Mobile marketing is exploding. Open any marketing publication today and this is a big story. But let’s dig deeper. Many of these stories are based on consumer businesses, rather than B2B. And for all the huge numbers, what exactly does all this mean in terms of a mobile marketing strategy?
- What’s really happening in the B2B space for mobile?
- How should B2B marketers prioritize their digital investments between desktop and mobile?
To answer these questions, we analyzed data on mobile visits to eight B2B websites owned by JPL clients. The data covers a 12 month period from June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2012 and represents about 1.1 million website visits.
Here’s what we found.
Mobile Growth is Huge- Mobile Traffic Isn’t
Across the eight sites we studied, the number of visits from people on smartphones and tablets has increased an average 143 percent during the measured time. The fastest growth was 216 percent and the lowest rate of growth was still a whopping 41 percent. So growth rates are remarkably large.
Looking beyond growth, however, the average amount of mobile traffic as a percentage of all traffic to these sites is merely seven percent. So, if 100 visitors come to one of these sites, just seven are on mobile platforms –five on smartphones and two on tablets. This makes sense based on the fact that there are about two times as many smartphone users as tablet users in the US today (101.3 million vs. 54.8 million).
User experience for smartphones is poor on sites that are not optimized for them
Seven of the eight sites analyzed are not optimized for mobile users, nor do they have separate mobile sites. This means that for those seven sites, users on smartphones land on traditionally designed pages and have to pinch and zoom and move around vast geographies of screen space to find information. So we surmised that user experience would be poor and three key metrics confirm that — time on site, pages per visit and bounce rate.
- Time on site: Smartphone users spent 38 percent less time on these seven sites than desktop users.
- Pages per visit: Smartphone users visited 32 percent fewer pages per visit than desktop users.
- Bounce rate: The rate at which people left the site from the first page they visited was 29 percent higher for smartphone users than for desktop users.
What about the one site that has a mobile version? Smartphone users spent more time on the site than desktop users, and the Smartphone users visited more pages per visit than desktop users!
Creating an ideal mobile experience yields measurable dividends.
Let’s get back to our original question: How should B2B marketers prioritize their digital investments between desktop and mobile?
- A “mobile first” approach, which is talked about in some B2C categories does not make sense for B2B marketers. Desktop sites are still important for B2B marketers, and we project that these sites will get the majority of web visits for at least the near term.
- Mobile sites, or desktop sites optimized for mobile users, deserve some portion of the budget. This investment will prevent a bad user experience for mobile visitors — something to be avoided even if this segment is relatively small today.