HAVE YOU EVER OPENED AN EMAIL ON YOUR SMARTPHONE OR TABLET AND THEN SWITCHED TO YOUR LAPTOP TO READ THE ATTACHMENT OR WRITE YOUR RESPONSE? ACCORDING TO RECENT STUDIES, YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
This year has seen a rise in multi-device users in the UK, as well as various other regions across the world. ComScore’s latest whitepaper revealed that 72% of Britons are now accessing the Internet from a range of devices including desktops, smartphones, and tablets. Following the arrival of the original iPad in 2010, the tablet market grew rapidly, gaining high levels of penetration in a short space of time. The smartphone market performed even better and continues to thrive, with Deloitte reporting that 76 percent of UK adults now own a smartphone, with 50% owning a tablet.
In spite of these stats, many in the B2B world still haven’t adopted a multi-device marketing strategy – believing that their world lags behind B2C in technology adoption for some reason. Thankfully that sort of attitude is changing. Users, regardless of market or industry expect content to be optimised for whichever device they choose to use, with 90% of executives using smartphones daily for business activities (Forbes Insight), this expectation is only going in one direction. At a base level, this highlights the need to create websites that can be viewed on a variety of devices without limiting or reducing the experience. Being inaccessible on some devices or offering a reduced experience means you are falling short of your competitors and potentially damaging your organisation’s image. In fact, 78% of executives stated, in a Forbes insight study, that a bad mobile experience would deter them from a company. Beyond your website, the multi-device approach can extend to email communications, dedicated apps on multiple platforms and a whole host of other elements. The chances are many of your competitors have applied, or at least have started investing in, a digital strategy optimised to different work on different devices. There are however some common misconceptions about the online B2B experience:
B2B Customers Only Use Desktop
While this largely remains true for office environments, it is a misconception that B2B customers are solely desktop users. At work, they are likely to use mostly a PC to access websites but it is an unwise mistake to assume that they will come across your presence only during a working day. Statistics by Usablenet demonstrate that 57% of B2B users are accessing work-related content outside of working hours on a mobile device. If your site isn’t optimised for mobile viewing it is likely your audience will become frustrated and disengaged with your content – after all, nobody wants to have to view a full-width web page on a 4-inch screen. If your site isn’t responsive to work on mobiles you will be losing sales opportunities.
Search Ranking Remains the Same
Search engine giant Google has made efforts this year to encourage website developers to accommodate mobile users. Forbes magazine reported earlier in the year that Google favours sites that are optimised for mobile, meaning that mobile enhanced websites perform better in mobile search engine ranking. Google implemented an algorithm change on 21st April 2015, which had more consequences on mobile search rankings than Google’s penalties for breaking Webmaster guidelines. With a significant amount of your B2B customers potentially using mobile, this obviously demonstrates a disadvantage of not adjusting a website to mobile, as your organic ranking will take a hit and give your content less visibility.
Customer Needs are Always the same Across Devices
Research has shown that a customer coming to your site from a smartphone will have different objectives than someone viewing your site on a desktop and they are unlikely to want to have to scroll down long webpages full of content, in particular, large blocks of text, to reach their goal. A smartphone user is also likely to spend less time on your website than those who are using a desktop or tablet. This means you have less time to capture the interest of your audience. Website attributes such as call to actions, forms or content need to be considered for each device, and if necessary adapted. A mobile-first approach – where the mobile user is the first priority – is now increasingly common and ensures that visitors have the information they want literally at their fingertips no matter the device.
Meanwhile, a tablet is closely related to a desktop in terms of screen size (which seems to be ever-increasing), offering increased opportunities to include greater levels of content. However, there are some key differences that separate the use of tablets from desktop and mobile usages. Tablet users are more likely to be seeking to consume content, rather than quickly perform an action like on a smartphone. But unlike desktop, functionalities of the website that addresses the touch screen nature of the device are important to take into consideration. These challenges are typically solved by adopting the mobile-first approach.
To summarise, the power of providing a rich experience for your customer across devices should not be underestimated. Even if you have a fully responsive site that performs across devices, adaptations prove imperative in achieving sales or lead generation goals. As with the development of your website, this would benefit from the input of expert consultants and developers.