UK firms fail on mobile web

7 January 2013
LONDON: Major brand owners in the UK are missing out on the opportunities provided by mobile, with 99 of the nation's 100 largest firms having so far "failed" to create market-leading websites for this channel.

A study by Incentivated, the mobile agency, assessed how effectively companies featuring in the FTSE 100 index of the most valuable corporations from Britain were leveraging mobile.

It found 69 were "not optimised for mobile at all", based on criteria like having dedicated sites tailored to suit various operating systems, which loaded quickly and presented strong content and branding.

An additional 22 simply scored "badly", while eight performed "moderately well". Marks & Spencer, the high-street retailer, led the charts, registering four out of a maximum five points overall.

By contrast, seven enterprises received zero points, including Rolls Royce, the industrial conglomerate, and International Airlines Group, the parent of British Airways and Iberia.

Legal & General, the insurance provider, did not have a mobile website, and Next, the fashion chain, failed to use the "www" prefix for its site, meaning it was not linked to search engines.

Other "surprising" results were that WPP, the agency holding group, limited its available content to press releases and its share price, and that ARM, a maker of chips for mobile phones, had particularly weak branding.

These findings came in spite of the fact that it should be "easy" to gain four or five points, the study continued, with smaller operators such as Gatwick Airport having achieved this objective.

Similarly, big American players like Amazon and eBay, the online retailers, have attained this status. Twitter, the microblog, and Remington, the hair and personal care group, also did so.

"It's a myth that 2013 will be a tipping point for mobile," Jonathan Bass, managing director of Incentivated, said. "British business is woefully unprepared compared with our American cousins."

As further evidence of this, the analysis reported that 70% of the FTSE 100 members which had mobile sites employed "stack bricks" designs that were "homogenised" and almost unbranded.

"Companies with a mobile-optimised website generate more revenues and customer engagement. They stand-out from their competition right now as well," said Bass.

Data sourced from Incentivated; additional content by Warc staff
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