In a world where allegations of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ are dominating conversation, I’ve begun to question everything that lands in my Inbox.
Today, I received a regular e-newsletter from a reputable marketing source, whose mailouts I read with interest. This issue featured a particularly prominent ad banner, placed by a third party mobile advertising company. It caught my attention because it declared that ‘91% small business websites which are not yet mobile friendly.‘
Now, although I maintain a healthy interest (and a day job) in the goings on of all things digital and marketing, I’m not what you’d call a bona fide ‘tech expert’. However, given the source of the ad banner in question, this statistic concerned me. Surely SMEs are not that far behind with their digital presence in 2017, especially on mobile platforms?
It transpires – to my surprise – the claim that 91% of SME websites aren’t ‘yet mobile friendly’, was a statistic originating from 2014. An article published in March 2014 shared similar sentiments, stating that ‘91% of SME websites are ‘prehistoric’ and not accessible via mobile according to BaseKit survey’ [The Drum]. Given that BaseKit is a reputable cloud-based, web platform and website builder, I’ve no reason to doubt this report’s findings.
So what’s the gig today? After a little more digging, I discovered several articles with varying reports – some still pushing the 2014 figure as present day fact; others reporting more progressive and encouraging statistics.
Marketing software company, Clutch.com (cited via smallbusiness.com February 2016) reported that 68% of SMEs had a mobile responsive website, leaving 32% without a mobile responsive website or they just didn’t know.
More encouragingly, this report indicated a concerted effort by those SMEs who don’t have a website, to build one. And for SMEs who already have a web based presence, there appeared to be a focus on investment to improve design, cross platform user experience, content development and SEO. Only now in 2017 will we see the results of those investment pledges – watch this space.
So, to hark back to trusting what appears in my Inbox: I think that the marketing publisher of this e-newsletter can be forgiven, on this occasion because the third party source who placed the ad banner is an expert in mobile advertising. However, as experts in this field, they should know better than to propagate outdated information in such a misleading way – to what end, only they can answer.
This isn’t a new issue, but at a time when the integrity of media reporting and advertising transparency is being closely scrutinised, digital advertisers and marketeers alike need to be even more vigilant with the accuracy of information and context in which they publish it.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the CEO of a global advertising giant or the marketing exec at an SME; we’re all in this together and together we should set the standards for transparency and honesty now.
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