Mobile Data Insight Report (2011-2016)

In order to determine the necessity of having a mobile-friendly website, an analysis was completed on a sample of mobile data. Analytics data from the websites of numerous non-traditional, higher education programs was gathered and the sites’ visits were classified by type of device: either as mobile, tablet, or desktop. The proportion of each device type’s use per year from 2011 to 2016 were then analyzed and graphed as shown in figure 1.


Figure 1: Website Visits by Device

This analysis yielded a few compelling results. Desktop device traffic, despite comprising nearly 95% of site visits in 2011, decreased each consecutive year to just above 66% in 2016. This reduction was almost entirely transferred to mobile devices, whose share of traffic increased from 5% in 2011 to 28% in 2016. This signifies that mobile visits now equal almost half of desktop visits and compose approximately one-third of all website traffic in this market.

This is a substantial portion, as it shows that one out of three potential non-traditional students who visit post-secondary program websites do so using a mobile device. This could be due to the on-the-go nature of our society, or the convenience of browsing on a smart phone instead of a desktop computer — though the results unmistakably indicate the importance of appealing to mobile users in addition to desktop users.

With it already being difficult to capture a consumer’s attention, prospective students are unlikely to browse a website on their phone if it is not optimized for their convenience. Therefore, the lack of a mobile-friendly website can potentially result in a third of consumers dropping off once they arrive on a school’s program website. The possibility of losing such a large portion of leads implies that mobile-friendly websites are not just beneficial, but essential in retaining and attracting modern students.