Most web focused / forward companies have been optimizing and studying their Google analytics mobile traffic for years now and might be optimizing their third or fourth mobile marketing strategy (assuming mobile is included in your yearly marketing plan). One question that has been on my mind lately is, who are the early companies already successfully building their tablet strategy and interpreting the iPad tablet statistics?
For starters, tablet optimization begins with a few basic assumptions that I have seen across the majority of tablet websites:
1) Understand the goal and conversion of a tablet visitor
2) Continuation of existing brand and web identities
3) Simplified layout
4) Design to reduces load times
5) Gesture-based user interface
6) Tablet users are not the same as mobile
Optimize for the tablet market by first defining the channels success. Is there a set of goals or conversions that should be happening from the tablet experience? Always measure and review how your site is preforming. It is important to find the healthy balance between proactive and reactive design modifications.
More often than not, continuing and building your brand identity across all of your web properties is a given. Pre-existing tablet templates are a cheap alternative but are a great example of straying from your existing website. A template can be over simplified and lack clear branding (unless your branding is: starts and ends with a logo).
What is more painful then waiting for 50 images to load on Pinterest when you flicked the screen less than .09 second ago? Well a lot actually, but in the web world an unusually long load time can create higher bounce and exit rates. The smaller the (quality) image the faster a visitor can react to all of the gesture based scripts you have written to keep them in engaged. A recent report came out from Adobe suggesting tablet users are 3x more likely to convert to a purchase as traditional computer users: Tablet users spend up to 50% more for each transaction at an online retailer site.
As buzz-worthy and exiting mobile has become, to me anyways, the more I feel the lines are being blurred between mobile experience and tablets. For starters, Google Analytics 6 still has tablets clustered under mobile devices, which is still true since tablets are the opposite of immobile, but technically not a smartphone. Smartphone users are often on their phone at the most peculiar points of the day, either searching on the web for specific information or in between tasks by filling in a void.
Tablet users can’t necessarily walk and tablet as easily. We already know tablet users are interacting with TV or as I define it: passively ignoring television content to focus on the reactive medium in hand and control. The combination of the two are starting to resemble something very similar to the way we digest online news and content; if something is interesting enough for us to break our stream of thought because of content or a more appealing message, then we pick our heads up for that brief second. Bottom line: mobile and tablet might be on the same team, but they certainly play different positions. Tablet users are becoming comfortable in their space, Milo found tablet users spent $123 on commerce, while mobile users spent $80.
When will a large majority of websites become tablet optimized? Over the next two years; once mobile is fully embraced. Consider some of the larger e-commerce websites like Amazon or Ebay: hundreds of thousands of products with multiple images, descriptions, and information being loaded from every device imaginable. Visitors are now purchasing from these devices and will continue to find comfort in doing so. In my experience, tablet optimization is often overlooked by mid-sized /smaller companies because they are building their existing websites, including mobile and native apps (few tablet users actively download apps). Most current tablet strategies go with the ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’ approach. If your website works well on a 13in desktop screen, how bad can it be on a 7in screen? As tablets sell out this Christmas season and continue to drop in price, your Google Analytics reports will start to shape themselves into your first discussion around tablet optimization.