It wasn’t too long ago that business travellers accessed their email remotely by using their mobile phone as a modem which, running at 19.2kbps, often meant the download took hours, but still, it was cheaper than using the hotel system.
Happily those days are in the past and the last 10 years has witnessed a vast improvement in the speed and capabilities offered by mobile phone technology.
Networks have quickly evolved through 2G, 2.5G and 3G phases with the latest mobile broadband technology, 4G, offering speeds up to 10 x faster than the current 3G network. A few networks are currently offering ‘4G’ , primarily, Everything Everywhere (EE) and it will be interesting to see how the technology copes with real-world fixed and mobile usage in rural areas where it’s often difficult to connect customers to a cable, fibre or xdsl network.
The benefits of LTE for consumers and businesses in the South West
The advantages offered to the South West by a 4G network will be immense. 4G speeds with reduced latency will offer a much more responsive user experience for:
- On-line gaming
- Music sharing
- On-demand HDTV
- Superfast browsing
- Fast upload of content to social networking sites.
So where are we headed?
Faster mobile connections will help fuel the growth of cloud based applications improving reliability, functionality and security for mobile users. Secure m-commerce capabilities with quicker transaction times will result in an improved customer experience.
The ability for a business to access and transfer large files at high speed and network with clients through high quality audio and video conferencing via a mobile device could help attract additional business and clients from outside the region and result in significant cost savings.
Why is this important to you?
Right now, at this very minute more than 60% of the UK population now own a smartphone
48% of users say that if they arrive on a site that isn’t mobile optimised, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring about them. Source: Google
57% of your customers would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site
Completing a task like booking a flight online or managing personal finances doesn’t just happen in one sitting on one device. 98% of sequential screeners move between devices in the same day to complete a task. ~ Source, Google: The New Multi-Screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior
When customers visit your site for the first time they form an impression of your business in one fifth of a second
Newspaper articles from the USA where the 4G rollout is at a more advanced stage have highlighted a number of innovative applications such as:
- College campuses exploring the use of a high speed mobile network combined with tablet computers to replace physical textbooks.
- Navigation applications providers taking advantage of the mix of GPS technology, mapping software and the phones live camera to produce an “augmented reality”
- An increase in mobile speed and bandwidth could bring the use of Near Field Communications (NFC) applications to the fore, linking on-the-go consumers to content rich websites or video ads.
What about search?
Recently Google have made a significant change to their search algorithm. The Hummingbird update provides Google with a better understanding of more complex search queries and natural-language, why because more and more searches are taking place on mobile devices and many of these are spoken queries. Google have also made some recent changes to the way results and Ads are displayed on phones and tablets. It looks cleaner and simpler, it’s optimized for touch and results clustered on cards so you can focus on the answers you’re looking for.
Marketers also need to evolve their thinking
The full deployment of a 4G network throughout the UK is not too far away as the other big players play catch up with EE. But with mobile video accounting for more than 50% of traffic flowing through the networks, mobile phone providers concentrating on building 4G capable handsets, Google promoting video advertising through their AdWords offering and mobile consumers demanding broadband speeds wherever they are, NOW is the time for local businesses to ensure they either have or are planning to introduce a mobile website for their business ASAP.
Mobile and tablet traffic to “attraction” sites is already running on average at more than 50%, restaurant and hotel traffic via mobiles and tablets is not too far behind, a key reason to have a mobile enabled website.
So take note, if you are a local business and you don’t have a website optimised for mobile traffic, you better get one fast – or you’ll miss out, Make sure you’re checking the trend for visits to your site on tablets and mobile devices via your Google Analytics report.
Five tips to get you on track
When you do get round to fixing this issue:
- Think thumb-friendly. Use big buttons
- Load fast. Easy on those images
- Answer key customer needs immediately
- Use GPS to guide your customers to you
- Stay on brand. Don’t look ‘straight out of the box’
If you’d like some help with your marketing strategy, get in touch.
Andrew Leon Walker has been involved in technology marketing in the UK and internationally for over 20 years. Through his consultancy, Rame Marketing, he helps businesses of all sizes across the South West to grow by improving their marketing strategy and incorporating content marketing, search marketing and social media marketing into their marketing activities.