The 2015 Internet Trends report highlights the importance of optimized content presentation

July 8th, 2015 by

As I read through Mary Meeker’s most recent report (Internet Trends Report, 2015), I was struck by how much the narrative has evolved over the last three years. Whereas in previous years the focus has mainly been on the interpretation of raw data to derive market and device trends, this year’s report took a sharp right turn after the customary market growth charts to highlight some new and important observations: the growth of mobile advertising and the affect of mobile on crucial business functions. Before I get to that, let’s review the top-line themes of this year’s report:

After an explosive start, Internet user growth is finally starting to slow down. The number of global Internet users grew by eight percent in 2014, compared to ten percent in the previous year.

Similarly, smartphone adoption is slowing down: 2014 saw 23 percent growth compared to 27 percent in 2013.

There are now 2.8 billion Internet users globally, up 8 percent in 2014

There are 5.2 billion mobile phone users now, up 23 percent in 2014. Of which, 2.1 billion are smartphone users vs. 3.1 feature phone users

US smartphone subscription penetration was 64% in 2014

User engagement growth solid: up 11% (2014 over 2013)

The big 20-year change: people are connected 24/7 with mobile devices

The “Re-Imagining” Continues

This section of the report (which begins on slide 28) contains some key insights. This year’s analysis highlights how mobile has transformed core functions that power enterprises: business communications, payments, business analytics & planning, document signing and transaction management, CRM, HR/training. Across all these areas, mobile has emerged as a platform that has forced ISVs and developers to re-imagine how to factor mobile into the transformation of these key business functions. For each, it’s noteworthy that the user experience on mobile has shaped the design and execution of these apps, making them easier to use, more powerful and more productive than their previous desktop versions. In some case, the mobile version of these apps offers an all-around better experience than the desktop/web version. We’ve come a long way since m-dot websites!

Mobile optimization moves to the forefront

These trends underscore an essential truth: as consumers and business users shift their use of web resources from desktop to mobile, it’s imperative that website architects and designers optimize the user experience for mobile. By optimize, I mean going far beyond simple format and orientation to consider how users will interact with each page. This means re-imaging how presentation, layout, button size, font size, device-specific features and page-load time are optimized not just for “mobile” — but for individual devices.

Understanding how, why and when your users engage via specific channels and devices will lead to a better user experience, and will deliver additional value for your users. Users (especially mobile users) are turned off by inconsistencies across channels, but they’re also turned off when advertisements disrupt and aren’t integrated into their user experience. This means that your ads must be specifically formatted for mobile (how many times have you seen an ad that obscures content, or a close button in an ad that won’t close the ad?) — these are reasons for a user to abandon that page and, quite conceivably, never return to that website. And once that user arrives on your landing page, make sure it, too, is optimized for the device in his/her hand.

How SNOW can help

If you’d like to learn more about how our server-side content optimization technology (SNOW) can transform any website, CMS or e-commerce system into a mobile-optimized and generally delightful experience for your customers or users, read the Trilibis white paper. Or, for a quick overview, watch our video.

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