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Mdot sites expected to lose 45-50pc of share in 2015: report

Dynamic serving and responsive design mobile sites are expected to rise while dedicated mdot sites will slide further as marketers look for more efficient and scalable methods of mobile optimization, according to a recent report from Pure Oxygen Labs.

From 2013 to 2014, mdot sites decreased from 79 percent to 59 percent, while dynamic serving and responsive design sites increased from 12 to 15 percent and 3 to 9 percent, respectively. While fewer marketers are using these solutions at the current time, Pure Oxygen Labs’ research suggests they will move toward these capabilities to increase search engine optimization.

“The biggest challenge with dynamic serving is the level of effort,” said Brian Klais, founder and CEO of Pure Oxygen Labs, Madison, Wisconsin. “By nature, it integrates mobile content serving into the core web server and page logic.

“This often requires a concerted effort among senior developers,” he said. “If you can accept the implementation hurdle, dynamic serving (including responsive design that incorporates server-side detection) will comply with Google’s mobile SEO rules more easily.

“The dynamically served mobile pages can solve for responsive design’s load speed issues, while avoiding the mobile SEO requirements of mdot sites.”

Change in approach
Pure Oxygen Labs conducted a report across the top 500 retailers as listed in Internet Retailer’s 2014 Mobile 500 guide.

Shockingly, 14 percent of retailers surveyed had no mobile Web presence at the time.

As for the others, Pure Oxygen Labs believes brands are moving towards responsive design, but it remains the type that is used the least. Even though responsive design is discussed often in terms of modern, mobile marketing efforts, it has not reached scale.

Retailers are also cautious about embracing responsive design given the impact page speed has on online conversion and search rankings. Pure Oxygen Labs expects responsive to surpass 15 percent of retail adoption in 2015.

Dynamic serving has seen a modest bump in popularity and is used more often than responsive. It is expected that it will surpass 20 percent of retailer user in 2015.

Pure Oxygen Labs believes a dynamic serving solution is most influential because it uses a single URL, device-optimized layout and fast-loading pages that are easy to maintain and effective for mobile SEO.

Moving forward
Dynamic serving solutions in retail jumped from 12 percent in 2013 to 15 percent in 2014, while responsive design in retail jumped from 3 percent in 2013 to 9 percent in 2014.

Responsive design may be today’s winner, but among retailers, dynamic serving is more popular, according to Pure Oxygen Labs. The tech firm expects to see that trend continue.

While dedicated mobile sites were the industry’s first generation mobile solution, responsive design represents the industry’s second generation. But like its predecessor, the tech firm thinks responsive has technical shortcomings of its own that push retailers towards dynamically served solutions.

If done right, both approaches can enable retailers to position themselves for maximum mobile SEO visibility with less effort than dedicated mobile sites, according to Pure Oxygen Labs.

“As for transitions, brands should offer whatever mobile Web type that works for their users – not just for Google,” Mr. Klais said. “However, since Google is helping define the ground rules, conducting a mobile SEO audit can be a helpful place to start by identifying gaps and the levels of effort to remedy. To that point, mdot sites have, by far and away, the most numerous mobile SEO compliance issues.

“A solution that may hold promise for some brands with mdot sites: consider ways of rewriting the mdot content at desktop URLs using proxy rewrite logic rules,” he said. “There are some caveats – like ensuring mappings exist between desktop and mdot URLs. But if so, marketers with mdot sites who face IT constraints could look at these kinds of algorithmic transformations to transition to dynamic serving methods faster and with potentially less effort.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York