The Big Takeaway from IMS SF - It's About Mobile

Published on 06/13/2012

I've just spent the last two days (well most of them) over at Fort Mason at the Inbound Marketing Summit SF.  There was a lot of really great content and it gave me a lot to think about.  Probably the biggest takeaway is the growing importance of mobile in the B2B space.  Most of the content at the show seemed really focused on B2C and eCommerce applications.  There are definitely some implications for B2B sites that are easy to overlook and should be addressed.

On a whim I was inspired to hop into my analytics package and do a little investigation on the exact size of our mobile traffic.  Nothing surprising here, but roughly 7% of traffic was happening on a mobile device.  Certainly nothing to write home about and this is a number that has stayed constant.  I then started looking through some specific areas and one thing jumped out at me.  Mobile accounted for a much larger portion of our campaign traffic than the normal site average.  Digging in, the most popular mobile device is the iPad.  More importantly, there is a big difference between conversion rates of an iPad user and a desktop user.

So, what's different?  The landing page renders perfectly on the device.  My initial impression is that to a tablet user a web form seems longer than it does to a desktop user.  It's the expectation of a mobile user to be able to intuitively click around to accomplish most tasks and that data entry of any kind is seen as a negative experience.  Right now, that's my working hypothesis.  Regardless, I think I have enough test and design work to keep me busy for a few weeks :)

Overall I think it brings up a few important points to realize on your way to forming a good mobile strategy in a B2B environment.

  1. User Experience and Expectation is key.  Mobile traffic is happening and if you're not properly meeting the expectations of that audience, you will likely not succeed.
  2. Mobile is only going to increase.
  3. Specific use cases will be important to map out.  While I'm not sure the likelihood of a user fully researching a software purchase from their smartphone on their way to work, I do think it's important to flag those activities which a mobile user will want from your site and tailor your mobile experience around that.

Lots to think about and I'm already doing some functional mapping to better serve what is clearly a growing segment of traffic.  What do you think?  What's your mobile strategy?

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