2015 was an impressive year for mobile – Google announced that mobile traffic had overtaken desktop traffic in 10 countries and “Mobilegeddon” was rolled out in an attempt to phase out sites that failed to optimise their content for mobile users. Mobile usage has dramatically increased but have businesses managed to adapt? According to Google, the answer is no.

On the 7th October it announced that the ‘mobile web is broken’ from a revenue perspective. Google’s answer to this, which is supported by authoritative voices as the BBC, The Guardian, Adobe and the Wall Street Journal, is Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): separate pages and content for mobile and desktop. Naturally this requires lengthy in house training and there are simpler alternatives.

In the current climate, having an innovative product is not enough to drive traffic, boost sales and improve reputation. It takes a carefully-planned marketing strategy to effectively promote a product or service. To do this successfully, marketers must remain aware of evolving technology and its limitations within the digital arena.

The most influential change for marketers in 2016 is mobile revenue optimisation. So, how do businesses go about creating a profitable user experience that amplifies its business objectives in a timely and cost effective manner? It is simple – go beyond the drawbacks of responsive web design and implement an accurate, up-to-date device detection solution to personalise content to device type.

Mobile revenue optimisation is crucial

For companies to utilise the 3.65 billion unique mobile users in the world, mobile revenue optimisation must be incorporated into 2016 marketing strategies. Properly implemented professional device detection can provide users with the most accurate, streamlined experience when accessing a company’s website, regardless of whether they are viewing the content on a tablet, smartphone, TV or desktop. It empowers a web page to understand everything about the device that is visiting the site, before deciding which content to send – all in less than a millisecond.

Armed with this knowledge, websites are able to optimise detailed device specifications and contextualise the likely environment of the user, improving their experience.

What we can expect in 2016:

Fast mobile first

The digital generation is mobile obsessed, with 87 per cent admitting to never being without a mobile device. Smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of millennials’ daily routine meaning that expectations of websites are much higher. 86 per cent feel there are still websites without good mobile functionality, with 14 per cent admitting they would not do business with a company that did not have a mobile site or app.

Mobile functionality must therefore be fast and relevant. Responsive web design implementations have been criticised by Google, and those involved in AMP, for generating slow and frustrating mobile experiences. Device detection allows users to view websites in consistent quality, whether they are browsing from a large desktop screen or a small mobile, eliminating these causes of frustration. By implementing a device detection solution a website can intelligently identify hundreds of thousands of device combinations in a millisecond.


The key to successful mobile marketing is personalisation. Historically, responsive web design (RWD) has been used to alter content for different devices dependent on screen size. Although the use of RWD results in a change of appearance, it often merely involves an addition or reduction in columns. Device detection has been specifically designed to challenge the idea that all websites can be similarly altered to function across mobile devices. It allows a website to understand a great deal of information about a user’s device and make assumptions on the type of content a user is interested in.

Wiggle.com - the UK’s number one online cycle shop - found its customers had a greater probability of buying lower priced items such as cycling gloves on the mobile and higher priced items such as bicycles on a desktop due to the clarity of detailed specifications and value of purchase. 51Degrees, was tasked with accurately deciphering the device a user was accessing the website with and adapting the layout and product catalogue accordingly. As a result, the number of mobile sessions on Wiggle.com has increased by 220% and the conversion rate on mobile devices has increased by 33%.

Programmatic Advertising

Earlier this year, Apple unveiled a new ad-blocking system - dubbed “Blockr” - as part of its latest iOS 9 mobile operating system. In light of the addition, companies need to ensure advertisements do not intrude on mobile content or block content altogether, as mobile users now have the option to switch them off altogether – posing a serious threat to the advertising industry. As a solution, device detection is able to optimise advertising on a mobile, without sacrificing genuine content. Based on device characteristics such as touch screen functionality and screen size, just two of thousands of specifications, the detection software is able to appropriately place advertisements where they are clearly visible but not an annoyance.

Enhanced Analytics

As users migrate to mobile for web browsing, companies should expect a further increase in online retail purchases. According to a report by RetailMeNot, UK shoppers were expected to spend £52.2 billion online in 2015 and it is essential businesses respond to the exceptional market demand.

In order to produce a quality user experience and encourage further spending, businesses should first learn about the behaviour of their users online. Enhanced analytics enable the measurement of user interactions with products on ecommerce websites across the user's shopping experience, including; product impressions, product clicks, viewing product details, adding a product to a shopping cart, initiating the checkout process, transactions, and refunds. Device detection is able to utilise this in-depth knowledge accordingly when producing unique content for websites specific to device, screen size and browser. In turn, details can be crafted to better position users to make bigger purchases in line with a business’s individual remit.

Live Streaming and Video Integration

The recent launch of live streaming applications such as Periscope, Meerkat and MyEye has cast new light on live video streams as a way to reach new and existing customers. Crucially, for customers to engage with live streams and shared video content, they need to have certain software downloaded on their devices. Often, if customers do not have the appropriate software they are alerted by annoying pop-ups which are difficult to close. Enterprise-grade device detection is able to quickly and efficiently understand a device’s capability for live streaming and video, putting an end to intrusive pop-ups and providing alternative content if the device is unable to play video.

The quality of the video experience can also be measured and percentage drop outs correlated against device processing power, network or screen information.

The mobile revolution will certainly fuel the need for change in 2016. The key to success is to recognise the need for tailored content and fast web page delivery. To ensure website success, amplify business objectives and generate revenue, marketers must work in sync with development teams and focus on user experience and fast performance. Professional device detection provides tailored content and appearance for any device, without compromising space or advertising. In 2016, its unrivalled contextual data will be essential for a successful and thriving marketing campaign.


By James Rosewell, founder and CEO of 51Degrees

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