Over the past few weeks, the internet has been awash with stories ‘Mobileageddon‘ the impending doom that Google was about to rain down on business whose websites were not deemed to be mobile friendly. A week after last Tuesday, 21st April (when Google started to roll out the change),t he world is still here, and there do not seem to be too many reports of business being taken down by the change. However it does raise an interesting question,that we thought required a balanced answer:
"How Important is Mobile to my Business?"
Irrespective of the impact of Google’s changes, I think this is a question that businesses should be asking.
In the scope of this article, I am considering websites and email. Whilst there are many other marketing activities where mobile is a factor, it is these two where decisions and investment need consideration.
To establish the importance of mobile in these areas, we need to know how many of your website visitors and readers of your emails are using mobiles?
To answer these questions, we need to turn to Google Analytics. Using GA, there is a simple check you can do to see how much mobile traffic you are receiving.
Mobile and Websites
From the dashboard, you can select Audience -> Mobile -> Overview. This will give you a breakdown of where your traffic is coming from (see below)
In the case of this account, we can see that <10% of traffic is on mobile, so currently mobile optimization might not be a top priority.
Although this is a very basic check, it can give a quick idea of how important mobile access to your site is for visitors, and in cases where the result is more marginal, analytics can go deeper into the impact that (a lack of) mobile responsiveness is having – but that’s another post!
Mobile and Email
Using analytics as described above may be fine for websites but what of email? Currently, it is not possible to directly establish what device people are viewing your email.
However, here too Google analytics can give you pointers.
Going to Acquisition -> Source/Medium -> All Traffic on the left hand menu, and then selecting “email” will allow you to see the traffic that has come to your website from marketing emails (assuming that you are flagging emails with source tags).
Here you can see that 25% of email traffic is coming from mobile, so this is probably an area that you should be investigating more thoroughly in terms of ensuring that mobile viewers of your email are catered for. Again this is another post, but in this case you will find this post here.
Google and Mobile
Having established, in general, how important mobile is to your business, the final point that I would like to cover is around Google and mobile.
The Google algorithm change will only affect searches on mobile devices
The thing to bear in mind here is that the Google algorithm change will only affect searches on mobile devices, so any searches from desktops will not be impacted. On this basis, if the above analysis identifies that historically your search traffic has come from desktop users, then in the short term this recent algorithm change should have little impact.
So “How Important is mobile to my Business?” – Hopefully this post will have put the issue into context for the short term, but what about the longer term!
There is no question that the relentless march of mobile is not stopping any time soon. Even if mobile seems less important to your business now, it will be important at some point in the future, so best to start thinking and planning mobile into your marketing communication strategy now.
To help you, Google has a useful tool for putting the issue of mobile into context.
This tool will tell you if a particular page your site is currently mobile friendly, and if not what need to be done to make it so. If you do nothing else, I would recommend testing your site, so you know where you stand on the issue as you make decisions on your future web strategies.