MintTwist has internally debated the benefits to businesses of creating mobile websites or mobile applications to communicate with their target customer groups in a manner optimised for mobile platforms. Should a dedicated mobile website be created, or should businesses simply allow their mobile users to be served up their 'normal' website in whatever way the browser software on the given mobile platform chooses to do so?
It's a tough question and one which the group mostly debated from an ROI perspective. Given that mobile usage rates in the UK are still fairly low (5% of a websites traffic may come from mobile users), one might be tempted to conclude that for typical small and medium sized b2b businesses the answer is no. However, it is not that clear cut...
Firstly, there is the issue that mobile usage is growing incredibly quickly (see article: What will Smart Phones Do to our Websites? for more on this) and there may well be material benefits for 'getting in quick' (including SEO benefits).
Secondly there is the 'how mobile users are behaving' issue. The data is not entirely accurate at the moment - but early signs are clear: mobile users do not use the internet in the same way on their mobiles as they would do on their PCs or laptops. Usage is driven by factors such as location (users accessing their mobile devices to find information on 'where they physically are at the moment') and impulsiveness (users accessing their mobile devices to find an answer to a fairly immediate question/problem).
Factors such as these all feed in to the ideal way in which the information should be presented to the mobile user, i.e. b2b businesses could have a 'mobile optimised homepage' that clearly presents a clickable telephone number link and clickable interactive Google map so that visitors to the business can quickly get the information that they may be after if they are accessing the website from a mobile device.
A difficult topic for business owners and marketing managers to grapple with; here are MintTwist's high level thoughts on the subject ...
Overview of Recommendations
- Mobile is an important consideration, however, it is not necessarily a vital immediate concern for ‘most’ small businesses (because well-designed website designs will render correctly already)
- The trend towards increased mobile usage is growing
- The differing user goals and usage habits of users on mobile platforms needs to be properly understood on a case by case basis for a useful and high-quality mobile solution to be delivered
- The group felt that businesses that should be immediately addressing mobile users (because they could potentially see a real ROI) are:
- Businesses with large visitor numbers
- Media businesses
- Some retail (e-commerce) businesses
- Businesses running functional websites/website applications
- Other groups of businesses may want a mobile solution (even if it won’t provide them a clear ROI) for other reasons (e.g. to get ahead of the competition, brand identity etc.)
- Two main categorisations of mobile website solution exist. These are outlined by the information chart below:
Mobile Website Solutions vs Mobile Apps
|Solution||Useful for situations like ...||Ballpark Costs||Useful for businesses like ...|
|Mobile websites (extra pages that are specially built to be auto-delivered to mobile users)||Making a ‘normal’ website have a dedicated set of page(s) that will show up (in a manner optimised for small screens) when a user goes to the website on a mobile phone. Principal Benefit: Increased conversion rates from mobile users.||From £3k||e-commerce / Retailb2b businesses with very high visitor numbers / b2c brands|
|Mobile Apps and/or Web Apps* (Android, Apple, Web apps that are downloaded)||Information that can be delivered in a potentially highly functional and potentially highly interactive way. Principal Benefit: Increased engagement levels/brand identity.||From £5k||Any big brand / Web application or Web service systems|
An Example of a Website Optimised for Mobile
MintTwist's mobile optimised website can be viewed here http://m.minttwist.com