When Google announced the update to its mobile search algorithm, the message was loud and clear: either start delivering mobile-friendly experiences or risk losing your position in Google search.
Did websites take Google’s warning to heart?
We analyzed the sites of the top AdWords spenders and found an 83% increase in mobile-friendliness between Q1 and Q2.
However, only 1/3 of those sites moved beyond just mobile-friendliness to offer fully optimized mobile experiences.
A MORE MOBILE-FRIENDLY WEB
We used our MoovScore tool, which measures mobile-friendliness as part of its evaluation of mobile site performance, to track mobile-friendliness among the top 3,500 AdWords spenders in Q1 and Q2.
What we discovered was an 83% increase in the number of mobile-friendly sites, increasing from 17% in March to 31% in June.
ARE SITES GOING BEYOND MOBILE-FRIENDLY?
We dug deeper into the data find out: are these top AdWords spenders stopping at qualifying as “mobile-friendly”?
Or are they taking the important additional step, making optimizations not just for smaller screens but also for dimensions like site speed and context to provide optimized mobile experiences?
We looked at the top AdWords sites which became mobile-friendly between March and June and found that while those 600 sites were all now mobile-friendly, only 200 were also mobile experience optimized.
While they all met Google’s mobile-friendly requirements, ⅔ had yet to move beyond meeting the basic mobile-friendly criteria to provide truly mobile optimized experiences.
TOP 5 INDUSTRIES AFTER MOBILEGEDDON
A closer look revealed that there was some variation across industries.
Five industries stood out as having significant levels of mobile optimization compared to the rest: travel & hospitality, auto, retail, manufacturing and** insurance**.
Interestingly, even in the top five industries, at most about 1 in 2 sites was mobile experience optimized.
WHAT IS MOBILE EXPERIENCE OPTIMIZATION?
When we say for example that only 48% of retail sites have optimized mobile experiences, what does that mean? And how does that go beyond just mobile-friendly?
Google’s mobile-friendly criteria are pretty basic. A site must have: text that’s readable without zooming, links far enough apart to tap and an absence of Flash.
Mobile experience optimization (MEO) goes beyond that. To be mobile experience optimized, for example, your site must load quickly and users must be able to start interacting with it virtually instantly.
The flow must also be optimized. An example would be shortening the mobile checkout process from five steps to just two.
And you must also account for context. For example, you might deliver different user interfaces to Android and iOS or differentiate between new and returning users.
One great example of mobile experience optimization is Petco’s mobile checkout, in which a numeric keyboard is provided so users can easily tap in their payment information.
Another example of MEO is US-based retailer Forever21’s mobile site. It highlights the use of contextual optimizations. These are optimizations based on user segments such as device brand, new versus returning users and geography.
If you’re a mobile shopper in Paris, it detects you’re a mobile user in France and thus displays the French version of the mobile site. It also displays the handy store locator feature at the top of the page.
As an additional contextual optimization, once the mobile customer is in the store, the store locator can be replaced with a prominent in-store promotion.
THE MOBILE FUTURE
Today mobile-friendliness is not enough.
Among the top AdWords spenders,** 83%** more sites in Q2 were mobile-friendly, compared to Q1. This was an important strategic move, as mobile-friendliness is critical for engaging and converting mobile customers.
However, mobile-friendliness is not sufficient. Mobile customers make decisions in the moment, giving brands only one opportunity to convert them.
To maximize conversions during these mobile moments and stay ahead of the curve, brands must go beyond just mobile-friendliness and take the important next step of mobile experience optimization.