Mobile Commerce

Google's 'Mobilegeddon' Favored Mobile-Friendly Websites More Than We Thought

It seems that when Google changes an algorithm, the web does indeed tremble ... eventually.

In April, the search giant made some changes to how it displayed sites on its eponymous search engine, a move that favored “mobile-friendly” over “non-mobile-friendly” sites. Google itself had said it would look to boost sites that, as The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday (July 16), “looked good on small screens, used bigger text and separated links,” making them easier to tap on devices.

The result? WSJ reported that Adobe Systems found that traffic to what could be deemed “non-mobile-friendly" sites fell a whopping 12 percent in the two months following the change.

Adobe said it tracked traffic patterns across more than 5,000 sites divided between “mobile-friendly” and “non-mobile-friendly" sites.

And, noted the research, the strongest impacts were felt during the week that included the Memorial Day holiday weekend in May, which led Adobe to posit that most people were conducting searches via mobile devices.

“Mobilegeddon fears have come true,” said Tamara Gaffney, an analyst with Adobe. And one fundamental impact came as sites actually altered their presentations to become more mobile-friendly or bought more mobile ads with Google, which in turn boosted costs-per-click.

Other firms studying the impact of Mobilegeddon found similar results. WSJ noted that digital marketing firm IgnitionOne tallied a 44 percent boost in the number of clicks on search ads on phones in a period covering the second quarter of this year versus last year.

Dave Ragals, global managing director of search at IgnitionOne, said larger Google clients such as GM appear to have won out. They have the resources in place, through staff and money, to create mobile-friendly sites, the analyst said, while smaller firms faltered.


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The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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