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Are Your Customers Mobile Website Users or Not?
Kate Gingold
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Are Your Customers Mobile Website Users or Not?

The Sprocket Report

All marketing gurus during the past few years have exhorted business and not-for-profit managers to upgrade their old websites to mobile-friendly ones. Many pooh-poohed the need and claimed their customers weren’t mobile users. Were they right all along?

We’re always reading reports and opinions to stay informed and it seemed obvious that everyone was “going mobile.” But some folks insisted that the trend didn’t pertain to them. So we examined the analytics data of our own clients to see if local trends differed from those of the marketing gurus.

We took a snapshot of each client’s web traffic during the past month and looked specifically at what devices were used to visit each website. Some of the results were exactly what we expected but there were a couple of eye-openers as well that needed some follow-up research.

First, an overview of what we observed:

  • In general, most visitors use desktop computers rather than mobile phones or tablets to access our clients’ websites.
  • But at the same time, the ratio of mobile to desktop was specific to certain industries. For instance, mobile devices were used more often to visit health and beauty websites. And every single restaurant client had at least twice as many mobile users as desktop users.
  • Visitors to government websites were about 50/50 mobile-to-desktop users.
  • Most of the not-for-profit websites were mainly accessed by desktop computers, but a specific few had an equal number of mobile visitors.
  • And in a surprising twist, visitors to technology websites were overwhelmingly desktop users.

Clearly more research was needed, both within these analytics and about national trends. Here’s what we found:

  • Mobile use is highest during commute times, but desktop computer use dominates working hours. Tablet use peaks during the evening hours. That accounts for folks visiting tech websites and most service providers.
  • While the number of mobile users continues to grow year over year as well as the number of hours spent online, most mobile use involves checking email and social media.
  • When comparing Sprocket clients in similar industries, mobile visitors increased substantially for those who regularly updated news on their websites and link to it with social media. That was true for not-for-profit organizations as well as for home and garden services and automotive shops.
  • 97% of 18-34 year-olds are mobile users and 20% don’t use desktop computers at all. Web visitors over 55 years old do use desktop computers more than mobile devices, but that percentage continues to shrink.
  • When 2016 started, about half of small businesses still did not have a website and of those who did, 40% of them were still not mobile.

So what's the take-away for folks whose “gut feeling” says they don’t need to update to a mobile website?

  • Not one client has zero mobile visitors.
  • Visitors come to websites via links in social media. Social media is what people mainly do on their mobile devices.
  • If you’re a restaurant, there’s no doubt folks are looking for you from their phones.
  • B2B service providers do get mobile visitors, but they need to focus on an excellent desktop experience.
  • Mobile use is still growing in all age groups, but when you’re marketing to Millennials, being mobile-friendly is essential.

There are even more fascinating facts on mobile marketing at this Smart Insights article or you can contact us if you want to talk about deciphering your own analytics. We’d be happy to help you so you can figure out the best strategy for your business or organization.

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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