Why Marketers Fail at Building Mobile Websites


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STAMFORD, CT—Mobile-friendly websites have long been a dominant engagement channel for brands and yet too many companies have not learned how to build such a site properly. Namely, according to Gartner, too many organizations build their mobile websites without accurate knowledge about their customers’ mobile preferences.

These companies need to step up their game and quickly too. Gartner predicts that, by 2020, mobile marketers will drive 80% of engagements through mobile websites.

Gartner is not without relief for these companies. Its analyst Jane-Anne Mennella offers three essential elements that marketing leaders must address in order to successfully create a results-driven mobile website. “While many marketers recognize the need to design for smaller real estate, intermittent connectivity, and fast, simple interactions, often the needs, goals and expectations of the end users are omitted from mobile strategies,” said Mennella, senior research director at Gartner, in prepared remarks.

She said this limited approach results in mobile websites that are just scaled-down versions of desktop websites with identical content and features. “Not surprisingly, these mobile sites have high abandonment and low conversion, turning into a source of irritation and frustration for customers,” Mennella adds.

To successfully create a results-driven mobile website, Gartner has identified three essential elements that marketing leaders must:

Determine the why, what, how and where for a mobile site.

It is important to remember that customer behavior, needs and motivations on mobile devices differ from those on desktops. Marketing leaders should determine what role their mobile site serves for their customers and prospects, what they want to accomplish and how they use their mobile site. Mobile sites that translate this knowledge into focused, validated mobile experiences have high adoption and customer satisfaction levels, and deliver conversions, Gartner says.

Make data-driven content choices.

So to recap: a mobile site should never be a condensed version of a desktop site. To choose the content for a mobile site, marketers must use a data-driven assessment to ensure that their mobile site has the amount and type of content and functionality their customers need to accomplish their goals.

Research and test beyond speed and performance.

Many organizations test their mobile site’s speed and performance but stop their testing efforts after that. Marketing leaders must conduct user research and testing on mobile sites before, during and after development. This will reveal where interactions are confusing, where customer journeys are prolonged or get interrupted by environmental as well as design elements, and where content gaps exist.

“As mobile usage continues to grow, so does the importance of mobile websites. Marketers must understand why customers are visiting their organization’s site and what content they need to accomplish their goals,” Mennella concluded. “It is only by putting the customer first that going mobile will work.”

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