Industry watchers predict that mobile search will reign supreme over next few years In this context, the best New Year resolution that online marketers can take is to improve their optimization strategies for mobile. Of course, online marketers are already making efforts to optimize their websites for mobile devices with responsive design, mobile-optimized themes, and more. However, as mobile strategies vary from business to business, you need to understand what will work best for yours. Here are two studies that throw light on the areas that marketers should focus on in the upcoming year.
A report published by eMarketer in December which gives projections for mobile search spending over the next four years says that mobile search spending in the US is expected to overtake desktop search spending. Search spending includes money invested in both PPC ads and organic SEO with respect to smartphones and tablets. However, the report also says that though marketers are spending more on mobile search, they are not necessarily getting more out it. Even though ROI on mobile search spend is improving, it will continue to trail desktop in 2015. According to the report, this trend will continue until mobile performance is measured more precisely, especially in relation to the effect on sales in physical stores.
Google Analytics allows you to analyze the number of people visiting your website from mobile. The screen that appears when you select Mobile > Overview under the Audience section will show you the amount of traffic that comes from a mobile device. The pie chart view will show you the percentage of your site’s traffic coming from mobile. With expert assistance to analyze this data, you can find out whether the mobile strategies you implemented worked and this will help you optimize your search spending. In fact, professionals with expertise in this area can also help you utilize other analytic tools to measure mobile performance.
Now, there’s the question of which for mobile device you should optimize your results. Citing data from Piper Jaffray and analytics firm Quantcast, Gene Munster (Piper Jaffray analyst) noted that web traffic from Apple iOS devices in the U.S. went up to 61.4 percent from 60.6 percent following the launch of iPhone 6 (nine weeks following the launch) while the traffic from Android devices decreased from 38.4 percent to 37.5 percent during the same period. This indicates that we will see an increased amount of iPhone-based search in the future, which underlines the need to optimize your website for iPhones. Here are some ways to optimize a website for an iPhone:
- Creating an iPhone-specific CSS stylesheet to make your website viewable on the iPhone with the same quality when it is viewed on a PC or Mac
- Creating an Apple icon to make users add your website to their device home page. Without an such an icon, the device will automatically take a screenshot of your website, resulting in an unattractive, vague icon, causing users to delete it
- Remove any flash or animated GIF banners, content or advertisements on your website (as these don’t work on iPhones) or replace them with the JPEG or PNG equivalents
However, Munster points out that iOS overtook Android in U.S. web traffic even before the launch. This is because iOS users are likely to be more engaged with their phones on a daily basis compared to Android users. Moreover, he believes that the iOS contribution from tablets is likely to attract more traffic than a smartphone, and is currently greater than Android’s.
Thus, optimizing for the iPad should take top priority in 2015. This should be easier as Apple seems to have come around on responsive design, say experts. When the iPad was first launched, developers had to build different View Controllers for iPhones and iPads, which was like designing separate web pages for each. Each device had to be targeted using customized layouts, styles, and interactions. However, when Apple introduced iOS 8 earlier this year, they also launched Adaptive UI, which allows developers to use a single View Controller or page with various layout rules to accommodate devices of all sizes. Mobile Safari has a "Request Desktop Site" button and users preferring to browse the web without the barriers of "mobile optimized" websites can now do so easily in iOS 8 with this new option.