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Last year, the average visitor engaged with about 80% as much site content on a smartphone as they did when using a desktop or laptop, a gap that has narrowed across industries. That’s according to Adobe’s latest annual “Best of the Best” study, which is based on an analysis of more than 200 billion visits to more than 10,000 US websites.

Smartphones’ relative engagement (in comparison to computers) is highest in the Travel (84%) and Retail (84%) industries, and is closely followed by the Auto industry (83%). The top 20% of sites in those industries see virtually identical engagement between smartphone visitors and those using a desktop or laptop (at 95% of higher).

Smartphones are also having a stronger impact on site traffic, consistent with earlier Adobe data revealing that the battle for website visits is increasingly being fought on smartphones.

Indeed, last year smartphones’ share of site traffic grew by double digits across each of the 7 verticals identified. Telecommunications companies saw a majority (62%) of their site visits come from smartphones, with Media & Entertainment companies nearing that majority threshold (47%) too.

By contrast, Financial Services and Insurance companies (17%), along with Technology companies (16%), continue to see a relatively small share of traffic coming from smartphones, despite increases.

Smartphone conversion rates, meanwhile, continue to lag desktop conversion rates in the Retail and Travel sectors. But smartphone conversion rates are narrowing the gap, growing twice as quickly as their desktop counterparts.

How Are Marketers Acquiring Mobile Users?

Given the fast-growing influence that smartphones are having on website visits, it’s important for marketers to acquire such users – and keep them engaged.

A recent study from Adobe [download page] looks into how marketers are going about these tasks, noting that 82% of marketers feel that their mobile efforts have differentiated their organization from their competition and that 81% feel their mobile websites are extremely or very important to their marketing strategy.

Marketers see a different mix of acquisition sources for mobile sites as they do for mobile apps. Owned media (67%) is the most commonly chosen to drive acquisition for mobile sites, ahead of paid media (60%) and earned media (55%). But for mobile apps, paid media (68%) gets the nod over owned media (63%) and earned media (52%).

In terms of paid media, marketers identified search as the most effective, with 62% of respondents rating it either extremely (29%) or very (33%) effective at acquiring mobile website visitors. Social was a close second, as 59% tabbed it extremely (29%) or very (30%) effective, with display (57%) following and video (55%) also in the mix.

There was a healthy difference in opinions by industry, though. Fully 81% of respondents from the Media & Entertainment industry ranked social media as extremely or very effective in acquiring mobile site users, while 80% of marketers from the Travel industry ranked search as being that effective.

Where to Go from Here with the Mobile Experience?

The majority of marketers are identifying a range of priorities for mobile web experiences this year: 76% are prioritizing privacy and data security; 74% are prioritizing personalization; and 71% are prioritizing design and layout. While there may seem to be a conflict between privacy and personalization, commentary in the report suggests that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive as long as organizations respect users’ opt-in arrangements and optimize them for the right touch points.

Looking ahead over the next 3 years, marketers see the following areas as being most important for improving the mobile experience:

  • Analytics (72%);
  • Content marketing (69%);
  • Customer profile data (69%);
  • Mobile commerce (66%); and
  • Personalization (66%).

The full report, which is based on a survey of 500 marketers and IT professionals (above results are all specific to marketers), can be downloaded here.

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