Over the past decade, the smartphone has become one of the primary gateways to information for millions of people around the world.
Its adoption has been so significant that projections since 2016 indicated that it could become the most important search source by 2025.
But… It was only a matter of time before the projection collapsed.
Neither Nostradamus nor The Simpsons managed to predict a big drop in mobile traffic (or a pandemic that would keep us all home for several months), but that’s exactly what the State of Mobile 2022 report shows.
Is it possible that an apocalyptic future awaits us and that, as marketers, we should throw away all our mobile efforts?
Let’s take things slowly.
Over the last two years of the pandemic, we have adapted to the “new normal”. This normalcy was nothing more than getting used to seeing consumption and communication dynamics change more frequently..
The forecasts we had for mobile traffic corresponded to trends that did not envisage the radicality of a pandemic like the one we are experiencing in 2020, 2021 and the years to come. 😬
At first, we didn’t want to accept or understand that the pandemic was going to last so long. Nor did it sit well with us that, once it was over, our routines and worldview changed so much that it became impossible to return to the thinking that ruled us in March 2020, when the pandemic was formally decreed.
At that time, mobile traffic was a big part of our strategic communication efforts and I’m sure it’s still part of our research and investment routines.
That being the case, why is there so much dread of declining mobile traffic? Next, I’ll tell you what Semrush found in their study and what it means for digital marketing.
What the Semrush 2022 study says about mobile traffic
The world was already talking about the importance of taking care of mobile audiences. Since 2016, it has been the priority, thanks to studies that indicated that smartphones would be the main source of information search and therefore the high investment in their growth.
However, the arrival of the pandemic left us with a certain behavioral disorder, which after two years still affects us.
What does the pandemic have to do with traffic? 2020 was the year of the first drop in mobile traffic. Restrictions on leaving the home initially seemed linked to increased computer use for organic searches.
We have arrived in the middle of 2022 with traffic restrictions relaxed and with the hope that mobile traffic will resurface. However, that was not the case. However, in the middle of 2022, mobile traffic continues to fall, thus destroying the equation in which being at home was closely associated with computer use.
The Semrush study also showed that the mobile phenomenon was affected by corporate budget cuts, paid media and strict social media policies.
And let’s continue to find out what happened to mobile traffic, according to the study.
Mobile traffic vs pandemic
What we must take into account is that the drop in mobile traffic is NOT synonymous with the fact that we have stopped using the smartphone.
Think for a second: when was the last time you remember going to the bathroom without your cell phone?
Yes, it is true that the pandemic has caused us to use the computer frequently. Honestly, working, studying or searching for information is still more comfortable on the computer. But that’s not the main reason for the drop in mobile traffic.
Businesses, faced with the new consumer dynamics, began to invest in more technologies that would enable them to survive an uncertain economic future. Market research has shown that not only are users using smartphones more, but they are becoming more attached to the device.
Why, then, is mobile traffic declining?
The Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) of Mexico demonstrated in a survey the increase in the use of mobile Internet for video calls, online shopping, banking transactions and more.
The need to manage life activities via smartphones has increased by 200%, just for more targeted use of apps.
Here’s the thing.
Before 2020, apps struggled; but, after the start of the pandemic, there was a considerable recovery in which app downloads increased by 27% and have remained so to this day.
The use of the mobile is distributed: 49% of the time for the use of communication applications such as social networks, 36% for the consultation of emails, the rest for the use of financial applications, health, education, news, food delivery, games, streaming. , among others.
What do I mean by these statistics?
That the smartphone is used more than ever. But the usage trend has shifted somewhat away from organic mobile search, making way for the app sector, where strict algorithm policies encourage content creation and in-app proprietary disclosure. As is the case with social networks, with their strategies to prevent brands from driving users away from their platforms.
The use of mobile devices is taking another direction
Concern about the growth of mobile devices remains as strong as it has been since Google’s announcement in 2016.
What the Semrush study indicates is that the user experience is moving towards other alternatives, which translates into an invitation to Marketing teams to think about content and communication in a different way than originally planned. .
Likewise, Semrush shows us that the battle for mobile traffic is not lost.
For most countries, organic search traffic is second or third in importance.
Therefore, it is essential to continue to invest in the strategy. At the same time, we need to develop communications that reinforce other traffic acquisition channels, such as Direct and Referral.
As an SEO specialist, these statistics are not what makes me the happiest, because my goals depend on this third organic channel. At the same time, the study allowed me to reflect on the difficulties we encounter in SEO, faced with so many powerful new channels for acquiring traffic.
This scenario ended up being the primary motivation for digging deeper into algorithms, linguistic entities, and local people and market behavior.
With the Semrush graph, we also see the importance of working more on brand recognition (direct traffic) and on strategic alliances with targeted commercial proposals (referred traffic).
So the invitation is that as SEOs and marketers, we learn to take care of other acquisition channels.
The sources of information have diversified and the smartphone continues to be the mainstay of these changes.
How we adapt at Rock Content
We are living in a critical moment for traffic in general. And not just us. Other companies too.
For years, in Content of rock we have invested wisely in our organic traffic. It is therefore not for free that we have the capacity to impact 7 million people each month, with our blogs in English (USA), Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish (Mexico and Latin America).
But we can’t lie, we also got used to the unpredictable dynamics of 2020 where our traffic increased by 200%, after 8 years of blogging. Now, in 2022, we are suffering because the numbers are behaving more like 2019 instead of continuing the breakneck pace the pandemic has imposed on traffic as a whole.
On the other hand, looking at our traffic acquisition channels, we found that mobile engagement itself hasn’t changed as drastically as Semrush suggested in the study.
As we can see, we saw strong growth in traffic to our English (US) blog, but in terms of percentage share by device, mobile remained largely untouched.
We noticed similar behavior on our Portuguese and Spanish blogs.
So indeed, even if the study identified a significant drop in mobile traffic, in our scenario, the study served as a reason to continue working on the media proposals in which we had already been investing efforts since 2021: our means plan and our intention to diversify traffic sources.
Of course we will continue to work for our organic growth of 20% quarterly in the United States for our blog in English. But we also create strategies to promote direct searches about our brand, content and services.
As part of the strategy, we’ve created a very strong opinionated content section with the top marketing, sales and business trends of the week – and this type of content, which is not designed for SEO strategies, increases traffic for the United States by 100%. United States, 188% in Brazil and 198% in Mexico and bringing more than 30,000 visits each month. And we won’t stop there.
We have also created our fully interactive newsletter: The Beat; which increases the number of registered users by 15% per month. And in number of accesses, we note a growth of 50% for the United States and 164% in Brazil. Mexico, here we come! 😉
And yes, the numbers still seem small compared to 7 million organic visits, but those numbers are growing and connecting with people in a way that today’s news consumption demands.
Kudos to the content team at Content of rock! We will certainly soon continue to explore ways to participate in mobile trends.
What to do to comply with current mobile standards?
Being digital is a daily job and by that I mean that we need to be connected to the reality of our users to understand if market forecasts match those of our specific niches.
Listening to trends is very important to have ideas and stay connected to the world. But listening to the public and accompanying their daily problems is what will lead us to make the right decisions so as not to have to run after traffic that does not impact our results.
Semrush calls us to think about mobile dynamics. But how does mobile really affect your digital strategy?
It is true that mobile and general traffic has taken a hit, but it is still there and represents a good percentage of visits to your website or blog. User behavior must stop being measured by the pandemic, but rather by the needs and realities of the niche we are targeting.
The changes we witnessed in 2020 and 2021 have been the new normal for two years. Now, let’s wait carefully to see what happens in the world of communications and digital consumption.
Having good data, closely tracking your competition and good industry benchmarks through benchmarks will always give us better insights into current results, rather than just following trend waves for no reason. All the more so at the time of the pandemic which has only raised strong questions that make us rethink what we expect from society.
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