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While mobile internet has been around for some time, it’s only now that it is really starting to gain momentum as a valuable business tool.

By all accounts, the next two years will be a crucial time for mobile internet. Already mobile web access is trailing only slightly behind desktop access, and data from Online Marketing Trends reveals that by 2014 mobile internet use will have overtaken desktop access.

In technology terms that’s a long time. But in terms of mobilising corporate processes to accommodate such change, it’s no time at all.

Everybody’s doing it, aren’t they?

Given mobile’s rising profile, you’d be forgiven for thinking that most companies have jumped on the bandwagon, but they haven’t.

Magus recently carried out a study, in partnership with Investis, to see just how far mobile web has penetrated FTSE 100 corporate sites.

We found that only 20% of the UK’s largest corporations currently provide support for mobile devices. A similar study by PR Firm Burston Marsteller last year found that only 38% of Fortune 50 companies had a mobile optimised website.

So why aren’t businesses fully embracing mobile? It would be easy to claim that they are waiting for technology to catch up.

There is a wealth of CMS functionality out there for mobile web, all of it focused on optimising content delivery and user experience. The problem is that many businesses just aren’t using it.

Thinking along different lines

Part of the issue is the fact that mobile has grown so very fast. For many large businesses, the trouble isn’t that they are ignoring mobile, it’s that the market is evolving too rapidly for them to assess the level of opportunity that’s out there.

Even companies at the forefront of corporate mobile provision are struggling to adapt to the demands of the new channel.

At the same time, organisations are having to get to grips with how the shift from PC to mobile affects the content and functionality they serve up to users. Our research indicates that many are still finding their way in this area, with much mobile content having been repurposed from desktop sites.

So, what should businesses be doing?

Making the most of mobile

As always, early adoption is key. Mobile web has the potential to transform corporate communications,  and there are three key ways that organisations can ensure they secure the vital competitive advantage:

1.       Mobile-specific content. Repurposing desktop content leads to usability issues. To avoid this and ensure a rich user experience, businesses need ensure their content is created with mobile users in mind and that editors understand the difference between mobile and desktop requirements. 

2.       Mobile-specific standards. Our report revealed that desktop and mobile sites have all-too-similar levels of mobile content optimisation issues. It appears web teams are applying the same standards to both mobile sites and desktop sites – but to maximise the mobile channel, organisations need to have mobile-specific standards in place.

3.       Updating and monitoring. Like desktop sites, mobile sites can become stale and out-of-date. The only way to ensure their integrity over time is to establish an ongoing monitoring programme.


Published 28 February, 2012 by Simon Lande

Simon Lande is CEO at Magus and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

3 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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I disagree with mobile specific content. Why shouldn't mobile users expect the same content as desktop users?

Those who buy a paperback book wouldn't expect to find several chapters missing. Those who use a mobile to call a company wouldn't expect a lesser service because they weren't using a landline, so why should mobile users have to put up with a lesser website?

As has been well documented, there is no mobile internet, same as there is no desktop internet, tablet internet or TV internet. How people access is the web is their choice, and companies, content providers and web designers should remember that they can't dictate how people access websites.

Using responsive web design, even in its infancy, will help to ensure that all visitors to a website can access all content and functionality, and that the visitor can achieve their goals on the website. No matter whether it's to read the news whilst on their lunch break at work, catch up with friends on a social network site during the evening, or purchase items whilst on the bus to work, a website should meet the needs of all visitors, no matter what device they choose to use to access the website.

over 4 years ago


Jason Cross, Marketing Director at Incentivated

I'd agree with this comment. Make sure the UI and UX are appropriate to the device doing the surfing, not the content.

And make it quick to load - don't try and force several MB of home page over the mobile network when you can reduce file sizes and squeeze the same content into a few 10s of KB.

Let the reader decide which content they want access to (esp. if they are already familiar with the desktop site, you could be causing annoyance by removing content they expect to find).

over 4 years ago



I also agree that stripping out/pairing down content for mobile vs 'desktop' can be a bad thing.

Why not simply use style sheets to portray the content in a different way that is easier for mobile users to read/interact with?

If a mobile site has been optimised why can't that same optimisation (file sizes etc) be applied to the main site too(within reason), to improve load times - something the search engines really like.

Yes, you may be marketing to a slightly different type of user (out and about rather than sedentary), but they will still often require the same type of information, just in a 'quicker to digest' format.

over 4 years ago


Chris Brassington

The reason for a different mobile experience is because it is mobile - you wouldn't have the same experience on radio as you would have on TV. Mobile is a different medium used in different ways and locations....its mobile!

The user journey is totally different for mobile.

over 4 years ago




TV and radio are completely different media and can't be compared in this instance!

I wouldn't expect to see different content on a 19" portable TV in my kitchen than on the 42" TV in my living room, so why should websites be different?!

LukeW quotes that as many as 25% of US and UK mobile users infrequently use the "desktop internet" (http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1298). The same post also says that home usage of PCs is down around 20%.

It's far too big an assumption, and wrong, to suggest that mobile users are always "on the move", and that they should be served different content.

Laptop users can use 3G whilst out of the office, whilst mobile users can access content online using wi-fi.

The user may have different requirements or expectations as they are using a mobile device, but the site should not stop them from achieving their goals.

over 4 years ago


Filippo Cuttica

This is an interesting debate. However, great mobile experiences do very well in two things: content prioritisation and native features integration. Prioritising contents means being aware of the smaller screen dimension and of an often more distracting context of use: mobile users often access the internet while they are on the move, and they need to arrive to relevant pieces of information sooner than on a desktop website. At the same time a good mobile website should make the best of the mobile native features: integrating calls to action for direct calls to phone numbers, GPS location, adding contacts to lists, etc. Native feature integration will become even more challenging now that new technologies like NFC are becoming standard. These two approaches suggest that a great mobile website experience should provide the same amount of content that a desktop does, but in a more prioritised way, while including features that are specific to the mobile channel. We’re currently in the final stages of completing a new study called ‘Going Mobile’ in which we have assessed how important consistency across channels is for customers.

over 4 years ago

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