In my last post, I discussed the irony that in 2014 only 53 percent of small businesses had a website, yet consumers are already moving toward mobile as evidenced by the fact that in the U.S., the use of smartphones and tablets officially surpassed the use of desktops to access the internet in February of 2014. And it’s only increased since then.
But failing to develop a mobile strategy can seriously impact a business, far beyond whether Google defines the website as mobile-friendly. In my prior post, I touched upon one suggestion from the Forrester Research report entitled “Predictions 2015: Most Brands Will Underinvest in Mobile” and today I’ll offer you another: “Mobile-shifted marketing leaders must first work with their business and marketing technology counterparts to decide how best to allocate strategic mobile resources and implement enterprise-wide mobile governance. Only 19 percent of marketers have a mobile steering committee with the authority to decide what mobile services will be built. Even mobile-savvy companies have had to completely redesign internal customer support processes to take full advantage of the opportunities opened up by mobile technologies.”
The need to develop a mobile strategy, or to continually refine your strategy if your organization already has one, is further illustrated by data contained in the 2014 edition of the Measuring the Information Society Report released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The ITU notes that information and communication technologies (ICTs) underpin everything we do, stating, “They help manage and control emergency services, water supplies, power networks, and food distribution chains. They support health care, education, government services, financial markets, transportation systems, and environmental management. And they allow people to communicate with colleagues, friends, and family anytime, and almost anywhere.”
This is a very powerful statement and demonstrates the deep human need to communicate and connect. For the record, I do understand that there will also always be the need for the bigger screens associated with mobile devices and desktops. There are many types of work functions which are facilitated with a larger screen. Conversely, there are many occasions when people will refuse to be limited by location and expect high functionality in their mobile devices with content optimized for the smaller screen.
The Business Case
The Measuring the Information Society Report further states that “mobile-cellular population coverage has reached 93 percent globally: in other words, almost every person on the globe lives within reach of a mobile-cellular signal and, at least theoretically, has access to mobile communication services.” This is particularly meaningful in the developing world, as many individuals are bypassing the land-line stage that the developed world experienced and are moving directly toward mobile devices. The third world is growing up digitally on mobile.
The recently released report The 2015 Enterprise Buyer’s Guide to SEO emphasizes the importance of sustainable SEO strategies to support the move toward mobile in providing the graph below and stating: “Brands need to position themselves to capture traffic from mobile devices, if they haven’t already. Search engine mobile ranking algorithms call for different best practices than desktop algorithms, so it’s crucial for brands to have mobile-specific content and set up site pages in a way that these algorithms are familiar with.”
Let’s look at one organization that made a very successful transition to the digital environment.
Case Study: PC Magazine
PC Magazine was first published in a print edition in 1982 with an online edition added in 1994. But many technophiles none-the-less missed the rich format of the print version when PC Magazine moved to an all-digital format in 2009. Technophiles longing for the days of a print version, eh?
The following challenges were identified:
- Reach audiences that prefer a design and reading experience that is similar to the tactile nature of print
- Leverage heritage of popular magazine, while taking advantage of tablet market growth
- Deliver better and more robust interactivity than what was currently offered at that time
- Use analytics to optimize content with each subsequent digital edition
Vivek Shah, chief executive (CEO) of Ziff Davis (parent company of PCMag), stated, “We wanted something that really highlighted what’s great about consuming a magazine on a tablet device, to let us reimagine the digital edition from the ground up.”
It should come as no surprise that PC Magazine understood the shift toward mobile devices and foresaw a major market opportunity as the digital version could be more engaging than the print edition through the inclusion of interactive features.
So Ziff Davis redesigned its tech publication: user experience was improved and modernized with high-resolution photography, 360-degree product rotations, live Twitter streams from columnists commenting on products, and more.
“Our research shows that there is an audience that very much craves the permanence and visual artistry of the print magazine format and wants to read and re-read our journalistic-style, long-form stories,” says Shah. “….We curated a digital edition of PC Magazine that offers technology enthusiasts a lean-back experience that is genuinely fun, useful, and immersive.”
To this Shah added, “The incredible growth rate of tablets combined with the ability to create a product made for that environment…puts us in a place to get back the audience we used to have with print subscribers.”
So there you have it: a successful move to a tablet format by a tech icon whose readership had craved the print version. What’s been your experience in the mobile realm?
Homepage image via Shutterstock.