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How mobile-friendly is your site? Google asks SMEs

With more people searching on mobile phones than desktops, Google has launched a free online tool to help businesses measure their site’s performance on the mobile platform and give businesses a detailed report so they know what they’ll need to fix and where to go.

Google’s data highlights that one out of two people expect a page to load in less than two seconds? Yet the average load time for mobile sites is 19 seconds over 3G connections.

Nine in ten Singaporeans own a smartphone and on average, people check their phones more than 150 times a day, and more searches occur on mobile phones than computers. The data from Google underlines the need for a mobile website for all SMEs as if a potential customer is on a phone, and a site isn’t easy to use, 53 per cent of visits are likely to be abandoned if pages take longer than three seconds to load.

Ghislain Le Chatelier, Regional Director South East Asia, Global Marketing Solutions, Google said to Digital Market Asia, “Singapore has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world. The average Singaporean owns about three devices – this can include your mobile phone, tablet and laptop for example. This represents a huge opportunity for SMEs to reach out to their customers on the medium they are spending their time on.” I like to think about capturing this opportunity in 2 steps.

Nine out of 10 people say that they use multiple screens for such tasks as booking a flight online or managing their personal finances.

The new tool can help SMEs see how their site scores on mobile friendliness, mobile speed and desktop speed.

Speaking about the biggest mistakes that SMEs make online, Mr Le Chatelier said, “Many SMEs still don’t realise how simple it is to get online with a mobile website and that running online ads is easy to set up and is far more transparent and measurable than ads on offline media. Having a website is great but ensuring your site is mobile-friendly and works across devices for your consumers is equally important.”

Explaining the need for SMEs to think mobile, Mr Le Chatelier said that businesses should look at capturing this opportunity in two steps. Firstly, there is a need for a digital mindset change. “SMEs need a digital presence and mobile is the entry point in Singapore today; SMEs need to recognise that consumers like to be informed and come online to do active evaluation before selecting a product or a service. In the past, they would have always ensured they had a classified listing in the yellow pages, and Google search is the online equivalent,” he outlined.

Secondly, he highlighted the importance of marketing. He explained,” Use all the free tools out there to build your mobile presence and signpost to your store. You can then look at assigning marketing budget and effort to your site so you can optimise the experience. The key thing for SMEs is getting started.”

Google already has three other tools that SMEs can access to build a stronger online presence: Google My Business, Google Analytics and Global Market Finder.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.