It goes without saying that a well-designed website can help an event or conference with its success. Websites aren’t just used for marketing, but can also be used operationally and for customer service, so knowing what kind of site you need is crucial. For example, websites can be used for exhibitors to upload information, and can host booking and ticket sales.
It seems as though as the entire event industry wants an app these days, so it can be tempting to rush into thinking your event or conference needs one. But careful consideration is needed as to what kind of mobile optimisation will work best for you: a responsive site, a mobile specific site and/or a mobile app.
Survey results show that 60-70% plus of web traffic is mobile generated. However, this is for ALL web activity, not specifically B2B, which is where events and conferences lie. However, in 2015 27% of B2B traffic came from mobile sources and was only expected to rise. By 2016, 79% of B2B sites in the USA were already responsive, up from 57% in 2014.
Although most B2B web browsing is done via a desktop at work, mobile technologies have increasingly blurred the lines between work and personal life. B2B researchers are increasingly using mobile and Google reported that 49% of B2B researchers who use their mobile devices for product research do so while at work.
When we analysed our own sites, those run by Miramedia, we saw that 22% of traffic was from a mobile source.
It’s also key to understand the event marketing journey. Most events and conferences are marketed via B2B media, mainly online trade magazines. The magazine will email out key articles, and once a reader has clicked through to view the article, they may then decide to click to sign up to the event. Much of this activity is done on a mobile device, as this is when many people check emails. This means having a clean click through to a mobile optimised site is important for event and conference marketers.
To meet the demands of mobile, sites need to be either responsive, which means they can work on all devices, or you can build specific sites for mobile applications. These separate sites tend to only have the essential functionality on them that mobile users will need. Responsive and mobile functionality will require additional design and development work from your web team, especially if building a separate mobile site, so it pays to understand if this is something you really need.
Responsive sites are important for SEO. In 2015 Google changed its algorithm to promote those sites that are responsive. In addition, for event marketers driving traffic through this channel, it’s important to know that businesses that do not provide a solid mobile experience encounter decreases in organic ranking and mobile site traffic, and in increase in bounce rate.
As more and more people are using mobile apps to search and scroll on sites, responsive and mobile optimised design is paramount. A responsive site needs to be simple, functional and contemporary. On a mobile device, people prefer to scroll rather than click through, so a long form layout on a mobile site might work better. Another alternative might be a card layout, clearly signposting users to content and calls to action. Users need to know exactly what is being offered and when in a simple format that they can respond to. As 44% of people struggle to navigate on smaller devices, design and content are very important.
Some consumer facing websites are deliberately not responsive: instead they have built special mobile versions of their sites. This allows the essential content and functionality to be available via mobile, but keeps the full site for desktop. It allows quicker site loading and prevents people getting annoyed with the site and exiting. However, given that on most mobiles, the screens are so high quality, a special mobile site might not be needed.
In B2B, the longer sales process can mean far fewer impulse purchases than with regular consumers, so maybe in your event industry it might seem like mobile is not necessary yet. Most people are deskbound in the office using desktop computers. Plus these desktops may not have the required browsers for a whizzy responsive site. Many event and conference sites are short lived so you need to decide if it is worth investing time and budget in creating addons such as an app. However, we strongly suggest that despite this, all websites for events and conferences are responsive.
A first step might be checking how your existing sites look on a mobile device. Here is how to do that from your desktop (needs screen shots)
- Open your site
- Click on the 3 dots (in Chrome) on the far right hand side of the top menu bar
- Click on More Tools, then Developer Tools
- Click on this icon and your screen will show what your existing site looks like on a mobile device
At Miramedia, we believe that all sites need to be mobile optimised so we build ALL our sites to be responsive as a matter of course. As WordPress developers we also help optimisation in other ways such as:
- We create apps using WordPress API website which allows to create these easily and more cost effectively than other solutions
- We can share content via the API to partner app companies to assist development
- The WordPress CMS (content management system) has the option to create a mobile version of the current page, so creating an optimised site is straightforward
|Uses the same CMS as desktop = Single source editing
|Can use separate content for mobile versions of a page
|Uses the API to get same content as website
|You can use HTML 5 to browse a site offline
|All Miramedia’s sites are responsive
|You can use WP for both the desktop and the mobile versions
|We have an API to send the event data to an APP