Websites rarely have the same amount of desktop and mobile visitors. Likewise, they rarely have the same amount of desktop and mobile ad revenue, transactions or other forms of income. But large differences can reveal weaknesses in either platform, especially mobile.
So the first step in developing a site product strategy is research by the publisher into the two platforms that identifies how much audience and revenue each one is producing.
The second step for a publisher is realizing that the numbers may not reflect the potential of the site for attracting more audience and revenue from either platform. A staff that doesn’t invest enough effort into a mobile version will likely see mobile results that are lower than desktop.
Consider two sites with similar content. If Site A has only 10 percent of the total in mobile and Site B has 30 percent, it’s safe to assume that mobile in Site A has more potential for growth.
Great efforts don’t always produce great results. An effort to develop mobile in Site A may not bring the total audience and revenue up to the same level as Site B. For that reason, it may help to do an incremental approach to the development rather than a major, costly and time-consuming leap.
Track Labor and Cash
Leaping into mobile too much has another risk. Desktop does tend to produce more revenue than mobile for most websites. A mobile project that consumes too much time could result in desktop results getting weaker.
Digital resources usually consist of labor (time) and cash. Both are easy to track.
Some digital shops (including my own) track all time down to small increments such as 15 minute blocks. They categorize those blocks according to the various business functions, such as content, marketing, administration, etc.
The content part of such a tracking system can divide further into desktop and mobile. Monthly results with audience and revenue can then reveal if the return on investment is worth it or not and whether the time commitment should increase, decrease or stay the same.
Some business owners may not track any time this way. In that case, it’s simply a matter of setting aside X number of hours each week to focus on just mobile development. Consistency is key.
Even if a business doesn’t have a time management tracking system, almost all businesses track monthly revenue and expenses. Again, those numbers will show whether the return on investment of labor and cash is worthwhile or not.
Turn Up the Heat, But Not Too Much
If someone at home is cold during winter, they may turn up the gauge on the furnace. But who turns the gauge up from 72 degrees to 92 degrees? Probably not too many people.
A smart business owner usually doesn’t do so either with any initiative that may or may not increase customers and revenue.
The Internet is littered with the bodies of companies that have thrown too much at a project without carefully tracking the results.
A website product strategy that balances desktop and mobile platforms will have a better chance of success if it evolves with small- or medium-sized steps.