We know that an increasing number of people are spending significant amounts of time on mobile devices. According to Pew Research Center, 81% of Americans own a smartphone as of 2018, and 46% of smartphone owners say that they mostly access the internet via their phones.
Because so many people own and use smartphones to browse the internet, it is important that you consider mobile in your online marketing strategy. Consumers have come to expect websites to be mobile-friendly. When a website provides a poor mobile experience, users are likely to move on to another website.
Other industries are seeing an increase in mobile users on their websites, but does that increase apply to orthopedic practices? While we may not be able to give you industry-wide stats, we can give you insights on the trends we’ve seen over the past few years.
We first reviewed mobile usage for our websites back in 2016. We’ve recently reviewed mobile stats again, and this is what we found:
Responsive websites have the highest percentage of mobile users.
This was true in 2016, and it is still true today. In fact, mobile usage has only increased for responsive websites since then.
All of our newest websites are responsive. Other clients on our older platforms have sites with a separate solution for mobile devices. Other clients who have not upgraded their websites in many years do not have a mobile solution at all; they were designed before the mobile web was truly active.
Overall, an average of about 40% of the traffic to our websites comes from mobile devices, regardless of the age of the website platform. However, when we broke the websites down by platform age, we found that responsive sites had an average of 45% of traffic coming from mobile devices.
Furthermore, the older the website platform, the lower the percentage of mobile traffic. Our websites with separate mobile solutions had an average of 38% of traffic coming from mobile, while the sites with no mobile solution only averaged 29% of mobile traffic. The websites on our oldest platform were also more likely to have low traffic overall.
High mobile usage rates are not limited to just the “big city.”
People that live in larger cities tend to have more of an “on the go” lifestyle than those living in small towns. It makes sense that a high percentage of city dwellers would browse the internet on a mobile device throughout the day. However, several of the practices with above-average mobile usage are not located in major cities.
With that said, even practices in the suburbs and smaller towns would benefit from having a mobile site just as much as a practice in a large city would. These types of behaviors are becoming more universal, and are not just limited to a more urban setting. People are getting used to accomplishing a number of tasks on their smartphones, and are beginning to expect websites to be easy to navigate on mobile devices.
Though larger practices tend to have higher mobile usage, even smaller practices can have high mobile usage.
When we reviewed mobile usage in 2016, we found that larger practices tended to have higher mobile usage rates than smaller practices. While it is still true that larger practices tended to have higher mobile usage, we found that nearly half of the websites with above-average mobile usage (over 45% mobile traffic) were single-physician practices. In fact, of our top 5 sites in terms of mobile usage, 3 were single-physician websites.
However, the majority of single-physician practices with above-average mobile usage had responsive sites. The remaining single-physician sites with above-average mobile usage all had websites with separate mobile solutions. On the other hand, single-physician websites that did not have mobile solutions tended to appear toward the bottom of the list for mobile usage.
It is worth noting that we work primarily with smaller and single-physician practices rather than very large practices. However, while the size and location of a practice can play a role in mobile usage rates, the biggest takeaway is that it’s critical to have a website platform with a mobile-friendly solution to get more mobile users. Though we had a few cases where non-mobile-friendly websites had mobile usage rates at or above-average, most of them were below-average in mobile usage.
One big development since the last time we reviewed mobile usage is that Google rolled out mobile-first indexing in 2018. Historically, Google would index the desktop versions of websites and considered that when selecting websites to show in search results. However, since mobile usage has grown considerably, Google began to use the mobile versions of websites to determine in their indexing and ranking. This was done to ensure that mobile users have a good experience with the websites shown in search results and are able to easily find the information they need.
We know that mobile web browsing has only continued to increase over the years. Search engines like Google are taking steps to ensure that mobile users are able to easily find the information they need. Even if your website is not mobile-friendly, and your website is doing fine in terms of mobile usage right now, there is a good chance that that may change in the future.
At P3, we always recommend that practices upgrade their website technology to stay ahead of these changes. It’s much easier to fix it before it’s a problem than to try to recover from a traffic or ranking drop after the fact.