SlideShare: The State of Mobile Ecommerce

Here at Leverage Marketing, we’ve been thinking about mobile-friendly design a lot– especially since the holiday shopping season is approaching. According to Google, 40% of last year’s holiday shopping took place online, and of the people who shopped online, 53% used smartphones or tablets. If you’re an online retailer, you need to be ready to meet consumers on the devices they’re using to research products, compare prices, and buy.

Want to know more about how mobile trends are shaping the holiday shopping season? We’ve put together a SlideShare presentation with some revealing statistics about mobile trends, from the number of people who own smartphones to the amount of time the average consumer spends doing research on their mobile device. Check it out below:


Mobile Ecommerce Link Roundup

As of 2014, approximately 64% of US adults owned a smartphone. As mobile devices become more and more affordable and integral to everyday life, that percentage is only going to increase. If you’re an online retailer, you’d better be ready to meet customers on the portable, internet-enabled devices where they spend so much of their time. Make sure you’re caught up with the latest trends and best practices for mobile optimization by checking out the link roundup below.

Best Practices

How to Keep Your Site Fast for Mobile-Friendly

Moz published this post back in April, just in time for Google’s mobile-friendly update (aka ‘Mobilegeddon’). This update was designed to rank sites that work well on mobile devices higher than sites that don’t. While most sites haven’t been as negatively impacted as originally predicted, it’s still worth keeping the tips in this post in mind. After all, if your site is too slow to load, your potential customers will quickly go somewhere else.

5 Tools to Test If Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

These tools will help you determine if your site meets Google’s standards for mobile-friendly, loads quickly, looks good on different types of mobile devices, and is free of web markup code errors. Some of these tools are a paid service, but others are completely free.

3 Types of Mobile Marketing Messages Marketers Must Know [VIDEO]

Have 60 seconds to spare? Want to learn the basics of reaching out to customers through their mobile devices? This one-minute Marketo video offers straightforward explanations of SMS/MMS, push notifications, and in-app messaging. There’s also an accompanying blog post that elaborates on each mobile message type in case you forgot your headphones and can’t watch the video.

10 of the Finest Mobile Ecommerce Sites

The best way to figure out how to optimize your site for mobile may be to look at other sites that have really nailed their mobile design. Check out the 10 ecommerce sites listed here and take notes.

The Efficient Mobile Marketing Formula for Unleashing Your Full Potential

This post covers a lot of ground, from how to think of mobile users vs. desktop users to how to design a landing page for mobile. I think the advice for crafting mobile ads is particularly useful—web users are usually in a different state of mind when searching on their mobile device than when they’re on their computer (usually they’re looking for more immediate services), and your ads should reflect this.

Watch Out for Challenges and Pitfalls

Mobile-Friendly Isn’t Enough for Local Businesses: 3 Pitfalls to Avoid

Optimizing your site for mobile is a start, but you can’t just coast from there. This post reminds us to think about the core pages web users will need to access on the go, look at trends in the mobile overview report in Google Analytics, and make sure that all elements on your site are responsive using Chrome’s mobile emulator tool.

7 Mobile UX Fails That Are Killing Your Ecommerce Site

This first fairly obvious fail described here is not optimizing your site for mobile, but the article gets more detailed from there. It points out that you’re going to create a frustrating user experience if your site doesn’t cater to touchscreens, has complex navigation, and requires users to fill out lengthy forms.

3 Common Mistakes Mobile App Marketers Make and How to Fix Them

Not all brands need a mobile app (usually a mobile-friendly site will do), but if you are intent on making an app, pay attention to these tips from MarketingProfs.

Measuring Mobile Effectiveness Still Challenges Marketers

According to eMarketer, one third of worldwide marketers don’t know how to collect and integrate data from mobile with other digital channels, and close to two thirds of marketers don’t know how to effectively track and analyze mobile app data. This post is an important reminder that you need to come up with a plan for measuring mobile, especially if that’s where a significant number of conversions are coming from.

Responsive Design, Adaptive Design, and Beyond

Why You Don’t Need to Choose Responsive Design (But Should)

Not entirely sure what responsive design is all about? This article serves as a great primer. It discusses why Google recommends responsive design and how this type of mobile optimization can benefit your website, and it also looks at some situations in which responsive design might not actually be the best choice for your business.

Responsive is the McDonald’s Cheeseburger of Mobile SEO

With a title as intriguing as this, you can’t help but read on to find out why the author thinks responsive design is the fast food of the mobile SEO world. Amidst the burger metaphors, there’s some good information about the pros and cons of responsive design, as well as the potential benefits of adaptive design and separate URLs for some businesses.

Is Responsive Design a Ranking Factor?

We know that responsive design is the mobile configuration that Google recommends, but does it actually affect how your site ranks in the search engine results pages? This post looks at recent studies and indirect SEO ranking factors that may point towards an answer.

Mobile Trends

4 Brands Whose Creative Approaches to Mobile Marketing Are Getting Big Results

The four brands discussed in this post took different approaches to improving their mobile marketing, but the common thread between all of them is their attention to serving mobile users’ needs in the moment rather than being an unwanted disruption.

Three Easy Tips for Hyper-Personal Push Notifications

Push notifications are mobile messages that are triggered by a customer’s actions, and they can either be incredibly useful or kind of annoying. Avoid going the annoying route by following the actionable advice in this post.

The Big Deal about a Little Mobile ‘Buy’ Button

If you’re a mobile retailer who runs product listing ads, you’ll want to read about the relatively new buy buttons on Google, which will allow users to click a ‘Buy’ link for certain eligible products and quickly make a purchase based on payment info that they’ve already stored with Google.

How Mobile Tech and Social Media Are Merging to Change the Shopping Experience

Let’s face it: no matter how great your ecommerce site is, your target customers are probably spending more time on social media. Why not let them shop your site without ever leaving their social media app of choice? Shopping through social apps isn’t the norm yet, but this Entrepreneur post covers some of the emerging trends that are pushing ecommerce in that direction.

Mobile Behavior

Beyond Responsive Design: How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

Get tips on how to optimize your emails for mobile, capitalize on location-based micro-moments, and think about the cross-device experience in this Hubspot post.

90% of Retail Shoppers Use Smartphones in Stores

While this link roundup is focused on ecommerce, I thought this post might be useful for anyone who has both an online business and a brick-and-mortar store. It’s important to remember that you can get a lot of value out of mobile marketing even when potential customers are already in the door.

Mobile to Be Big Sales Driver for Holiday Shopping 2015

This headline shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but it’s worth looking a little closer at the way mobile is reshaping holiday shopping trends in this interview with Branding Brand CEO Chris Mason.

Understanding Smartphones as an Influencing Device

The majority of online transactions still take place on desktop devices (for now), but this article points out that smartphone activity often drives those conversions. A customer may start their research on a mobile device but wait until they’re in front of a computer to make a purchase, and retailers need to remember to assign value to the devices that move customers down the conversion path.

Know of any other great articles on mobile marketing, or just want to talk more about how to optimize your site for mobile? Comment below or contact Leverage Marketing directly.

Mobile-Friendly Becomes Mandatory: How to Overcome ‘Mobilegeddon’

It’s been a hot topic for webmasters and SEO analysts this past month. It’s been discussed in widely-circulated blog posts and given the ominous nickname ‘Mobilegeddon’. However, those outside of the SEO world may not have heard a whole lot about Google’s upcoming mobile-friendly update.

Here are the basics that you should know, especially if you’re a business owner: on April 21st, Google will implement an algorithm update that will give a website’s mobile-friendliness additional weight as a ranking signal. Mobile usability is already a factor in page rankings, but it’s about to become more important than ever.

Essentially, if you have a website that is optimized for mobile devices (i.e. looks as good on a phone or tablet as it does on a desktop computer), you should rank higher in Google’s search results than a competitor who hasn’t optimized their site for mobile.

Worried Mobilegeddon will negatively affect your business?

Contact Us for help with your mobile site.

So what’s Google’s rationale for the update? It boils down to improving the user experience. More than 64% of American adults now own a smartphone, and 34% of those people use the internet more frequently on their phone than on any other device, according to a Pew Research Center report. Google wants to ensure users are getting search results that display well and work properly on any device.

If you’re starting to worry that your company’s website is going to be banished to the far reaches of the internet, read on to learn how you can optimize your site before April 21st.

How Do You Know If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly?

You may already know that your site is mobile-friendly—or that it isn’t. On the other hand, you may be saying to yourself, ‘Didn’t I have a web designer optimize my site last year? Am I good to go?’

If you’re unsure whether Google’s new update is going to be kind to your site, the first thing you should do is put your site to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. All you have to do is enter a web page URL, and Google will tell you if it meets the requirements for being mobile-friendly. Be sure to plug in multiple pages, as mobile-friendliness is determined at the page rather than site level.

Here are some common issues that might cause one or more pages of your site to fail the Mobile-Friendly Test:
• Text is too small to easily read on a smartphone screen
• Your content exceeds the screen width
• Links are too close together to easily click on a small touchscreen
• Your mobile viewport is not properly configured (you can read more about this here)

If Your Site Isn’t Mobile-Friendly, What’s Next?

If your site doesn’t fare well on mobile devices, stay calm and talk to an experienced web designer. There are a few different ways you can make your site mobile-friendly: you can create a mobile-only site, use responsive design, or use adaptive design.

It’s also possible to develop an app, which users download and open to access content from your site, rather than opening a web browser on their phone. While there are some benefits to creating an app, this is more of an add-on than a priority. Focus on the website first.

Mobile-Only Websites

A mobile-only, or m-dot site, contains many of the same elements as your full site, but is a separate website that loads when a web user clicks through to your site from their mobile device. This stripped-down site typically has simpler navigation for the benefit of people using smaller screens.

Pros: Mobile-only sites are relatively easy to build and typically provide a good user experience. Because they are separate from the main site, content can be tailored for mobile viewers. They are also usually (but not always) the most affordable type of mobile-friendly site to build.

Cons: When you create a mobile site that is separate from your main site, you’re essentially doubling the site maintenance with which you have to keep up.

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

Responsive design takes all elements on a web page and resizes them based on the resolution of the screen. If you’re on a computer, you can test out a responsive design site (The Leverage Marketing site is one) by resizing your browser—the page you’re on will expand or shrink so that the same elements are always visible.

Pros: RWD is the easiest mobile-optimized format for Google to crawl and index. It’s also flexible (it works well with all screen sizes) and gives your site a consistent design across platforms.

Cons: RWD tends to have a slower load time than mobile-only, especially when it comes to image-heavy sites. Images need to be optimized for all devices in order to reduce the load time so that users don’t get impatient and leave.

Adaptive Web Design (AWD)

Adaptive design detects what kind of device and operating system you’re using and tells the server to use different layouts for different devices. The main difference between AWD and RWD is that with AWD, the layout decision is made on the server side rather than the client side.

Pros: Because the layout decision is made on the server side, load times are faster on the client side. AWD also works well with a wider range of phones—including older and low-end mobile phones– because it uses more sophisticated device detection scripts. This won’t make a huge difference for most businesses, but may be beneficial if you are trying to reach developing markets outside of the US.

Cons: As the most complex mobile optimization option, AWD is also typically the most expensive. It requires a large budget and an experienced team of developers to implement, so it may not be a feasible option for all businesses.

Still Not Sure How to Optimize Your Site?

If you’re still not sure what kind of mobile optimization will be most beneficial to your business, talk to one of our web designers about your business goals and how you want customers or clients to use your website. We work together with our clients to come up with a design that fits their brand and makes the user experience positive on all devices.

Worried Mobilegeddon will negatively affect your business?

Contact Us for help with your mobile site.

Marketing is Going — and Staying — Mobile

The distance we’ve come in terms of the Internet and its impact on society over the last two decades is, if you think about it, pretty jaw-dropping.

In 1995, the World Wide Web was at an infantile stage, to say the least. Businesses and households were just catching onto this new means of communication and information gathering, and the now-primitive dial-up connection was nothing short of amazing to new users. Additionally, the ink was barely dry on Amazon and Yahoo!’s articles of incorporation papers, and present-day essentials such as Google and Hotmail were a few years away from launching.

Additionally, many people were skeptical when it came to the web and it’s potential. Take a read below at excerpts from “The Internet? Bah!”  a column published in Newsweek in 1995 by author Clifford Stoll.

Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney … We’re promised instant catalog shopping–just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month?

I can’t fault Stoll for this. The technology was just learning to crawl twenty years ago, and the leaps and bounds in which the internet has grown into as we see it today was hard for even the most ardent supporters to forecast.

These days, mobile searching – both in terms of PPC ads and SEO – has become the norm, and no longer a practice confined only to the select tech-savvy few.

It wasn’t long after 1995 and Stoll’s prediction, that online search became common practice for consumers and a primary focus for companies directing their advertising and marketing online. Like the internet as a whole in its early days, users took some time to get acclimated to using their mobile devices as a means to search. The last few years, though, has seen mobile searching grow by much more than leaps and bounds.

Numerous publications and internet marketing websites, from the Wall Street Journal to eMarketer, noted the declination in desktop search revenue and increase in mobile search spending last year. This will continue to be the case this year and, three years from now, mobile search will make up the majority of search spending.

With mobile technology and the number of mobile users both advancing rapidly today, this is no surprise. But while the ad dollars are following the new medium, it is expected that the return on investment from mobile marketing will take some time to catch up to that of desktop marketing.

A September, 2014 column on pointed to three reasons for slow growth in mobile ROI:

  1. Consumer use behavior – shoppers and users generally use their smartphones when they are out of home or office. Tablet users, on the other hand, are more prone to using their devise at home
  2. Multi-screening – these days, most PC users have two screens at their disposal and, while using their smartphone as the first point of reference, they tend to go to their PC to complete the transaction
  3. Functionality – again, this is more for the smartphone the tablet. Despite the growing size of smartphones, they are still wieldy for some users in terms of viewing products, navigation and viewing.

It’s expected, though, that continued technological advancements in terms of both mobile hardware and software, along with consumers’ growing confidence in mobile searching and shopping will contribute to the growth of calculable ROI from mobile marketing.
Despite the ROI challenge, I’m certain that mobile search and marketing will become as common to the masses as waiting for the dialup to process was in the `90s. As a tech enthusiast, it’s going to be fun to watch it evolve, and here at Leverage, it’s going to be exciting to evolve along with it.