The Importance of Thoughtful Mobile Web Design for Financial and Investment Services
Overall, web traffic is now well over 50% mobile-driven, marking a 222% rise in just the last 5 years.1
Google uses mobile rankings as their primary source for all search results. 2
Phone based Cost Per Click averages 24% less than desktop and has a 40% higher CTR.3
Consumers and prospects spend more and more time browsing on mobile and are even more likely to visit your site on their phone.4
Bottom line: If you don’t have a quality mobile presence, you are paying a massive digital penalty that will almost certainly affect your business, especially as we progress further through this rapid technology adoption age. Yet, the financial services industry has been somewhat slow on the uptake when it comes to developing a higher quality mobile website presence.
Historically, financial institutions have taken a conservative view of marketing and branding on emerging platforms, but this is juxtaposed by way of mobile banking and financial transaction apps. As Venmo, PayPal and Apple Pay now dominate money transactions, mobile banking is ubiquitous for anyone with a checking account and a phone.
Audiences are already primed to equate finance with mobile, so website design can seamlessly follow suit as long as institutions are willing to properly invest in the space and ensure the basics like responsiveness and device/browser agnostic capabilities.
The current landscape is still desktop-dominated, which means that the vast majority of mobile sites are simply pared-down iteration of the primary desktop version. This creates a poorly optimized experience for the end user.
With all the examples of the mobile surge above, financial service providers are incentivized to do better. A weak mobile presence equates to weak online presence.
Those who ignore the trends in consumer behavior and technology adoption will be left behind…
Financial firms who place emphasis on mobile and cultivate a quality presence have an opportunity to really differentiate themselves and create loyalty in the market by coming across as more agile, innovative, and technologically-aware than the competition.
Benefits of a Mobile Presence for Investment and Financial Services Firms
The top-line usage statistics for mobile vs desktop are compelling on their own, but the benefits of a mobile presence go beyond the sheer volume of web traffic going on mobile. They have to do with Connectivity, Visibility, and Action.
Web traffic is now well over 50% mobile-driven, marking a 222% rise in just the last 5 years5
In an always-online, technology-driven society, if you do not have streamlined and easy-to-access connectivity to the mobile ecosystem, then you are going to struggle to keep up. Beyond the obvious fact of mobile site being accessible anywhere at any time, having a strong mobile web presence means users will always see you at your best.
Widespread connectivity, ironically enough, extends to offline media. Think QR Codes, for example. Mobile devices are unique in their ability to bridge an online-offline gap, and this functionality greatly expands a financial firms opportunity to connect with, engage, and market to potential clients.
The internet is a crowded place, and the highway to get where you want to be is the search engine. SEO is king when it comes to web content, and Google officially favors mobile-responsiveness (referenced in more detail below), using it as a main parameter for providing better search rankings. In short, Google ranks you higher when the site is optimized for mobile viewing. This has the additional effect of simply improving your desktop presence as well, so the value is undeniable.
With business and socializing increasingly being conducted on mobile, a phone is the most intuitive place for CTAs and engagement-based content to be most effective. Social shares are much more likely on phones and features like click-to-call are seamless, immediate actions that will incentivize site users to engage financial services firms and start a relationship.
How to Approach Financial Web Design with a Focus on Mobile
The status quo of web design when it comes to creating a mobile presence is what developers and designers like to call “graceful degradation” where the product design beginning with desktop, followed by paring down that design to meet mobile device limitations.
The systematic removal of features that don’t fit on mobile vs completely redesigning may be cost-effective in a sense, but it will ultimately cost you more in the long-run. So, what is the answer?
It’s actually pretty simple: become a mobile-minded thinker and embrace Responsive Web Design principles. Let’s take a closer look:
Responsive Web Design (RWD) – A design method that allows web sites to fit the screens of different devices automatically, displaying the content in a way that maintains consistency, while keeping the user in their element on their chosen device.
In other words, design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform, and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from their desktop to phone, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities.
On platforms constrained by display size, this can have a positive effect on the user journey by greatly reducing bothersome operations like panning, zooming and scrolling when visiting a website. When operating by touch vs mouse, these tasks can make site navigation a grueling process, and therefore, a poor user experience.
And similar to what has been mentioned, Google is prioritizing this design philosophy, even going so far as providing training and resources for developers to ensure sites know exactly what they need to do to meet the search engine’s ideal site specifications (and increase rankings).
While RWD starts on desktop, it certainly requires a mobile-minded perspective, and with that, comes additional unforeseen benefits. Not only will considering mobile on the outset give you a head start in developing a comprehensive web presence, it can play an important role in product design in general, accomplishing two primary things:
1. It helps to save product design time and improve designers’ productivity.
2. It forces designers to pay closer attention to the content of a site, which helps them to create neat, simple, and practical designs.
As smartphones become more and more powerful, the design balance will shift further and further to mobile design, so having a strong understanding of RWD will place you in a favorable position as phone browsers and usability continue to improve.
How to Maximize Mobile Value for Financial Firms
In terms of what mobile users think, feel, and act like when navigating their phones, firms need to focus on speed, impact, and quality.
If your site doesn’t load quickly, you’re already losing. Mobile internet speeds, generally speaking, have yet to reach their desktop counterparts, so optimizing a site for speed is critical to shorten that gap and keep that already very short attention span from completely tuning you out and moving on.
39% of people will stop engaging with a site if images take too long to load6
Strong, definitive, punchy, informative. Your site messaging needs to immediately capture the interest of the user, offering the most compelling aspect of your brand, as well as the primary financial functions of your firm, front and center. Mobile users need that information in a clear and concise.
As mentioned before, a clunky site that is not visually impressive or optimized for mobile will have a very difficult time competing. Google is checking this quality when deciding how to rank you, and simply having a presence will not give you the reach and returns you want.
It’s inevitable. We are in the early stages of the mobile-driven connectivity era, and it is only going to become more prominent and critical to business objectives. Your mobile presence is now your brand presence, as well as your new business card. Since finance is already perfect for phones in a transactional sense, extending that to website and brand design for investment and financial firms is a natural next step, and one that will help you differentiate yourself in the market.
MBC has been helping financial institutions and investment firms grow for over twenty years. To better understand the importance of mobile web design for your financial institution or investment firm and see how MBC Strategic can help, please contact us here today.
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