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YMCA Learns That Local Mobile Search Passes Desktop Search

Posted by Jeff Davis on Mon, Jun 01, 2015 @ 11:16 AM

Or How Shaun the Sheep Stimulated Consumer Behavior

Yet another reason for the local YMCA to embrace the mobile website.  BIA/Kelsey reports that mobile devices now generate more search volume than desktop.  The chart below from shows how the future of search belongs to mobile. 

Mobile Search generates more volume than desktop

So how does this impact the YMCA?  Simply put, the ability of consumers to view your website on a mobile device directly affects the perception of your brand.  Your website is your digital storefront.  Many consumers will visit your digital property long before they visit your physical property. So you want to make a strong impression with them as you attempt to convert them into becoming a member.  Want to see what impression you are leaving with your member prospects?  Visit your website on your smartphone.  Can you even find your own phone number?

Search is not the only trend affecting your digital brand.  Consumers now spend more time on mobile devices than any other device, including TV

Mobile devices pass TV

Horse pucky!  How is this possible?  Mobile devices are used more than TV?  

"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!"

Kyres and Shaun the Sheep.  Recently my wife and I were watching our two year old grandson. Anyone familiar with Kyres knows that he is a typical, energetic, excitable two year old. It is a Thursday night and we are watching Shaun the Sheep on the TV with him.  (Actually we are streaming it from Netflix.) The option of turning the channel to the NFL draft does not exist.  Isn't going to happen.  So I did what millions of other Americans do everyday.

I pulled out my smartphone, launched the ESPN app and watched the draft on a device that measures 6.7 square inches (while Kyres gets the 42 inch screen).  And a funny thing happened. It felt "normal".  

"The very best marketing comes from observing consumer behavior and inserting your message into their behavior."  

Accessing content on a mobile device has passed the point of no return, it is now considered normal behavior - mainstream.  47% of our time accessing media today is spent on a mobile device. TV comes in second at 36.5% (down from 41% in 2010).  Radio - down.  Print - down. All others -down.  The only media with an increase over the previous five years is digital.

Much like when TV came along and displaced radio as the media of choice, today's consumers have chosen and the winner is digital, and within digital it is mobile.  You must adapt.

The "average" lifespan of a website is about three years today. That is how long it takes for the technology to advance to the point of making current technology obsolete. When was the last time you upgraded your website?

What Are Your Options?

Stick your head in the sand.  "Much like TV, I think the mobile craze will pass.  We are putting all our efforts into the resurrection of radio."

Build a responsive website.  Responsive websites "respond" to the request from the device attempting to access them and they configure the website so it looks best on that device. The vast majority of today's new websites are being build with responsive technology.  Google now rewards responsive websites with better rankings in search results.

Build an adaptive mobile website.  An adaptive website is a hybrid.  If you do not currently have the budget (or time and resources) to build a new website, an adaptive website is an affordable, short term alternative.  An adaptive site configures a portion of the website (usually the home page) into a mobile friendly page using predetermined layouts that match some of the devices reviewing it.  If the visitor wants to view other portions of your website, the adaptive site passes the visitor on to the primary website - which is not not mobile friendly.  This is why we usually reconfigure the home page to include other popular content - like providing your phone number (with a click to call feature) and your address (with a link to Google maps). 

 If you would like to know more about responsive or adaptive options for your YMCA, let's talk!  419-776-7000 or email me at

And I highly recommend Shaun the Sheep.

Topics: YMCAs, YMCA website, mobile traffic, Mobile Marketing


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