Previously, a website that functioned equally well on both desktop and mobile platforms was considered a luxury. Now – after a recent update to Google’s search algorithms – it’s a necessity, with businesses that don’t provide a mobile alternative to their normal website suffering in search rankings.
The change is likely to shape demand for website developers, as a new skill set is now required by more companies than in previous years if they wish to catch up with their rivals.
However, businesses should not be relying on Google updates alone to judge market trends, as there has been a shift toward mobile browsing in general over recent years.
What are the current trends?
Somehow, the number of Australians accessing Facebook over a four-week period continues to grow, according to Roy Morgan Research. Within this, the proportion of users viewing the site on mobile devices has also increased, a trend that can be observed in general across other services as well.
Of the nearly 13 million Australians who viewed Facebook in 2015, almost 9 million did so on either a phone, tablet or both. This equates to more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of all respondents, up from less than half (45 per cent) in 2013.
More than half (53 per cent) of all YouTube visitors access the video streaming service from mobile devices, a fact Roy Morgan Research attributes to increases in data allowance across the country. Again, this represents an increase in the 2013 figures of 36 per cent.
General Manager for Media at Roy Morgan Research Tim Martin believes that, while the statistics seem clear cut, the numbers could provide a challenge for media marketers.
“Of course, the results revealed here are missing a crucial element for understanding cross-platform visitation in full: how many of these mobile phone or tablet visitors also still visit via computer?” he said.
“These ‘overlaps’ are confounding most measurement systems around the world.”
Because of this, mobile and desktop access needs to be given equal attention to ensure sites aren’t penalised by Google’s search algorithms.