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.
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.