Coming from a science, engineering, mathematics, and statistics background, I have a hard time crediting personal perspectives. As my statistics professor used to say, “anecdotal evidence is worthless.” A reasonable perspective for a statistician, perhaps, but in the marketing world, anecdotes are powerful.
It just so happens that the increasing importance of mobile is backed by statistics, but that’s not what I’m going to focus on today. I’m going to talk about my personal experience, and why I think mobile strategy is vital for any organization.
I certainly wasn’t an early adopter of smart phones, but nor was I a holdout. It was also not instantaneous for me: I didn’t go from doing 100% of my browsing on a desktop to doing 90% of it on a phone overnight. It took years, but that’s where I am.
On my morning bus commute, I catch up on Facebook and the various blogs I follow. Facebook and Feedly (my current news aggregator) are, of course, tuned for the mobile experience. There are always links, though, and I’m always following them…. That’s right, I’m visiting your website on my phone. If you want to sell me something, influence me, or even attract my attention for a moment, nine out of ten times, you’ll have to do that through a 4″ display.
My mobile use (90%) doesn’t currently reflect the general population: that number is closer to 50% (obviously this various widely by demographic and industry). However, if you take into account the meteoric trend of mobile, you can imagine a future where 90% of your traffic comes from mobile.
The other thing to consider when thinking about your mobile strategy is that the payoff for mobile optimization is not linear. If your desktop experience isn’t great, I might find it bemusing, but because of the nature of the beast, a poor experience is less aggravating. On my phone, on the other hand, a poor experience can be maddening. Holding my phone right up to my eyes to read tiny text, zooming in, zooming out, scrolling, endless clicking…it’s just more painful on a phone.
When I go to a company’s website on my phone, and it’s a poor experience, it definitely affects my impression of the company, in a big way. Conversely, when I go to a company’s website, and the mobile experience is fantastic, I immediately think “these people deserve my business.”
The printing press is often heralded as the most important event in human culture and communication. I feel that the Internet will one day surpass the importance of the printing press, if it hasn’t already.
The phrase “mobile first” arose as a design methodology, but I think it should be adopted as a more fundamental mantra. I get up in the morning, get on the bus, and the first words I see are on my phone. My life is, quite literally, “mobile first,” and I am not alone. As marketers, as business owners, as brand owners, we must now think mobile first
So, dear reader: if you, like me, and Pop Art, are trying to get noticed on the Internet, the largest, most important communication channel in the history of humanity, do not fail to notice this monumental shift in the way we access that channel.