Today’s world is about digitalization and new technologies that surround us everywhere. It is difficult to imagine a comfortable life without a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Pocket screens have become our reliable assistants when it comes to communication, work, education, shopping, and other daily routines. That is why many experts have termed the 21st-century world as mobile-centric or mobile-first.
According to the statistics provided by Techjury, there are more than 3.5 billion smartphone users throughout the world. And according to OuterBox research, about 79% of mobile phone users order services and purchase goods via their pocket screens.
The business has been revolutionized globally by the widespread use of mobile devices.
Not only does this force businesses to build a mobile application but also pressurizes marketers to transform marketing strategies and focus on mobile-driven leads and sales.
One of the win-win approaches that are popular today is a mobile-first strategy. It meets the demands of modern society when pocket screens are mainly accessing content on the web. More and more companies are deciding to prioritize mobile experiences and reshape the way they interact with their end-users and even their digital marketing strategies into mobile-first ones.
The end goal expectation?
Increased engagement online and improved the efficiency of digital advertising campaigns (higher return-on-ad-spends / ROAS).
What Is a Mobile-First Strategy?
The mobile-first strategy is a new normal in the modern digital ecosystem. The approach prioritizes mobile-enabled versions of websites (including eCommerce digital platforms and marketplaces) over desktop versions. It is not a synonym to responsive design, where the website is 100% adaptive to any screen proportions, both mobile and desktop, and well-rendered on any device.
The main idea is to have mobile app developers build the mobile-enabled version of the website first. The desktop design can be released later or alongside the mobile one. They need a mobile website, mobile application, or a digital product that ensures they are able to reach where their target audience is.
The mobile-first approach that has become a priority for many companies and brands, is explained by the popularity of Internet browsing via smartphones and the dominance of mobile-driven online shopping.
One more reason why business representatives opt for the mobile-first strategy is the ever-changing search engine algorithms. According to Investopedia, the mobile-enabled versions of sites are prioritized in web searches. Additionally, companies and brands are encouraged to apply the mobile-first approach because the mobile version:
Can obtain more features and options that will improve user experience and bring more leads and conversions.
Provides more detailed UX and rich user data (based on clicks and scrolls). Including location-tracking information for analytical and marketing research.
Allows hitting the market with the help of mobile-centric marketing campaigns and more customized advertising strategies.
Allows a cut desktop website version while the mobile-enhanced one will contain a wide range of services and functions compared to the budget-friendly desktop landing with links to a mobile app or site.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of mobile-first development in the context of business and marketing together with the range of consequences for non-mobile-friendly websites.
Advantages of a Mobile-First Strategy
Consumer-centric businesses get more revenue and perform on the market better. With the surge of smartphone users and fans of web search via pocket screens, the mobile-first strategy is the efficient solution to increase your client base and meet the customers’ expectations. Expanding the audience is one of the main benefits to take into consideration, along with some others.
Let's take a quick look at some of the advantages of have a mobile-first strategy:
1 - Expanding the Audience
According to Statista, about half of web traffic around the world comes from mobile. The statistics for the first quarter of 2021 show that 54.8% of website traffic is generated via pocket screens. This is about 5% more than in 2020 and more than 23% more than in 2015. It means that the number of smartphone users and people who prefer to initiate Internet browsing sessions and web searches via mobile devices will grow even more.
The mobile-first strategy provides the opportunity to reach new customers. If you would like to hit new markets, open new doors, and create new revenue channels, it is necessary to become mobile-friendly right now. A good mobile strategy example is when YouTube expanded its audience.
The design of this video platform is far from responsive. Mobile-first development is used. The mobile-enabled and desktop versions are different. The mobile design is notable with its blank for button and text display. The night mode appeared not long ago. The option of small-screen touch is available on pocket screens and based on the user’s habit only.
The mobile-first approach brought YouTube new viewers and bigger revenues from advertising agreements with brands. About 40.9% of YouTube traffic comes from mobile devices. After the mobile-first strategy was implemented, younger users (15-25) became predominant in 2020.
2 – Chances to Rank Higher
It is worth noting that Google introduced a mobile-index update that forced digital marketers and entrepreneurs to switch to mobile-first strategies faster. The main idea is that priority is given to the mobile version of the website in Google’s search algorithm. This way, mobile-first development can promote higher rankings to online businesses.
According to the Business News Daily article, as Google is the most used search engine, most marketers keep track of mobile-friendliness statistics and insights through the Google ranking tools. It is recommended to regularly monitor and analyze these parameters, especially in the context of local presence (country of the business presented on the website/in the app).
Remember page load time as an important ranking factor. According to the Creative Momentum research, mobile-first websites should limit their content and be more qualitative and keyword-rich. This will speed up the page load time and boost conversions because a 1-second delay means a 7% decrease in conversion rates.
To monitor positive or negative changes of your website position in the organic search, check Google ranking and adopt the mobile version together with the desktop one according to the requirements of the search engine and its algorithms. Additionally, Google offers a mobile-friendly test that allows users to enter a URL and analyze its status online.
Mobile-friendliness depends on the range of factors that are presented in the report (scripts, page loading too slow, Robot.txt blocks, etc.). If your website is mobile-friendly and has a well-thought-out SEO strategy, your chances to rank higher surely increase.
3 - Easier Communication and Relationship Building
The mobile-first approach is about flexibility and improved functionality for building strong relationships with your customers. Furthermore, you can use chatbots or add social media marketing hacks easily. Mobile-friendliness and mobile-first development bring a range of advantages in the context of communication and interactions.
In addition, your customers will appreciate that you have more channels for them to interact with your company. The availability of the chatbot or separate-standing mobile app will help entrepreneurs get more communication channels. The more interactions you have with your target audience, the stronger relationships you build. As a result, you get loyal consumers and long-standing purchasers.
Besides easier communication and relationship building, you create a better brand reputation and trustworthiness for your company. A good example is Typeform, with its mobile-friendly application. A user can select any of the buttons on the application’s main screen and ask managers or chatbots any questions that interest them.
4 - Improving Customer Experience
The mobile-first approach exceeds expectations in all efficient digital solutions in the context of UX and website performance. It is possible to meet customers’ expectations and improve loyalty to your company and brand. A more comprehensive range of options presented in the mobile-enabled site version or app provides a tailored user experience with a focus on the preferences of your target audience.
Among the most UX-driven approaches in the context of mobile versions are:
- Clear menu with big buttons;
- Search option available not only on the homepage;
- Shorter forms for better navigation and higher conversions;
- Calm tones and colors for background and well-visible CTAs;
- Fewer font sizes for content;
- Fewer but catchier ads.
Each company can focus on its tactics and methods. For example, the mobile version of the Pitchfork design is notable for its thumb buttons that improve UX significantly. Easier access to content and enhanced navigation are achieved.
5 - Leveraging Customer Data
Mobile-first development guarantees gaining critical customer data insights that are essential for improving marketing strategies and website performance. For instance, you can use one or several data-driven solutions like location tracking, reviewing, or other decisions to promote the personalization of the mobile design. This way, you can achieve a satisfying user experience and boost your revenues.
Consequences for Non-Mobile-Friendly Websites
Note that websites that ignore rules of responsive design and mobile-centric approach can fall behind competitors and lose new leads. Traffic that comes from pocket screens is enormous. So-called m-dot websites and ones that are not mobile-friendly lose potential customers who would like to interact with the digital product of their interest via smartphone or tablet.
If you do not want to fail and ruin your online business, take a closer look at the consequences for non-mobile-friendly sites:
Drop in traffic – users will be totally disappointed when they realize that your website is poorly released on pocket screens. With the growing popularity of mobile-based browsing, searching, and shopping, you risk a drop in traffic. Additionally, Google penalizes non-mobile-friendly websites. Your chances to appear in the top search results become highly improbable.
Increased bounce rate and decreased time spent on a website – disappointed website visitors leave non-mobile-friendly digital platforms very fast to search for a new one that meets their expectations.
Decreased conversion rate – you will lose your leads that might be converted into your standing customers if you decide to develop only a desktop website version. Responsive design or mobile-first development will help you increase conversion rates and prevent your revenue from falling.
Losing to your competitors – remember that Internet searchers have enough options to choose from. While trying to find some goods or services via pocket screens, they will skip your non-mobile-friendly website and select your competitors with an attractive interface and enhanced mobile options.
It is recommended to start your digital transformation from the mobile-first approach essential in mobile-centric marketing. Most Internet searchers use pocket screens to communicate, order services, and purchase goods. Present-day business should be performed online with the help of the mobile-first strategy.
Many companies mention that most business statistics (conversions, return on advertising expenditures, traffic growth, etc.) are improved with the help of the mobile-friendliness of their websites. The mobile-first approach obtains many advantages at once, so it is considered a hot-topic digital marketing strategy in the 21st century.
The number of smartphone users is expected to grow year by year, making the mobile-first approach crucial. Mobile-friendliness is not only protection from Google’s penalties. It provides new revenue channels and monetization strategies including gamification, social media marketing solutions, and other engagement tactics.
You can look for a leading mobile app development company and get your mobile application built by experts. They can assist you in not just getting your mobile product out but also with its launch and marketing around it.