It is beyond question that B2C companies get enormous traffic from mobile devices — we all do at least some of our online shopping from our phones. These retailers need to optimize their website to deliver convenience throughout their UX to their potential customers. 

Is this also true for B2B websites? 

On the one hand, CIENCE doesn’t get much traffic on mobile devices (roughly 20%) and conversion rates aren’t high either (about 13% of our inbound conversions were on mobile). 

On the other hand, Google rewards mobile-optimized websites with higher SERP rankings. Furthermore, you never know which door your prospect chooses to knock on. So, mobile optimization does seem necessary after all. 

When developing your website, is it worth the extra few weeks of time? Let’s ask B2B marketers.

Mobile Optimization for B2B ‒ Research

Survey

We ran a short survey asking B2B marketers the following questions:

  1. Is your website mobile‒friendly? 
  2. How important is mobile optimization for B2B in your opinion? 
  3. Do you (yourself) research B2B products/services via desktop or mobile?
  4. Please share the percentage of mobile traffic leading to your website for the last month and year. (Google Analytics → Audience → Mobile)
  5. If it’s possible, please share the conversion stats for mobile visitors vs desktop visitors as well.

General results

We got 34 answers from various marketers. We didn’t include two companies, because one was a retailer and the other one was a recruiting website so visitors included both their potential clients and individuals looking for a job. One marketing specialist shared the case studies of his 2 B2B clients. CIENCE included, that makes 33 B2B companies.

Most of the companies are from the Marketing and IT sectors. One company refused to reveal their name and industry.

industries of mobile optimization survey

Answers:

1. Is your website mobile‒friendly? 

All of the participants optimized their websites for mobile devices.

2. How important is mobile optimization for B2B in your opinion?

None of those who answered this question stated that mobile optimization isn’t important. However, 2 participants admitted that it depends:

which devices do B2B buyers use in their purchasing journey

Nikola Baldikov, Digital Marketing Manager at Brosix:

There’s no one right answer to this, in my opinion, as it’s highly contextual. This really depends on your business and what you’re offering. If you have a control panel, for example, and you need configuration it’s better to do so on a desktop.

3. Do you (yourself) research B2B products/services via desktop or mobile?

Most respondents, B2B buyers themselves, search on desktop and about one third has a mixed buyer journey. Usually, a buyer starts on mobile and then switches to a desktop for deeper research and inquiry. 

which devices do B2B buyers use in their purchasing journey

Phil Mackie ‒ Senior Digital Analyst / Owner of Top Sail Digital

“I sometimes start my research for B2B products/services via mobile if something pops into my head when I’m not at a desktop PC, like when I’m traveling or in the evening. If I like what I see, I’ll follow up later via desktop to make a decision.

Ian Wright, the founder of British Business Energy

I do frequently research B2B products and services on mobile, but I almost always buy on the desktop. The reason is usually quite simple, I’m most likely to use the product or service on a desktop so want to make sure it will work well on desktop.”

Cyrus Yung, Web team of Assun Motor Pte Ltd

Our website is mobile-friendly, and we feel that it is still important as there will be prospects who are on the move while browsing the website. For most of the staff are engineers, we would prefer to view the desktop, as we would view the items we want to purchase more clearly.”

Illia Termeno, Director of Extrabrains marketing agency

People do not make decisions about ordering B2B services during their first visit. They prefer to browse on a smartphone when they have free time and conduct research when commuting or traveling. But B2B customers prefer to study the options they like in detail on the desktop for convenience and only then make a buying decision.

Wade Benz, President & Founder of USimprints.com

One interesting piece of information we have found is in our business, the majority of mobile traffic is used more for research and browsing than for actual purchasing. We have adjusted our marketing, SEO, and online advertising to reflect the different value of our mobile traffic.

Ottomatias Peura Head of Growth at Speechly

“Our tool/solution is pretty complex and requires quite a lot of work to get started and hence it’s not very probable that someone would just sign up hastily on a mobile. I do research quite a lot on mobile, too. But I would say I don’t convert very often when browsing on mobile, especially if it needs more input from my part (credit card, a lot of personal information, etc).

In my old company, a SaaS with about 30.000 paying customers we had similar figures for mobile traffic and the share of conversions was even lower. This was due to our signup requiring, for example, a connection to Google Analytics account.”

In juxtaposition to these statements, some buyers noted that B2B buying journey is becoming more and more “mobile” following the general B2C trend:

Julia Mankovskaya Digital Marketer, Daxx

Mentioning the recent Google update ‒ mobile is only gaining momentum. Considering the growth of mobile traffic, mobile search has been overtaking desktop. Speaking about myself, I research both on mobile and desktop. To my mind desktop is easier and more comfortable to use. But the truth is that my phone is with me all the time and day by day I am getting used to utilizing my phone rather than my laptop.

M.Sc. Sebastian Janus, Head of Strategy, 10xStudio

Our mobile share is just short of 28%. Compared to B2C, this is obviously much lower ‒ however, the important fact is: the underlying trend is the same. We see a significant increase in mobile traffic. So we assume that it will reach B2C levels in a couple of years.”

Wade Benz, President & Founder of USimprints.com

Over the past few years, we have seen a large increase in mobile traffic. In the past two years, our mobile traffic has doubled and we have had to make strategic decisions to better serve mobile customers.

The typical B2B buyer is more and more a “technology native” meaning they have grown up with the internet and mobile devices in their hands. This new buyer is more conditioned to do not only research but purchasing in their hands, on‒the‒go, and not necessarily at a desktop.”

Mobile Traffic for B2B ‒ What we’ve learned

Most respondents shared their average annual traffic on mobile devices:

As you can see, most companies have average mobile traffic somewhere between 20% and 40%. Interestingly enough, at both extremes we have marketing agencies: 

  • 2 companies with 72% and 73%
  • 1 firm with 9.7% and 2 with 11%

The results we obtained for annual mobile traffic are in line with the data for the monthly share of mobile visitors:

monthly mobile traffic - b2b

The 2 companies that gain predominantly mobile traffic throughout the year didn’t share monthly data — that’s why the percentage is only 43%.

Take a look at the industry distribution:

annual mobile traffic per industry - b2b

Using the above data, we calculated that the median monthly mobile traffic (24.67%) and median annual mobile traffic (26.38%):

The median annual mobile traffic is 23% for Marketing and 30.11% for IT:

Phil Mackie, Senior Digital Analyst / Owner of Top Sail Digital

“I have been doing client SEO for B2B for around 4years. Your hint is correct: On average, most of my sessions to my B2B client sites are Desktop users. I have worked in the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM and Business SaaSindustry. This trend follows through in all the above fields.”

George Kocher, Founder & CEO of Brand North explained why they get more desktop traffic:

“Most of our referrals are from direct sales efforts as well as referrals which we believe is the reason our website is viewed much more on Desktop

Also, our services are expensive. We aren’t the cheapest in the market which means that companies want to do their research before working with us

We find that a quick one time purchase that involves less trust is more likely to occur through a cellphone.  Something that involves a large capital expenditure and contract trends more heavily towards occurring through a desktop from our experience.”

Conversion Rates of Mobile Traffic in B2B

Marketers weren’t eager to share their conversion rates with us. interesting about conversion rates. They provided three types of data:

1. The conversion rate for the medium. 

The median conversion rates are 7.70% for desktop and 2.49% for mobile.

desktop vs mobile conversion rates b2b

Phil Mackie, Senior Digital Analyst / Owner of Top Sail Digital

“I have noticed that Desktop users remain on the site longer and convert higher. Therefore, I want to entice desktop users to my B2B sites. In fact, If I find that my best‒converting users are on the Desktop, I will apply a bid adjustment in Google Ads to further entice those Desktop users.”

2. The share of converted inbound leads.

88% of converted inbound leads came via desktop. The remaining 12% came from mobile:

source of converted leads b2b

3.  The comparison of conversions.

One company shared that their desktop traffic has an 87% higher conversion rate than mobile traffic.

Bonus:

David Ewart, Director of Pavilion Broadway shared interesting insight in typical behavior of the converted leads:

“We operate both trade and retail businesses, which always makes for an interesting comparison when we look at our analytics to compare site trends. At present, for our trade / B2B offering Furniture Brands International, we see roughly 41% of our traffic coming from mobile devices. 

We typically find that these visits are most likely to generate an inbound lead over the phone, whereas visits on desktop mean that users are more inclined to complete our trade account inquiry form on the site.”

B2B Marketers shared reasons why mobile optimization is important

reasons for mobile optimization b2b

As a bonus, many marketers shared their opinion on why mobile optimization matters for B2B. Here are the reasons they outlined:

1. SEO

Julia Mankovskaya Digital Marketer, Daxx:

“In 2018, 52% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile. So, obviously having a mobile-optimized website is vital. The main benefit here is SEO since Google constantly checks mobile and desktop versions of the website even creates its statistics. Your top desktop keywords can differ from the one you have for mobile. If the website is not mobile‒optimized 9 times out of 10 it will be placed lower in search results.

Erik Christiansen, CEO of Justuno:

Yes, our website is mobile friendly and I do believe that it’s extremely important for B2B websites to be mobile-friendly. The primary reason for this is because of Google’s mobile-first index. 

We find that our organic traffic often yields the most qualified leads and while people may not be doing a lot of B2B research on mobile, having a poor mobile experience can decrease your SERP rankings overall.” 

2. User Experience

Erik Christiansen, CEO of Justuno:

“I often check emails on my phone and will do some quick reading if any articles catch my eye. A poor mobile experience makes me less likely to share the article and can also impact my view of the company overall. Professionalism is everything in the B2B world and not taking the time to provide a decent mobile experience makes me question what other details this company will neglect.”

Oksana Chyketa, the Marketer at Albacross.com:

“Furthermore, positive mobile user experience can also build customer loyalty.”

3. Conversion

David Ewart, Director of Pavilion Broadway:

‘Although desktop traffic will comprise the vast majority of most B2B sites, for the time being, we think it’s vitally important to take into consideration the fact that most users in the modern online environment are using multiple devices and convert via multiple consumer touchpoints. 

They may see our post on Instagram, a few days later, sign up for our newsletter, and a week later receive an email marketing campaign from us before they consider signing up for a trade account. This journey takes place across both mobile and desktop devices typically, and we also see evidence of this in analytics, where our average customer journey takes into account more channel touchpoints than ever.

Illia Termeno, Director of Extrabrains marketing agency

B2B companies need to optimize their websites and content for mobile consumers. If they fail to do so, they will miss out on a lot of lead generation and conversion opportunities soon. 

Today, B2Bcustomers don’t limit their research to the office. They often use mobile devices for searches and research of information that can help them make a purchasing decision for their business. That’s why B2B businesses should adopt a mobile-first approach to offer the best possible experience to customers and stay ahead of the competition.”

4. Lead Generation

Tim Mehta, Senior Conversion Rate Optimization Expert at Portent, Inc:

“For most B2B leads, the value of a user signing up/purchasing is high enough to make sure we don’t leave any leads on the table.”

Mr. Avinash Chandra, founder, and CEO of BrandLoom:

“A large number of people using mobile phones also means that if a business wants to get more and more leads, they just cannot ignore the importance of mobile-optimized sites

Even if in some businesses, the conversion rate for mobile is lower than desktop, in the near future, chances are that it can be the other way round and we should be ready for that.”

5. General mobile traffic increase trend

Mr. Avinash Chandra, founder and CEO of BrandLoom:

In today’s time, mobile has become a part and parcel of everyone’s life and it has become quite natural to use mobile when it comes to search for any service or product. As per Google and BCG, 50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones. BCG expects that figure to grow to 70% by 2020.”

M.Sc. Sebastian Janus, Head of Strategy, 10xStudio

“In B2B, the trend [the growth in mobile traffic ‒ ed. note] will increase even more in the coming years. If companies invest in websites, they should follow the current state of the art practice to be prepared for future developments. There are almost no reasons why the mobile shift shouldn’t also affect B2B.”

Oksana Chyketa, the Marketer at Albacross.com:

“Mobile optimization is crucial for any website’s success since the number of search queries that are done via mobile devices is constantly growing and it’s super important to meet these users’ needs.”

6. Credibility

Jordan Horwath, Marketing Operations Specialist at PrimePay:

“Mobile optimization is crucial, especially in today’s fast-paced B2B world. Mobile optimization makes it way easier to reach everyone quicker, and it also adds credibility to your website.”

7. Company Image

David LaVine, Founder of RocLogic Marketing, LLC:

“Mobile optimization is important for 2 reasons: (1) Google is moving more and more toward mobile-first indexing and (2) you don’t want to make a bad impression if someone happens to check out your company on mobile.”

8. Helping user exp on other devices

Dominic Kent, Director of Content Marketing & Communications at Mio:

Our traffic suggests it’s 20% important but generally, everything we do for mobile helps the tablet and desktop experience too.

9. Retargeting users with content via social media platforms:

Filip Silobod,  Honest Marketing:

I think mobile is important, especially if you do social media. Since we know most people on B2B business come over desktop, the desktop should be a priority in terms of design, but also sites must look good on mobile. You never know who will view your site on which device, it could be business people who are on the move and use the phones. They are equally important.

Gaurav Sharma, CEO & Head of Marketing at JustCall:

Most of the B2B businesses have content marketing as an important channel for spreading awareness and generating visits by prospective buyers which they can then retarget on platforms like Facebook, Google, Youtube, etc. So, it is really important to optimize for mobile even though mobile visits don’t convert into a sale immediately.” 

10. General website traffic:

Tamas Torok Head of Online Marketing at Coding Sans

“If your website is not mobile-friendly, then that could harm your ranking and decreasing your organic traffic.

Olga Mykhoparkina, Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty:

“Mobile optimization is crucial for B2B and B2C, although I would say that it’s slightly more important for B2C. If you don’t care about mobile traffic, you will care about SEO. We recently got hit by an algorithm update which caused us to lose a huge chunk of our traffic (over 20%) and one of the main reasons was page load speed. The same can happen if your website is not optimized for mobile.”

How B2B marketers optimize their websites for mobile

David LaVine, Founder of RocLogic Marketing, LLC:

“I wouldn’t usually be horribly concerned that someone wants to exhaustively and exclusively research your company via mobile, but you do want them to be able to accomplish the following tasks via mobile without too much effort:

  1. Get a quick sense of your company from your home page and about page to quickly qualify you in or out.
  2. Figure out how to contact you.
  3. Get a quick sense of your products and services.”

Gaurav Sharma, CEO & Head of Marketing at JustCall:

We recently revamped our different blog themes to make them more mobile-friendly.”

Dominic Kent, Director of Content Marketing & Communications at Mio:

“We optimize for mobile using plugins, by making our images as small files as possible without impacting quality, and focus on fast loading speeds.”

Olga Mykhoparkina, Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty:

We get around 25% of total traffic from mobile. This number was much lower in the past, but we made sure to improve it using a number of tactics. 

We went to great lengths to improve our loading speed and optimize the entire website for mobile displays, paying special attention to popups. We’re quite happy with 25% which we have at the moment, but we constantly analyze our website’s performance to find new ways to improve this score even more.”

Wade Benz, President & Founder of USimprints.com

“We must continue to increase investment and improvement of our mobile technology to make ordering easier on those devices. 

One of the phrases we have used as we adjust our mobile strategy is making it simple, fast, and stress‒free.“

Oksana Chyketa, the Marketer at Albacross.com:

Aiming to improve customer experience, we at Albacross have not only optimized our website for mobile but made sure our content is mobile‒friendly as well. 

However, one thing one should pay attention to when optimizing their site for mobile use is its speed. Most people tend to overlook page speed when designing their website forgetting how irritating a slow page can be. 

We at Albacross use Google’s Page Speed tester to find out if our site needs some adjustments in its speed, image optimization, browser caching, etc.

Neal Goyal, App Development Consultant at BuildFire

Mobile optimization has become critical for the B2B and enterprise sectors. When it comes to direct sales or communication, mobile optimization alone can work. But when it comes to more complex tasks like, building relationships, managing partnerships, workforce communication, or fostering a seamless exchange of information and workflow, mobile apps are now playing a massive role. The utilization of mobile app solutions has shown to not only increase productivity within B2B relationships but also create more scalable platform solutions that companies can continue to build upon, to fuel future growth.

How to analyze the mobile optimization of your website

We suggest using: 

1. Mobile Usability Test in Google Search Console will reveal existing errors in mobile usability.

2.   Page Speed Insights will give you useful information on speed improvements:

3. Webpage test provides a detailed analysis of website performance (by elements):

Based on this analysis, you can outline the most urgent issues and create a step‒by‒step plan for mobile optimization.

How to optimize your website for mobile ‒ CIENCE pro tips

We asked CIENCE Head of Web Service Delivery, Kate Galchuk about the steps she would take if she were to plan mobile optimization. Here’s what she said:

To put it simply ‒ I would first update the design to have all 4 screen formats layouts defined, choose the tech stack for site backend that would support adaptive development (if this is not yet in place), and then coded them. Designing specification of each screen separately, and adjusting pictures to consider mobile usage is the essential part.”

There are several things to consider when it comes to website mobile optimization. These are: 

  • Do you need to make it from scratch or something has been done before?
  • Are you going to do it in‒house or hire a web‒development agency?
  • What to optimize and which things might stay as they are?
  • What’s your budget? And how much will the project cost you?

WebFX wrote an insightful long-read on the page speed optimization and the prices which they estimated to range from $50 to $12K ‒ depending on the size of your website, your current and desired speed, the platform you use and other factors.

Image courtesy of WebFX

Generally, there are two practices in mobile optimization:

  • ‘m.’ site: Create two website versions: one for desktop and one for mobile (with “m.” before domain name) ‒ the old way
  • Responsive design: Create a website that automatically changes its configurations depending on the size of the screen ‒ modern ways

At CIENCE, we have a web team that helps our clients amplify outbound prospecting with inbound techniques. Simply put, they create landing pages for our campaigns to provide a quicker and easier buyer journey for potential customers.

We asked Roman Vybornov, CIENCE Web Developer four questions about mobile optimization of websites.  We hope his answers will help you optimize better. 

1. What are the essentials of mobile optimization?

‒ Mobile-first development makes pages lighter, faster and more convenient for users.

‒ The page should load faster than 3‒4 sec on 4g connection ‒ or the visitor gets bored

‒ Asset optimization. Example: you can’t see a difference between 67‒75% and 100%  quality JPG image. But it will have a 30%‒50% smaller file size, so the page will load much faster.

‒ Fonts optimization: we should try not to use more than 2‒3 font styles ‒ every additional font style causes higher page loading times.

‒ Code refactoring: we should write our code in a modular style ‒ if a block of code can be reused (for example, some global CSS class which can be added to multiple similar blocks) ‒ reuse it! Do not produce clones.

‒ Use CDN and Cloudflare DNS if it is possible.  Our clients from different parts of the world will be grateful.

‒ Use lazy‒load technology if applicable. PSI will be happy.

‒‒ Reduce the number of external JS‒scripts if possible (counters, analytics, bots, etc). This will reduce the number of required external server connections. Page load will increase (especially on mobile devices with a slow network connection).

2. How long does it take to mobile-optimize a landing page?

‒ Actually, we are not doing this like a separate task/action. We are just trying to make a mobile-optimized code, assets, etc. right from the start. But all responsive‒related things are kinda additional 30%‒40% of the overall work (at the coding stage).

3. How long does it take to mobile-optimize a website like CIENCE?

‒ Since almost every page on CIENCE site is highly detailed (and also has a large number of adjustments for mobile devices), “responsive” coding adds 50%‒60% to the working timer.

4. What are some pitfalls a web‒developer can face in mobile optimization?

‒ There are some cases when we couldn’t optimize assets better (without losing a visual quality), so sometimes you are forced to use large and heavyweight images. This makes the page load slower.

‒ If the page has a lot of images/backgrounds/etc. which should look different on every screen resolution breakpoint (PC, laptop, tablet, mobile phone) ‒ it takes a lot of time to code them properly.

‒ If the page has a large submission form ‒ sometimes it takes a lot of time to make sure it will be convenient on any screen size (including smaller phones).

‒ A large number of videos on the same page can cause interface lags on cheaper devices.

Tip on mobile optimization by Christina Pigol, CIENCE SEO Manager:

“Some marketing specialists will emphasize on the necessity to fully optimize your content for mobile experience (14 px font,  narrow line length and short paragraphs). 

However, our survey shows that for B2B these suggestions might be excessive — as most B2B buyers are still using a desktop to browse and purchase solutions. That’s why you can relax and focus on the technical part of mobile optimization. 

Just make sure that it is readable.”

Summary:

The share of mobile traffic for most B2B companies remains low (at around 25%). However, B2B marketers believe that it’s essential to optimize their websites for mobile devices to “please” Google and provide good user experience to those visitors who happen to use mobile devices.

B2B buyer journey ‒ Mobile vs. Desktop

Most B2B buyers are still using desktops to search for solutions for their companies as well as make purchasing decisions. A desktop is more convenient when it comes to a more profound education that has become an inalienable part of the buying process, comparing products/services and prices.

Simultaneously, we see the “mobilization” trend with more B2B buyers beginning their purchasing journey on smartphones. They believe that mobile devices are great for initial research (awareness stage of the sales funnel) ‘on the go’.

B2B products and services

Some B2B solutions aren’t fit for purchasing on smartphones. These include:

  • Expensive products/services
  • Complex solutions that have long sales cycles and require much education from a buyer
  • To complete a purchase, a potential client should make an input (attach docs, log in on a certain platform)

Since most B2B products still fall into one of the above categories, most conversions are made on desktop.

Google

Regardless of your product, the buyer journey of your clients, your mobile traffic and conversions, Google will be punishing you for not mobile‒optimizing your website.

Anastasia Voitehina
Content Writer

Anastasia Voitehina is a Content Writer at CIENCE Technologies. She creates passionate articles, witty infographics and smart charts dedicated to B2B Lead Generation. Anastasia also records the company's history and writes inspirational stories about her colleagues.