Mobile: Going, Going, Gone.. Goodbye!!

mobileBy: Alex Gutman
Content/Social Media Strategist, Writer, Evangelist/Publicist

If you’re not going mobile, then you may as well say  bye bye….

At this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat down with Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch. The conversation touched on many subjects. One of the most compelling parts of Zuckerberg’s side of the conversation was about Mobile. Zuckerberg said:

“We’re going to execute this mission to make the world connected and build value over the long-term. The bigger question that will define how we’ve done is how we do with mobile.”

Mobile, Zuckerberg said is the big question mark for Facebook, as many of its almost one billion users are using either Facebook’s mobile version or the native apps built for iOS and Android. Further accentuating this move to mobile, Zuckerberg said that users are consuming feed stories at double the rate via mobile using the new iOS app.

His address underscored the need for publishers to offer mobile solutions to their users, if they want to position themselves to compete in this ever-increasing mobile world.

According to a recent Google study, consumers of content don’t like poorly designed mobile sites, and even worse, sites that do not have a site optimized for mobile. While over 70 percent of consumers maintained it was important for sites to be mobile-friendly, 96 percent of consumers have experienced non mobile-friendly sites. This study translated to the simple fact that if you do not go mobile, you are losing out to the competition and will fail.

Brafton, an online news, content and research agency that has been in operation for over a decade, earlier this year released a report as part of their Mongoose Metrics Data Series. In the report, it was stated that only 10 percent of websites are fully optimized for mobile, which means that 90% are not capable of servicing mobile consumers.

Shortly after the dawning of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, it quickly became apparent that in order for businesses to compete in this new age, they must hop on the www train or risk losing customers to businesses that already have optimized their offerings for web consumption. Remember, this was at the beginning of the www era and there are still many businesses out there that still do not have a web presence.

In contrast, so too, in this age of mobile, it has become a necessity to optimize websites for mobile consumption or risk alienating current customers and losing out on potential others. In short, not going mobile is bad for business. While the cost for creating a mobile presence can exact a heavy toll on a publisher’s development budget, the costs for not going mobile can cost much more.

A forecast by research firm Gartner back in 2010 stated that Mobile phones will overtake PCs as the dominant way to access the web on a global scale by 2013. This forecast rings true today and looks like it is even surpassing the prediction. The forecast also added that users of mobile devices typically click less on a website than users of PCS, contending that the majority of sites that are not yet optimized for smaller screens need to be rebuilt and their content reformatted.

Publishers and other content-driven sites know that going mobile in a native fashion can be complicated and are aware of the costs with all the various mobile devices out there, with each device-specific app requiring much development work. Additionally, giving mobile offerings such tools as push notifications to promote engagement is the ultimate way to give consumers the most complete and dynamic mobile experience.

There are quite a few plugins out there that take publishers and site owners mobile and they do a good job. But, beyond being able to consume content in a comfortable fashion, it pretty much stops there. Facilitating engagement and a smooth dead-simple way to go mobile by providing publishers and consumers with a 360 degree mobile experience is where they all fall short. This is what is needed on the mobile scene today.