Our New Mobile Reality

Recently several leading Charlotte digital marketing agencies were invited to a Google event. The topic? “Google Tips for Optimizing Your Mobile Strategy.”

A Google employee who specialized in everything mobile was on hand, and what we learned was surprising. The event began with a simple question from our speaker: “Will everyone please unlock your phone and hand it to the person to your left?”

The reaction from everyone in attendance was apprehension at best. We were uncomfortable, and not everyone agreed to participate. What our speaker wanted to demonstrate was the importance of mobile in everything that we do, so much so that we are not willing to hand it to a complete stranger for 15 seconds.

The point? Despite the relevance of our phones in our lives, Google estimates the investment by businesses into desktop is still higher than mobile. But I would have had no problem handing my laptop to the person to my left.

Google has coined a new term: finger traffic. They estimate that we have moved from a foot traffic world to a “finger-traffic” universe.

We are now averaging six hours a day in digital versus one hour five years ago. Everyone’s looking for answers, 24 hours a day and everywhere in the world. Business owners, especially retailers, need to make sure that they hit every touchpoint available. Interesting enough, with all this digital interaction, 92% of retail still occurs in store.


Because what a customer does before they enter the store has changed. This is occurring across devices and platforms, so there is no single path to purchase. Google believes that 72% of people use phones to do research before purchase and 82% of these people use their mobile device to help them make decisions on purchases while in the store.

We’re living in a new reality where business owners must be present whenever and wherever consumers are searching for information. We must begin thinking in terms of “micro-moments.” This is when users are most open and accepting to brands (old or new) to make a purchase.

In our new reality, consumers don’t care about the store in which they’re making the purchase. What matters most is the store that gets to them first with the best price. Micro-moments are about quick customer decisions. “I want to know.” “I want to go.” “I want to do and I want to buy.”

People are now caring less about brand loyalty (especially millennials), and are instead looking for an immediate solution that fits their need. These micro-moments can make the difference between winners and losers. If your company can anticipate the consumer’s decision and be ready when they’re ready through organic or paid mobile search, you could win the sale and increase your brand awareness.

This anticipation also means that you must be quick. Your website plays an integral role in user experience with a special emphasis on time to load. Google reports that 53% of customers abandon a website that takes over three seconds to load. Last year this number was 40%.

In our new mobile reality, speed can kill your business or bring you to new heights. Don’t cringe the next time someone asks to borrow your phone—they’re just doing research on their next in-store purchase.

Bernard Lee



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