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As mobile reaches a tipping point, which side are you on?

7th Aug 2014
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Across all the clients I work with, I always keep an eye on that split between desktop and mobile. Moreover, I especially keep an eye on how that split changes on a yearly basis, given that people tend to receive tablets and smartphones around Christmas.

We have talked, for many years now, about mobile reaching a tipping point – in other words, “mobile” as a marketing concept, reaching a point whereby it becomes de facto and desktop usage enters the minority.

In some cases, we’re almost there. E-commerce, for instance, is on the cusp of that tipping point. Across our e-commerce clients, we’re as close to 50% as we have ever been – we’re seeing an average of 48% mobile & tablet traffic across e-commerce, while b2b clients are seeing an average of 25%.

Even internally, mobile has grown to such an extent that sales teams are reporting that they’re meeting their quotas 65% of the time with mobile, but 22% of the time without. We can’t function without mobile, either in the workplace, or at home.

There are several considerations:

  • -       How much further is it going to grow for you?
  • -       What are you getting out of the mobile / tablet channels?
  • -       If that’s less than desktop, why?
  • -       … and what’s mobile really worth to you?

Is it going to keep on growing?

Well, of course it is. However, mobile probably isn’t going to grow at the exponential rates we’ve previously seen. And this largely depends on where your market is accessing your site.

If it’s mostly at work (think B2B), then unless the British workplace suddenly decides to all use mobile phones instead of desktop computers, then that growth may remain minimal and the proportion may stay below the 50% threshold.

If it’s mostly at home, then you’re soon going to hit that 50% mark if you haven’t already. Probably this Christmas…

What are you getting out of the channels?

I love to split and slice the data through Google Analytics. From an e-commerce view, understanding how revenue and engagement change depending on device is crucial.

In a B2B environment, while conversions appear to mostly come from desktop, do we assume that the contributing mobile traffic has no effect on those conversions? In a complicated decision-making process, let’s not assume that pages aren’t being shared by e-mail around people who are on multiple different devices.

That’s where an advanced understanding of the analytics behind the figures is required. It could start with IP tracking, but an understanding of what leads up to a conversion is the first step to knowing what you’re getting out of each channel. Front-line figures can be misleading.

Take your low-converting mobile out of the equation, and you may hurt your high-converting desktop.

What’s mobile really worth to you?

This is still clouded in some confusion, especially with the longer and more complex lead cycles of B2B. Even in the supposedly more direct world of B2C and e-commerce, are we really sure that the figures we see in Analytics are wholly representative?

We are all at a tipping point, one way or another. Developing our understanding of mobile’s contribution to our funnel is going to be key, given that mobile usage is only going to increase.

From there, we need to start thinking more about intent. As we’ve seen, engagement figures differ sometimes quite wildly between devices – and for a good reason. Whether mobile is a research or a buying platform for your customers, you need to adapt to the ‘mobile mindshift’ that your customers – and your sales teams – have already gone through.

Then you’ll know what mobile’s really worth.


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