Results from Adobe’s recent 2012 Mobile Consumer Survey show that consumers are using their smartphones and tablet devices to connect with brands in a variety of ways. However, many companies aren’t yet providing optimized experiences that leverage these different devices. And while it seems fairly obvious that businesses should not approach their mobile strategy in an identical manner as the desktop, many still are.

An Uneven Mobile Landscape

Adobe surveyed more than 1,200 mobile users in the United States in an effort to learn what mobile devices they use, how they interact with websites and applications, and what they want most out of their mobile experiences. What they found out highlights the inevitable rise of mobile devices, with smartphones becoming the preferred form of web access for consumers. However, the overall mobile landscape is not as well developed and hardly in tune to how, when and where consumers are using their mobile devices.

So what exactly did they find?

Mobile Usage

  • For consumers who own both a smartphone and tablet, the primary device is still the smartphone (88%).

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  • Android devices lead the way in overall popularity at 51%, followed by iPhones at 38%.
  • The numbers for Android devices skewed even higher for the young age group at 58%.
  • Tablet users are more likely to be home-based (70%), while 24% use tablets on the go. Consumers devote a significant amount of time to their tablets, with 31% using them daily between 1 to 4 hours.
  • Tablets are more likely to be shared devices, with a majority of tablet users (56%) stating that they allow other members of the family, such as children, to use their tablet.
  • iPad users (62%) and Android tablet users (56%) reported spending more than $250 on consumer products via their devices over the past 12 months, compared to 58% of iPhone users and 53% of Android smartphone users.

User Experiences

  • Consumers who shop via mobile applications on Android tablets report the highest percentage levels of satisfaction at 88% versus iPad users at 71%, and Android smartphone users at 69% versus iPhone users at 66%.

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  • When it comes to shopping for consumer products via mobile websites, iPad users reported the highest satisfaction levels at 75%, followed by Amazon Kindle at 73%, iPhone at 66%, Android tablet at 66%, and Android smartphone at 60%.
  • When asked why they prefer a regular website when shopping on your mobile device, a majority of respondents indicated convenience (39%), followed by access to more features (21%).

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Social Media Engagement

  • Facebook is the dominant social network accessed by mobile (85%), followed by Twitter (35%), and then Google+ (21%).
  • While users’ most popular activity is to read status updates (85%), consumers are also using their mobile devices to view Facebook fan pages of their favorite brands.
  • While 53% of consumers who view a Facebook fan page receive an offer or promotion, one in five consumers report that they do not have a mobile-optimized experience when linking from Facebook to a brand’s site.
  • Location services are on the rise and are being driven by consumer incentives to check in. Younger demographics are more likely to check in (35%) versus senior at 18%.

Mobilize & Optimize

Put together, these results indicate that different devices deserve different experiences. Regardless of the device they use, consumers expect to visit optimized websites. As a result, brands are behooved to offer an engaging and dynamic mobile user experience design that corresponds with the experience users expect to receive. To do this, however, is more complicated. To help organization design better user experiences Adobe shares a few tips to incorporate into their mobile strategy: 

  • Reduce touch events to conversion.
  • Design for mobile interactions.
  • Optimize for speed.
  • Make content “findability” easy.
  • Don’t launch mobile channels without analytics.
  • Plan and prioritize optimization efforts for tablet experiences that are unique and different from smartphones, given the larger screen size.
  • Don’t launch a social mobile presence that is not mobile optimized.
  • Don’t run mobile advertising campaigns that link to a desktop site.

They say knowing is half the battle. The more important part is putting that knowledge into action. As mobile devices continue to infiltrate the customer experience, companies must make a concerted effort to keep up or suffer the consequences.