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14 May 2014

Getting a Multi-Device Digital Strategy off the Ground

Posted By: AIB Business

Creating a great website experience for consumers across multiple devices can help businesses generate more engagement and increase conversions. With today’s users experiencing almost every website on a variety of devices, it has become more and more important to adapt your site for optimised performance on smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Nowadays people are constantly connected and moving from one device to another to communicate, shop and stay entertained. They expect a quality browsing experience regardless of what device they use – PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, hybrid device, mini-tablet or television – and meeting that requirement should be a key focus of your company’s digital strategy.


Step 1: Data is King – Analyse Your Website’s Traffic Sources

By using analytical tools, like Google Analytics, to gain insights into what devices your website visitors are using, you can build a business case to justify a multi-device strategy. Once you start to analyse your traffic, chances are you’re going to see a shift away from desktop, with more of your online content being reached via tablet and mobile. If this is the case, it is time to start building your multi-device strategy.

We're living in a multi-screen world where users expect to have access to information, people, and computing power from any screen. Here are just a few findings from a recent survey*:

  • 81% of consumers use their smartphones while watching TV
  • 66% use their smartphone at the same time as their laptop
  • 83% of mobile users said that they wouldn’t leave home without their smartphone
  • 63% of users said that while they may not make their final purchase through a mobile, they would definitely use their phone to gather info and help them with their purchasing decision.

Step 2: Now I Have my Multi-Device Business Case … What Next?

After analysing your traffic, you will get an understanding of which platforms your audience is using to reach you. By comparing the content that your users are accessing via desktop, mobile, and tablet, you can decide which of the following multi-device solutions will suit your business and customers:


Responsive Web Design (RWD)

A responsively-built site automatically rearranges and resizes content to fit the screen of any device used to access the site. This allows you to optimise the user experience across different devices – without needing to create redirects or make unique pages that cater to each platform. For the user, this means a smooth user journey, and for a content manager, it means content only needs to be updated once. From a developer viewpoint, RWD may require rebuilding your site framework with flexible templates, grids, style sheets and JavaScript – but with very rewarding results. Take a look at this case study to see how Plusnet (a broadband supplier) adapted RWD, resulting in “online sales via smartphones and tablets growing tenfold year on year”.


Dynamic Serving of Content

Another solution is to dynamically serve content. Similar to RWD, with this approach the web server detects the type of device the visitor is using and presents a custom page on the same URL. This allows for a fully customised device experience, but also means that your content will need to be maintained separately for each platform. To ensure your users have a smooth navigational experience, prioritise building dynamic content for the most popular pages that users are accessing through mobile, and similarly apply the same for tablet.


Separate Mobile Site

The final implementation you might want to consider is creating a separate mobile site, where smartphone users will be directed to a mobile-optimised version of your site. This implementation allows you to fully customise your content for a mobile audience, since it’s often an independently-hosted solution. Similar to creating dynamic serving content, this means you need to make separate updates for content or styling pieces to ensure a smooth user experience. Take a look at how Adidas reached a winning formula with their dedicated mobile solution.

Online visitors are impatient and they seek information about your product and services in real time, and if your website is difficult to navigate you may run the risk of losing your potential customer to a competitor that has a mobile-friendly site. If you have a great product or service, make it as easy as possible for your customers to browse, book or buy on your website.

*Study completed by Google in collaboration with Sterling Brands and Ipsos, on a sample of 1,600 users

Written by: Google

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