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Adobe Flash and mobile devices go together like oil and water. Since the release of the first iPhone it was clear that Flash, Adobe’s multimedia based web site technology, would not be coming to cell phones any time soon.

Years later, after the release of several generations of smartphones and the release of tablets, and it is even clearer that Flash is all but dead and will never be a part of the modern ‘device agnostic’ approach to web design. Unfortunately many webmasters still use it.

flash-serp-note-border-300x107That may not be the case for long, as Google has stepped up their fight against the technology. Google announced that starting today they will be warning mobile searchers when the search engine’s algorithms detect a web site is not supported on the device they are using due to Flash.

Rather than outright omit sites utilizing Flash from the search engine – which would garner heavy criticism – those using smartphones and tablets to search may see a warning that allows the user to attempt to view websites using Flash or to look for alternate search results.

The warning reads “Uses Flash. May not work on your device. Try anyway | Learn more.”

It seems pretty unlikely that many users will choose to press on knowing that the site likely won’t work for them.

In lieu of using Flash, Google highly recommends updating to HTML5 and upgrading sites to support that technology because it works in mobile devices and desktop browsers alike.

Google’s Keita Oda, Software Engineer, and Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst said, “fortunately, making websites that work on all modern devices is not that hard: websites can use HTML5 since it is universally supported, sometimes exclusively, by all devices.” Google simultaneously launched two new resources to help webmasters make the upgrade:

  • Web Fundamentals: a curated source for modern best practices.
  • Web Starter Kit: a starter framework supporting the Web Fundamentals best practices out of the box.

With each new study focusing on consumer behavior, smartphones are proven to be even more integral to our purchasing habits than many of us may realize. I think everyone is aware of the increased importance of smartphones and mobile browsing in the market, but it may still be surprising that the majority of consumers (up to 60 percent) exclusively rely on mobile for purchasing decisions within the categories of telecom, restaurants, auto, and entertainment.

Numerous analysts suggest the rise shown in the third-annual Mobile Path-to-Purchase report from xAd and Telemetrics could be partially caused by an increase in consumer satisfaction in mobile devices and tablets, both rising 2 percent from 2013. Smartphone satisfaction grew to 61 percent, with tablets increasing to 68 percent.

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According to the study, the most common reasons for dissatisfaction included not enough information, slow connection, or a small screen. While website owners can’t control the size of screen their users have, they can improve the amount of information on their site, increase load speeds, and optimize their design for smaller mobile screens.

More than 40 percent of consumers cited mobile as the most important media source for information as well. Print industry continues its march towards complete irrelevance as it was called the most important source by only 5 percent of those surveyed.

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The increasing relevance of smartphones in shopping habits continues, with smartphones showing a 26 percent increase from 2013, with 29 percent citing it as the most important shopping tool in 2014. A quarter of users also said they utilized mobile devices on the entire path to purchase, from research, to comparison, to conversion.

“Capturing consumer engagement points throughout the mobile path to purchase is essential to optimizing mobile ad programs to reach consumers when they are most open to options for fulfilling their purchase needs,” said Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics.

SEO and online marketing have changed drastically over just the past couple years, especially with the rise of social media and huge changes to how search engines are able to analyze and rate websites for users. However, some things have stayed the same through it all, such as the importance of email marketing.

It could be easy to think that social media would usurp the place of email marketing in building a relationship between consumers and your brand by gradually letting potential customers see who you are and what you represent. However, you would be wrong as emails still hold their place by offering a direct line to interested users that even social media can’t match.

The majority of businesses realize this, judging by the continued prevalence of email signups and calls-to-action deliberately designed to get visitors onto an email list. What some of those companies may not understand is that they may be missing out on some of the potential of their email list by marketing to the wrong device.

A new report from Movable Ink’s Q1 2014 US Consumer Device Preference Report shows that email opens are continuing to migrate away from desktop to tablets and smartphones. At this point, desktop opens are actually the minority compared to mobile devices.

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Greg Sterling has an analysis of the data from the report, but to me the findings show that a large amount of email marketing is missing the mark by targeting users sitting at a desktop computer browsing through a day’s worth of email. This may have been the norm a few years ago, but today the majority of emails are opened while out and about and emails should be designed to fit this purpose and be able to catch users’ attention from the smaller screen.

You can start making your email marketing strategy more mobile friendly by making your emails explicitly mobile friendly as well as the associated landing pages these emails direct to. In a day-and-age when the majority of people are checking their emails and doing browsing from smartphones there is no excuse to be sending users emails they can’t easily view or sending users to landing pages that require non-iPhone friendly Flash plug-ins.

It is hard to ignore how quickly mobile traffic has grown to become an essential part of how people access the internet, but there are still a fair amount of brands burying their heads in the sand and pretending nothing has really changed. It is almost astounding to see how many are stuck in the past and refuse to invest in going mobile. With some brands estimating that half of their traffic comes from mobile devices, it is clear that brands who refuse to step-up are going to begin suffering very soon.

We know how popular smartphones and tablets are now, but we don’t actually know how much of all online traffic comes from these devices. Some analysts estimate as low as 15 percent of all traffic is coming from mobile devices, while others have said that as much as a third is coming from non-desktop devices. With such a large range, it has difficult to discern what the exact amount of mobile traffic is, but these studies do give us insight into the direction things are going.

Mobile Traffic Report

For example, Greg Sterling reports that public relations firm Walker Sands released their latest quarterly index of mobile traffic to their clients’ websites, and they estimate 28 percent of their clients’ traffic is coming from smartphones and tablets. The problem is their sample is too small for their estimate to be very relevant when dealing with the big picture. However, because of how regularly they compile and release this data, we can use their report to see the direction the market is going, and the market is largely going mobile.

Walker Sands actually found a small drop from 29 percent of traffic coming from mobile devices to 28 percent, but those numbers are a big leap from 17.5 percent at this time last year, and a one percent drop in mobile traffic isn’t large enough to draw any conclusions that mobile traffic is faltering.

It becomes even more apparent that mobile is becoming a hugely important consideration for online marketing when you consider that Facebook currently estimates that a third of their users access the site strictly from mobile devices and Yelp says that 59 percent of their searches are now coming from mobile.

The big takeaway, as Sterling points out, is that marketers are doing themselves a massive disservice by ignoring mobile traffic or even by just treating mobile traffic as secondary. Every marketer should be taking mobile traffic seriously, and not treating it as secondary. For some markets, it may even be best to put mobile ahead of desktop in their priorities.

Facebook reportedly began gauging the interest of advertisers in video ad units about 6-months ago and now, as Ginny Marvin reports for Marketing Land, they appear ready to roll out video ads to newsfeeds by July.

The video ads are expected to be available for all platforms, desktop, tablet and smartphones, and at a lower CPM for broadcast television ads. However, detractors have already started wondering aloud how users will react to more ads in their newsfeed. Especially a concern about how autoplay videos will effect the site’s load times, especially for smartphone users.

Advertisers will certainly be clamoring for the ad space in the early going, but we’ll wait and see if it becomes a proven commodity.