Mobile internet usage has almost doubled in the past year, with Australians turning to mobile devices to access the internet even when a computer may be available in the home or in the office. Australians most commonly access the mobile web at work or at home (both 42 per cent), followed by when they are in transit (30 per cent) and when they are out and about (10 per cent).
Long gone are the days when the internet was exclusively accessible from a desktop computer in the lounge room. The splintering of the internet has seen its accessibility spread across a number of mobile devices including smart phones, laptops, tablets, and even gaming consoles. The recent launch of The Daily, the first daily newspaper built exclusively for tablet devices is a solid example of how accessing online content beyond a fixed PC is becoming the norm.
This splintering of the internet has serious implications for businesses. They have the added advantage of customers who have 24 hour access to the internet via their mobile devices; these customers are consistently engaging with mobile websites and applications providing a wealth of valuable data as to their interests and preferences. However, many businesses are faced with a lack of understanding as to how to properly engage their mobile customers.
To engage with the mobile audience, businesses need to think about developing a mobile version of their website – many companies have done this well, such as Facebook and YouTube, while other mobile sites still need improvement. The content and layout of a mobile website needs to be simplified to improve the browsing experience on the small screen. Excessive scrolling should be avoided, pop ups should be removed and image sizes should be reduced. Additionally, text entry fields should be replaced with drop down menus for a streamlined user experience.
Developing a mobile site alone is not enough. To ensure that they are reaching their target audience effectively, businesses need to understand how customers effectively customers are engaging with their brand through the mobile site. By tracking their visit and understanding where drop of points occur, they can optimise their mobile sites to better engage the mobile audience.
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[This post was written by Mark Allison. Mark is the Director of Webtrends Australia and a regular contributor to ABC’s Tech Blog – Ed.]