Despite statistics to the contrary, many businesses continue to ignore the need for mobile solutions when it comes to their customers.

On this blog alone, I’ve shared why you need a responsive design for your site; how mobile was already starting to be a major player back in 2012; and how design trends are being shaped by the mobile customer.

Across the web, there are countless articles and presentations that share why the imminent future is mobile and how to initiate and track mobile marketing and advertising. So, yeah, mobile is pretty big.

And yet there are still some businesses that seem to be happy to rely on desktop visits and interactions, regardless of the preferences of their customers. While this is entirely their prerogative, it’s also potentially dangerous thinking, as a recent joint study between Google and Nielsen shows.

1. Mobile and the Research Stage

As Sam Fiorella and I talk about in the Influence Marketing book, understanding where your customer is in the purchase life cycle is key to understanding what message needs to go out to them, and how it should be delivered. Unsurprisingly, with the uptake of mobile browsing, research is a key action for mobile customers.

Mobile research

  • Mobile consumers spend more than 15 hours a week researching products, deals, services and more;
  • 59% visited a business’s website;
  • It takes up to 6 visits to a site for a mobile consumer to make a purchase;
  • Mobile web browsing is almost on a par with mobile app usage (7.3 hours per week for the former, 8 hours per week for the latter).

These are just some of the basic statistics around mobile browsing when it comes to the research stage. Taking a look at the figures, more than half the mobile audience visit sites on their phone, and make return visits to confirm/validate product research on your brand elsewhere.

If you’re not making it easy for your customers to carry out these actions, you’re simply turning them away to a competitor who will.

2. Mobile and Search

Tying in naturally with the usage of mobile for Research is the action of Search. Despite the fact that mobile web browsing and app usage accounts for a good percentage of consumer habits around your brand when it comes to research, mobile search still leads the way.

Mobile search

  • 74% of consumers used a mobile search engine in the overall shopping process;
  • The breakdown of mobile search versus corporate branded properties (site or app) sees mobile search lead with 48%, compared to 33% on business sites and 26% on mobile apps.

This not only helps brands answer the question of whether they should have a mobile optimized site or app, but also how they should be planning out their mobile ad and marketing campaigns when it comes to raising brand awareness at the point of search.

3. Mobile and GeoLocation Benefits

There’s been a bit of a backlash against geolocation marketing in the past 12 months or so. Platforms like Foursquare and Facebook Places have come under fire, with many questioning the benefits of mobile check-ins at physical locations and if they drive any real benefit.

While there might be some merit to this form of geolocation, today’s mobile consumer wants to know that a researched location is local when it comes to actual purchases.

Mobile geolocation

  • More than 2/3 of consumers (69%) expect a business to be within 5 miles of their radius when carrying out a search;
  • 10% actually expect businesses to be within just one mile;
  • Store locator details on websites and searches are key, with 71% using this feature to locate their nearest location.

While both Foursquare and Facebook have mixed reviews when it comes to their geolocation services, the point is people are looking for businesses and services based on location and proximity. Having Foursquare Ads tied into geographical searches is one way for local businesses to benefit.

And with Google’s continued evolution of its search algorithms, its own Google Places for Business solution is expected to play an even bigger part for logged-in Google Apps users when using mobile search.

4.Mobile and the Immediacy of Purchase

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the report, and one that every business should consider, is the way customers are adapting their purchasing decisions based on mobile usage.

Given that research and validation by peer reviews across social networks are now just a finger swipe away, consumers are far more immediate when it comes to purchases instigated by mobile search versus desktop browsing.

Mobile immediacy

  • Within an hour of validation (research, search, peer recommendation), 55% of consumers will make (or want to make) a purchase;
  • As many as 83% will make (or want to make) a purchase within 24 hours.

So, more than half of your potential target customer want to be at your store within an hour, and another 30% want to shop with you the next day. Do you really want to be the business that’s turning this away?

5. Mobile and the Point of Purchase

If the above statistics aren’t starting to paint a pretty graphic picture of how mobile is driving consumer behaviour, then you might as well ignore the following data, since clearly your business is one that doesn’t see the bigger (and smaller) picture of why mobile is so key to your future strategy.

If, however, you’ve been starting to take notes on how to get the right team to start implementing your mobile strategy, this one’s for you.

Mobile purchase

  • Despite mobile browsing accounting for the majority of research and validation, most purchases are still made in-store, with mobile driving up foot traffic for those businesses with a strong mobile strategy in place;
  • 93% of mobile searches and research result in a purchase of a product or service;
  • When it comes to purchasing, 82% purchased directly at a physical storefront, 45% waited until they were online via desktop or tablet, and 17% made a purchase there and then on their handset.

Make no mistake – mobile drives business as well as traffic.

What This Means for You

As I mentioned (perhaps rather glibly) at the start of point five, if you’re not considering a mobile strategy now, and these statistics don’t encourage you to consider one, then you may find yourself starting to fall behind next year and beyond.

It’s clear that mobile is fast catching up on “traditional browsing” when it comes to the key points of purchase decision-making: Awareness, Research, Validation, Intent, Purchase.

With consumers increasingly spending more time on mobile, as well as making purchases almost instantaneously upon validation, it’s not so much a question of whether businesses should consider whether to have a mobile strategy.

Rather, it should be how much of a mobile strategy is needed. The clock on that question is ticking – and the countdown has already begun.

The Nielsen/Google study was carried out across nine different verticals: Restaurants, Food and Cooking, Finance, Travel, Home and Garden, Apparel and Beauty, Automotive, Electronics, and Health and Nutrition. There were 950 participants, and each user had to be over 18 and have made a purchase within one of the verticals in the previous 30 days. 

images: Nielsen/Google

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Blog consulting with Danny Brown

Enjoy this post? Share your thoughts below:


  1. says

    Yep you’ve convinced me.
    Fabulously comprehensive review of why you need to be mobile responsive brought to life with awesome graphics,

    BTW – love the new theme – Agency Pro?

  2. says

    As what one article says, “Mobile search traffic converts”. So this will be a reason for small to large businesses to be geared up when talking about mobile. So they should optimize and bring their brand to the next level!

    Because I consider and I guess that you believe too that mobile device enables swift response, mobile devices makes data management easier and mobile devices provide instant accessibility, right?

    So this one is what I am thinking about in the question “What This Means for You”, and the answer is A LOT.

    • says

      Mobile definitely makes access that much faster (or should – as Howie shares in his comment below, a lot can depend on the service provider).

      Having said that, if the site isn’t optimized to handle data (caching, CDN, etc) then that could also have an impact on the mobile experience, and not in a good way, unfortunately.

  3. says

    Great post and love the data. I have some issues with the Nielsen study but the gist itself is very important. One thing though is you have no idea how many searches I conduct on my Android 4G that I never complete because the network/browser is so slow. I was actually thinking today how I have never had any internet connection mobile or land line, my computer or smart phone or company supplied gear that was fast enough to make me happy.

    Which means companies have to think about their mobile presence. Don’t go crazy with bells and whistles and gadgets. Make them clean and simple to load. Nothing worse than having everything to close the sale on the last leg and it stalls. Mobile format your site.

    Another thing I was thinking because Gini’s blogged about pivoting and blockbuster missing the netflix model. Going to a block buster for sheer ease of picking a movie or going to a store to shop is a gazillion times more productive and faster than on screen. 100x faster than desktop and maybe 1000x faster than on mobile. Just because screen size. And the fact we have a 2D vs 3D experience.

    That is important. If I have drill through more than a few pages goodbye.

    • says

      I have to agree, service providers need to up their game when it comes to download speeds, and mobile browsers need to offer the same experience their web based counterparts do.

      Sites can definitely help by using a caching/CDN mix (I’ve been experimenting with this the last day or two here, and I’m more than happy with the results) – but again, this only works if the delivery process (mobile browser/service provider) works too.

  4. says

    Mobile phones really do overtake, and while the figures you have presented are amazing and unbelievable when you compare them to the situation even two or three years ago, this trend will only grow in the future. So we’ll see even greater influence of mobile phones on sales and therefore this is something that all of the companies should be considering. Thanks for sharing your thought on this subject.

  5. says

    Very good information and accurate point of view regarding the importance of Mobile nowadays Danny! Actually, there so many online business owners are now using a responsive web design but still struggling to find good conversion rate.

  6. says

    Yes definitely everything is moving to mobile, technology is now the driving force behind business and institutional promotion and development, so get updated every one….. i mean every one

  7. says

    Thanks for another quality post, Danny!

    I think at this point it is only a question of how badly do you want to succeed as a business owner. Everyone who has a slight idea of how beneficial going mobile can be for their business has already implemented it into their strategy.

    I used to work with companies that until this day do not have a mobile site. The response? “It’d be a good idea, but *insert any irrelevant excuse here*

    • says

      The frustrating thing is that it’s pretty easy to make your site at least mobile-friendly, even if you have to do it yourself. Using excuses is simply making an excuse for why your business is going to struggle in the next couple of years.

  8. says

    Great post.  At this point in time I don’t think anyone should even be wondering if they should be mobile.  It is so easy to find stats with a simple Google search that will show you why the numbers are over-overwhelmingly in favor of mobile at this point.  I noticed some points about conversion rates on mobile being low and I have seen similar data in various studies.  The main take away though is that even with low conversion rates on the mobile devices, people were still coming back to make purchases later on the desktop platform.  Mobile… at the very, very least, supports everything since people use their phones like crazy to research and find information these days.  I went ahead and put together an infographic showing this.  You can check it out at:

  9. Ashish says

    t’s a fact that 60% of the users expect the mobile website to load in three seconds or less. Only 72% of the users wait initially for more than 5 seconds for the site to load. Mobile site would help you attract new customers as well as maintain the existing ones.


  1. […] Danny Brown, who is a co-author of Influence Marketing:  How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing and the Manager of Social Engagement and Insights at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, hosts an award-winning marketing blog.  Danny’s blog discusses the many different intersections of marketing, social media, and influence and where they fit in today’s business world.  In this particular blog by Danny Brown, which was recently posted on November 11th of this year, lists his “5 Reasons Why You Need to Be Mobile Ready for 2014.” […]