56.9 Million Mobile Web Users – Are You Attracting Any of Them?

Man with Mobile Phone

According to a new report released by Nielson, the use of the web on mobile devices grew to 56.9 million people in July 2009 which is a 34% increase over July of 2008. So the biggest question becomes, is your site set up to attract any of these users? Or will frustration drive them away?

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were on a “date night” at one of our favorite local hangouts, Buffalo Wild Wings. It was a Thursday night, so all the TVs were tuned in to ESPN’s Thursday night college football game. I can’t recall what teams were playing, but I do remember it being a fairly close game and most of the other customers in the restaurant were fairly into it. With about 4-5 minutes left in the game, I witnessed something that really got me thinking about advertising on and optimizing for mobile devices. For some reason, the satellite feed coming into the restaurant for that channel suddenly went black and all the people watching gasped as the game was almost over. It was then, as if I were watching some sort of synchronized sporting event, at least one person at every table immediately pulled out their cell phone and navigated to a site that would keep them updated on the plays and the score. About 30 seconds later, the satellite feed came back and most of the  same people instantly put down their phones while some remained on them. I sat there amazed at what I had just seen. In a small timeframe, approximately 50-60 people, without a second thought, pulled out their phone searching for information. What a great time that would have been to be a scoreboard advertiser on ESPN’s mobile site.

Man with mobile phone

Man with mobile phone

This event really got me thinking about mobile advertising and looking at how many companies had websites that we’re setup to be fully, or at least partial, functional on mobile devices. According to a recent Nielsen Norman Group report, mobile internet users trying to navigate a ‘full site’ on their mobile device only had a 53% chance of completing a task. That’s right, 53%! This task could be looking for information, purchasing a product, signing up for a service, etc. For sites that did have a mobile version, the success rate went up to 64%. This tells us that even though consumers may be able to use a mobile version of the site, it isn’t functional enough for them to do the tasks you are looking to have them do.

With almost 57 million people, and drastically growing, using their mobile devices to access the web, what are you doing to ensure that your current and potential customers are able to complete tasks on your site and increase your conversion rate? Will your success rate be more than 64%?

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  1. […] few months ago, I wrote a post about the 57 million users using their mobile phone to connect to the internet and asked what people were doing about making sure their website was usable in a mobile version to […]