One of the major rules of marketing is know your audience – and while that audience may vary depending on your product or service, one thing is true across the board… mobile is fast becoming the access point of choice when it comes to browsing, buying and engaging.

Designers and developers have been talking about ‘mobile first’ for several years now, but while it’s largely been accepted that websites need to be responsive, or mobile-friendly, we’re now moving into a new age of digital marketing: mobile only.

While truly savvy marketers and agencies are increasingly aware of the mobile only concept, established businesses that have predominately focused on targeting PC/Mac/laptop users are finding it difficult to believe that smartphones are the new consumer standard. However, if they don’t embrace this new approach, they may find that they start to lose customers due to a compromised user experience.

Mobile first

While the mobile first approach was sufficient once upon a time, with over 60%* of digital delving being conducted via mobiles in 2014, around 50%** of users citing mobile as their ‘most important resource’ and over a third** exclusively using mobile for purchasing decisions, developing a site on the mobile first principle means many organisations are missing a trick.

The issue comes from mobile first creating barriers to a smooth customer journey – which ultimately can create a barrier to purchase. Think about your own experiences – how many times have you been browsing on your mobile, only to find that the design doesn’t allow you to complete your action or transaction unless you open another page, or transit from the mobile site to the full version? As businesses and designers, it’s our job to make the process quick, easy and intuitive, and mobile first doesn’t always allow for that.

Mobile only

Mobiles are no longer the ‘second-screen’ but the first for many consumers, and as such, they should offer a fully-functional platform that allows seamless integration for all stages in the customer journey. Websites need to be designed as mobile only in order to capture every aspect of the user experience – whether that’s engagement and marketing, fact-finding, loyalty or purchasing.

If you’re still not convinced, consider this: our mobile phones are constantly on hand – in a bag, our pocket or sat on the table or sofa right by us. We decide we want to buy something, or learn more about a particular service – what do we reach for? Do you go up to your spare room/office/study and switch on the PC, or wait till you get home and plug in the laptop? Of course not, we all reach for our smartphone: it’s right here, right now.

Another important point to consider is Google. As of April this year, if your site isn’t fully suited to mobile use, you’re going to notice a drop in your search rankings. If Google are prepared to penalise sites that aren’t mobile-ready, then that’s possibly the biggest indicator that mobile-only is the only way to work from here on in.

By adopting the mobile only principle, you create a truly integrated and accessible experience, ensuring that your target audience has everything they need right at their fingertips. We’re fully supportive of this new wave of strategy – and you should be too.

* Source: ComScore
** Source: Nielsen