Having seen the statistic published by Akamai that more web visits over Christmas were made via mobile devices than desktops, we decided to take a look at the web visits composition for NetDirector websites. Interestingly, the statistic from the wider online environment was reflected in visits to our clients’ websites – just over 50% of visits came from mobiles, a jump of more than 8% up from last year.
For a number of years we have observed the rise of mobile web use and in 2014 a typical dealer website received about 45% of visits from such devices. Now, however, we are reaching a watershed moment. Smartphone ownership in the UK has hit 75% according to statistics released in October 2014 by the IAB, whilst fast mobile web coverage has improved dramatically. Tablets remain high on consumer birthday and Christmas wish lists and there’s even a debate about the correct etiquette when asking for the Wi-Fi code at someone’s house…
The result is that while we may spend our time working on desktop devices, through 2015 we can expect the majority of browsing to be undertaken on mobiles. As well as the improvements to connectivity, the very phones themselves are making a significant contribution to people’s propensity to browse. When Samsung launched the Galaxy S4 with its 5 inch screen, some businesses found it converted better. Similarly, this has been seen with the enlarged iPhone 6.
Websites and the way they are marketed will also continue to evolve with more and more motor dealers turning to responsive design to make the most of visitor cross-device behaviour. Of course, mobile specific websites, served through redirects, will continue to drive results but the trend towards responsive is clear, and it is the future.
Adding value to this and offering the opportunity to further enhance the buying journey is much-improved cross-device analytics. These enable businesses to look at when a consumer visits their website via a particular device and what elements of the site they visit, allowing for pin-point optimisation of content.
On top of all this online development, the digital dealership is also evolving. Mobile integration with a physical environment could well gain traction through 2015 as near field communication payments and hyper-localised marketing via apps and Bluetooth come into their own. For example, as a consumer’s phone connects to a dealership Wi-Fi or is looking at a particular model, relevant content could be served to their device. Combined with updated CRM systems, this could become a powerful in-showroom marketing tool.
Throughout 2015 expect continuing fast-paced growth in the use of mobile technology by both consumers and businesses. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that by the end of the year, over 50% of the UK’s Top 200 dealer groups have a responsive website, and major car manufacturers to have adopted in-showroom technology. Whatever the case, 2015 is the year of the mobile.