Our web development team intuitively understands that smartphone users don't browse the web in the same way as laptop and desktop users. Last week, Forbes published an in-depth look at the changing landscape, contributed by a UK-based SEO and web design firm. Articles like these help us systematize our approach to creating content and developing for the mobile web.
Some noteworthy highlights from the post:
- Mobile users type less, so when they type a search term, it'll be shorter. For example, a traveler looking for flights from Northern Virginia to Los Angeles will most likely Google "IAD to LAX" versus "flights from Dulles to Los Angeles."
- They use voice-recognition search (think Siri, featured in the new Apple iPhone 4S), which tends to follow a "conversational sentence structure." A user will type “best netbooks” in a search bar on a keyboard but will speak into his or her smartphone, “What are the best notebooks available?" (Interestingly, this trend moves in the opposite direction of the above trend).
- "91% of mobile Internet access is to socialize, compared to 79% on desktops." Successful marketing has to be social, targeting individuals and groups in two-way communication.
- Mobile Google searches automatically geo-target. If I were to Google "Thai restaurant" on my smartphone while at The Ivy Group on the Downtown Mall, the top results would be Charlottesville restaurants Monsoon, Downtown Thai, Pad Thai, and Lemongrass (all within 1 mile of the office). Therefore, a company’s website must include geo-targeted content if its business is based on physical proximity.
Mobile web users want to take immediate action, whether booking a flight, getting directions, or finding a blog post. These actions are often last-minute and mission-critical for the user. Some statistics referenced in the article:
70 percent of mobile hotel bookings on UK-based ebookers.com are for same-day check in.
38 percent of mobile bookings through UK-based easyJet.com are for flights departing within 10 days, compared to only 13 percent from desktops.
As we shared last week, one-third of American adults now own a smartphone, according to the Pew Internet and Life Project. With this rapid rate of adoption, we can expect to see a continuing trend in mobile web use. Isn’t it time your company adapt?