In case the persistent drumbeat of blog posts, newsletters, and conferences underscoring the mobile mandate were not enough, here’s some compelling new data from Pew:
63% of cell owners are what Pew calls “cell internet users,” people who access the internet via phone. The number has doubled from 31% since 2009. See also that email and internet use were equal in 2009, and by 2013 internet is 13 percentage points higher. Presumably, as cell internet users move beyond email, they have higher expectations for mobile web and native app experiences.
The report also includes recent demographic data. If your organization is focused on 18-29 year olds, take note: 85% of them use their phone to go online.
So what are digital publishers doing about the rise of mobile internet use? Last week, Digiday asked publishers what mobile-first meant to them. Definitions varied, with emphasis on interface design or short-form content. All concurred that optimizing for mobile is a core element, not an option. Buzzfeed, for one, has seen mobile traffic rise from 20% to 40% over the last 12 months, and predicts an increase to 80% as networks improve.
Now you’ve seen the numbers and read the anecdotes — what can you do to improve your mobile readiness today? Here’s one idea, taken from Facebook’s successful shift of emphasis to mobile by turning off the desktop version internally. The next time your agency shows you design comps, or your team shows you a prototype, ask that it be demoed only on a handheld. At the end of the meeting, during the last five minutes, have them show you the desktop version. [tweetable]It’s time to flip the focus toward mobile [/tweetable].
The separate mobile use case is dead; the universal mobile mandate is here. Digital leaders need to work with their agencies and teams to flip the process: think, build, and ship mobile-first.