Post Updated: 21st July 2017

With 3 billion people accessing the Internet, the mobile Web interface is now a critical channel for lead generation in a world of smart portable devices

There’s no doubt the mobile app revolution changed people’s perception of what’s possible with a portable computing device. Native apps are now a must-have conduit to smart device empowered audiences everywhere. But what about the mobile Web? Should marketers target this interface as a way to reach buyers? The answer is a resounding yes and here’s why.

It’s hard to beat ubiquity

Web browsers have a distinct advantage over other marketing channels in that they are everywhere. From a smart TV to a smart watch, humble HTML can be displayed in a consistent (if not fancy) way.

Back in 2011, ABI Research forecast there will be more than 2 billion mobile devices with HTML5 browsers by 2016, up from 109 million in 2010. And with most devices sold in the developed world now “smart” there’s no stopping the trend to mobile Web saturation.

According to Mary Meeker's 2017 internet trends report, US adults now spend over 6.5 hours every day on the internet including over 3 hours a day on mobile compared to 1 hour a day back in 2011. Since desktop usage has declined slightly, it can safely be assumed that rather than a shift to mobile, users are still using desktop, but continuing to use mobile more and more.

Mobile-friendly Web experiences a marketing must in the smart device era - mobile growth

When smartphones first appeared their mobile Web experience was rudimentary at best, but nowadays all the main desktop browsers – Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE – have mobile app counterparts making the cross-platform experience much more consistent. Moreover, the advancement of mobile Web and broadband technologies has brought everything from JavaScript controls to video playback into the palms of our hands.

As W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee said: “Today we think nothing of watching video and audio natively in the browser, and nothing of running a browser on a phone.”

“We expect to be able to share photos, shop, read the news, and look up information anywhere, on any device. Though they remain invisible to most users, HTML5 and the Open Web Platform are driving these growing user expectations.”

We’re on track for the quality of the mobile Web experience to rival that of today’s desktop Web browsers and marketers must prepare to better serve this growing audience.

Mobile Web means mobile marketing

Apps are great for marketing, but so is the mobile Web and people do appreciate the option of not being forced to use an app to interact with your organization. Take Facebook’s recent move to stop supporting messages via its mobile Web interface in order to push people onto its Messenger app. The decision was derided by many who were quite happy to chat via a mobile browser.

Let’s consider why it’s worthwhile investing in a quality mobile Web experience for your site.

  • Generate more leads. According to the HubSpot eBook, How to Generate Leads with Mobile Marketing, one of the top six tactics to generate more leads is to optimize the content for a mobile screen. Quick tip: mobile Web phone numbers should support click-to-call.
  • A poor mobile Web experience can tarnish your brand. With millions of people searching from their smart devices every day it is important to “look good” when they do land on your site. Back in 2012, Google commissioned research of nearly 1100 adults in the US and found 74 per cent of people are more likely to return to a “mobile friendly” site. And 67 per cent said they are more likely to buy a product or service from a mobile-friendly site.

The good news for marketing managers is support for mobile Web interfaces by enterprise content systems is now better than ever. Responsive design is part of the Web developer’s tool box so investigate the options for making what you have more mobile-friendly.

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