comes in.
In simple terms, mobile optimization is the idea that visitors who are viewing your site from a mobile device like a phone or tablet should have the same experience as the customer who’s surfing the web at home from their desktop computer.
In order for your webpage to be successfully wired to fit mobile devices specific needs, there are a few things you need to consider.
The things that annoy us about the internet are only emphasized when we deal with these same things on a smaller screen.
For instance, pop up ads. Sure, they’re a pain regardless of what platform you’re viewing them on, but on a phone, they’re generally harder to quickly click out of.
Responsiveness is another common issue. Because of hardware issues, sometimes code needs to be modified to better fit with mobile devices. Simplify when you can, get rid of pages with lots of redirects, and the process will be a much smoother one for your customers.
So, let’s take a look at who is doing this right, and who has some work to do.
- Google Maps
Whether you’re an Apple Maps person, a Google Maps person or a Waze person, we can all agree on one thing. In terms of its adaptation to mobile platforms, Google Maps is at the top of the list. There is literally almost no difference between the mobile website and the actual application, which is rare to say the least. This doesn’t only apply to appearance, either. It’s just as speedy as the application version, which can mean the difference between a good day or a bad day if you’re lost and in a rush.
I’m a big fan of Etsy for a lot of reasons. It’s a fantastic platform for people who hand-make everything from jewelry to bridesmaid’s gifts (and if you’re willing to do some digging, there’s a pretty cool selection of vintage items too). Their website also happens to be great. The homepage features a simple menu of categories like Home & Living and Clothing for you to choose from. Once you click into a category, you can even choose how you’d like to view the individual items. For instance, the collage view that the site uses for trending items allows even the clumsiest of fingers little room for error when it comes to clicking on the item you’re actually interested in.
I will be the first to admit I’ve spent way too much time mindlessly filling out quizzes or scrolling through viral content on Buzzfeed’s site. And I’ve never downloaded the app. Like Etsy, BuzzFeed used the collage format to showcase their most popular pieces of content at the top of their mobile homepage, so you don’t have to search too hard for that quiz about which New York City poke place most closely matches your personality.
There’s no way around this, the app is a must. The mobile site homepage displays a maximum of three videos because the thumbnails haven’t been adjusted correctly for mobile viewing, and it’s far less responsive than its application version. Don’t even waste your time.
The mobile website doesn’t even let you sign in without downloading the app. For a company that is at the forefront of every digital trend, having such a bad translation between mobile site and application is a bad look.
Like a lot of what we talk about on this blog, the smallest changes can make all the difference, and almost any ad agency can put them into practice relatively easily.
I can say from personal experience that when I visit a webpage from my phone and have mobile optimization issues, I’m immediately left with a bad taste in my mouth for that brand, regardless of all the positive experiences I may have had with them in the past.
Take the time to do a quick audit of your sites responsiveness across all of the platforms your customers might be accessing them from. You’ll be saving them a lot of headaches, and increasing your brand image at the same time.