Bad formatting and slow load times plague mobile sites
As mobile phone penetration has risen to near-saturation and smartphones make up a bigger share of phones, the mobile internet is becoming a more powerful force for US consumers. But it will take more effort on the part of publishers for the mobile web to reach critical mass.
According to a June 2010 survey by web performance monitoring firm Gomez, a third of mobile internet users in the US say their most common problem when browsing the mobile web is site formatting. Slightly fewer complained of slow load times, and nearly a fifth said the worst problem was with functionality.
Mobile web users are used to some level of connectivity problems, but that doesn’t lessen their frustration when the goal of much mobile internet usage is quick, on-the-go access to information. Gomez found that while many users expect sites to load somewhat slower on their phones, nearly a third want to be able to access mobile sites at least as quickly as they can browse on a PC.
The US Federal Communications Commission found in May that just 33% of US smartphone owners were “very satisfied” with the speed of their mobile internet connections.
Some of these problems may be resolved when 4G becomes a reality for US consumers. However, publishers and marketers shouldn’t rely on carrier upgrades as a solution when they’ve had notorious problems with data transmission loads and infrastructure upgrades. Better mobile optimization will be key to marketing and communications with on-the-go consumers who will increasingly expect to access information anytime and anyplace—without waiting too long.