Since the first iPhone was released in 2007, the advent of the age of mobile has been proclaimed. But 2016 is the year that finally holds true: for the first time more searches have been carried out on a mobile device than desktop. Why is this year’s declaration any different from any other year in the last decade? It’s down to Google.
Google has recently held its conference (a bit like Penna’s but no camping and not in Warwickshire) and mobile was at the centre of all of the announcements. The company effectively wants to change the Internet so it is more mobile-centric, and this means a lot of change.
You might have noticed it yourselves for example AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) which are only available on your mobile:
One massive development is that Google searches now trawl apps too; this means apps can be seen via Google search engine without having the app on your phone. All SEO professionals worth their salt should now be looking at a mobile-first approach for discovery as Google is now prioritising mobile-friendly sites and apps. Not only this but push messages are available from browsers now not just on Androids but IOS as well on the Mac, with iPhones to follow soon. Over 10 billion push notifications are sent every day in Chrome and it’s growing quickly; 38% of these were opened too!
Other changes will be coming over the next few months, the most noticeable will be with Google Adwords advertising.
Despite now officially having entered the mobile era, we are still rather worryingly refusing to buy stuff on it; just 7% of purchases of online purchases were made from mobiles in the UK. The fact of the matter is businesses are lazily stumbling into mobile despite the fact that the appetite to buy things via our mobiles is high. Whether it is a car or a holiday, whatever the value, if we can have good and reliable experience online we will buy it. So the proverbial ball is in the court of the supplier.
In the context of an employer, mobile is important for potential applicants to consider working for them and for carrying out research. Once a candidate has made the decision to apply they will apply via desktop, mobile or tablet. However, we don’t really need to make applying for jobs as easy as buying a £5 product on your mobile; the best candidates will spend time on their application and this will usually mean using a laptop or a PC at home.
Career research is about those mobile micro-moments, like commuting to work on a train (if you are lucky enough to get a signal). If it is a job you really want, would you apply for it on a bus on your way into work, or would you want to spend time on your application and tailor it accordingly for the job in question? And more importantly as an employer do we really want to be inundated with hundreds of applications that have just been banged out on a train without much thought?
In the war for talent getting one up on the competition is massively important, but just because candidates can’t apply for a job on a mobile does not automatically mean you are missing a trick. If that’s the silver lining, the cloud is that if potential candidates can’t access information quickly via their phones you may lose their interest.
Similarly, when targeting students for courses, the majority of course applications are still made on desktops, but mobile is the key device used for researching what course or university to choose. Effectively desktops are used far less in the decision process but come into their own for a better user experience when applying through UCAS.
The importance of mobile is undeniable, but you need to invest time and money to understand where and when your target audience uses it and what for.