According to the IDC, 337 million smartphones were shipped in the last quarter, so that’s an 11.6% rise compared to the same quarter last year. But are we moving to a multi-device world or a mobile-first world?
That was the seventh and final topic on the most recent TWIO episode, and here’s what our guests had to say about it…
ALEX TUCKER: We do kind of look at the world as being multi-device and I’ve seen some research that came out of Google a while ago that suggests 90% of people use multiple devices to achieve any kind of goal, which was really interesting. For our particular clients, mobile traffic is actually not a huge percentage of their overall volume but what we find is that people using mobile are in a different part of of the consideration cycle. So often our clients will find that people are searching Google for their brand and then getting to the contact page and getting straight in touch. So that’s often the way our clients find mobile gets used. So it’s important to have a good experience there. But we really talk to people about designing for the simplest, most basic design first and scaling up to desktop. So we’ve been trying to approach things in a multi-device way but we start with mobile and kind of work our way back in terms of experience.
DAVID BAIN: Yeah, I guess it depends on the industry that you’re in as well because here at Analytics SEO, looking at our stats, about 90% of our visitors are viewing the site on a desktop computer and that’s because it’s a business-to-business-type proposition, so that’s probably unlikely to change anytime soon. But Emily, you obviously produce a lot of content and a lot of content is consumed on mobile devices. Do you think you’re thinking about writing your content from a mobile perspective now?
EMILY HILL: Sort of. I think it’s been a really good sort of discipline actually, the idea that your content could be accessed on a very small screen. It does force you to make sure that that content is well structured, that it’s well written, that it’s not sort of padded out with extra-long sentences, that you’re having one sentence per point and one sort of paragraph to move the conversation along. I could run you through the rest of the editorial checklist but it’s probably not that interesting. But yes, I think it’s a very good discipline to sort of start, as Alex said really, start from mobile and work up from there. Because if your content works on mobile, then it will work on anything bigger than mobile.
DAVID BAIN: And Kevin and Pete, you’re both from content marketing agencies. Kevin, do you think that it’s actually possible to write content that is very appealing for readers on both devices at the same time or do you think you’ve got to target those devices separately?
KEVIN GIBBONS: I think it’s a mix. I think it’s interesting. I’d like to see if there’s any trends on the usage of Pocket and the apps that you use to read articles because certainly myself, if I come across a link that I think sounds interesting to read on Twitter, I probably won’t read it there and then. I will add it to Pocket. And that’s something that if I come across something on the desktop, I will read on a mobile. And interestingly, even to do with content marketing, personally I find obviously a content marketing tactic is infographics. I don’t find that very mobile-friendly. I think that actually, if you’re reading something that’s very long and visual, it’s not the best device to look it up for, and it’s making sure that reading forward, perhaps there’s an alternative for that. HTML5 is probably the obviously example but it’s not quite easy to create because there’s more development involved behind that. But from a content marketing perspective, you’re thinking pretty much desktop only and then mobile afterwards as an afterthought, whereas you’ll create a big infographic or an HTML5 piece which really doesn’t look that good on mobile but now it has to be because that’s where people are consuming the content and if you want them to share it, consume it in the best way possible. So I think it’s interesting. I think mobile’s become a lot more important for that reason, but just from a content marketing perspective.
DAVID BAIN: And Pete, you were nodding there when Kevin said that infographics aren’t a great experience on mobile devices. Do you think that people on mobile devices should be delivered some other form of the content or do you think it’s okay to deliver it on mobile devices?
PETE CAMPBELL: It is a good point. Certainly in the last six months now more than ever, when we design an infographic we have to build it in HTML5 so that it is mobile-friendly on multiple devices. And I think the other thing is you kind of do have to design for your own mobile experience and desktop experience. I mean, when you look at sites like ViralNova, where it was acquired for $100million this week, it’s like that and BuzzFeed, all the articles are written around a shorter attention span, which is what people have on mobile, and that’s what it’s designed for. So when I create content pieces, when I do a long-form piece of content that’s 3,000 or 4,000 words and if it’s something like parallax scrolling, then I think, ‘Is it a justified investment to double the amount of development time on this for it to be mobile friendly?’ because I know that people will just save that to an app like Pocket and then read it later. So I do think that you have to write it for either because attention spans are different.
DAVID BAIN: Yeah. Marketplaces are changing very quickly and it’ll be interesting to see what it looks like even just in a few months’ time.
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