The ‘mobile web’ advances deeper into our lives and over the past 12 months this trend has continued. Are associations and membership organisations ready for this rapid shift in the way members wish to access mobile content?
Last year the jury was out, so what about this year? Before we dive into this article it is wise to define ‘mobile web’ – For the purpose of this article I am referring to web content/functionality accessed via a mobile device. E.g. A SmartPhone or Tablet PC.
Right, let’s get started!
Recruiting and retaining members
In our 2013 report we revealed that 15% of organisations thought that the mobile web helped to increase member retention. This year the number increased to 19% (+4%) across the sector and within organisations earning between £3m and £6m it increased to 36% (up from 29% last year).
Case Study: The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) recently ran a recommend a colleague campaign. Although the campaign offered an incentive to win £250 to the referrer (towards one of their Master Courses) the actual technology was ‘mobile-friendly’ enabling members to make recommendations at anytime, anywhere and on any device.
Take a look…
Last year we were unsure if effective use of the ‘mobile web’ would contribute towards improved member engagement. This year we are more certain.
We asked if organisations agreed that the mobile web now helps to increase member engagement:
• 27% agreed in 2013
• 35% agreed in 2014
‘Mobile Web’ Readiness and Analytics
Last year three quarters of association and membership organisation websites were not ‘mobile ready’. This year our results indicate that this has improved slightly and the number has decreased to 52%. Again, this number correlates with the number of organisations using a CMS less than 3 years old (many of which incorporate new ‘industry-standard’ functionality that enable the rendering of content for multiple devices. i.e. PC, Tablet and Smartphone).
This year we asked if organisations were monitoring visits via smart phones and tablet devices. Approximately 1/3 were either unable or do not currently monitor/report on this despite:
• 73% confirming the mobile web will play a role in increasing member engagement
• 71% advising that their members will value online mobile content in the future
• 67% believing the mobile web will enable members to engage/network online
• 66% advising that the mobile web will soon have a role in increasing recruitment/retention
• 54% thinking the mobile web will be more engaging than accessing via a PC
In 2013 the word ‘App’ was still a ‘buzz word’ with a quarter of associations and membership organisations providing them to members. This year the number of organisations providing new and dedicated ‘Apps’ has receded to 17.5%, however, a significant minority (40%) are still considering the idea.
Question: If a membership organisation were to choose a type of ‘App’ what would be the most preferable?
Answer: The majority of associations and membership organisations are undecided. Of those who had an opinion the majority believed cross-platform ‘web-based’ apps, or sticky content, were the way forward (as opposed to iTunes/Android Apps). This opinion correlates with the opinion of a membership-focused expert web panel that presented at MemberWise’s Harnessing the Web 2013 conference.
Recommendation: Before initiating work on an ‘App’ consider what you want to achieve, what will be the result and the value your members will receive.
Sector Goals & Challenges
There is a major mismatch between the sector’s goal of meeting members’ mobile web related needs, and association and membership organisations’ ability to deliver (or monitor the use of)mobile content. Until this capability issue is met, this goal will remain unreached.
The MemberWise Network can provide you with practical help and support to improve online mobile content provision.
1) Harnessing the Web 2014 Conference (7th October, London) – Over 25 educational sessions (segmented into 3 seminar streams) will be delivered by senior association and membership professionals, leaders and influencers. Themes will include online member value/engagement, online member recruitment, online member retention and online member journeys. Find out more…
2) Harnessing the Web 2014 survey summary report – You can access our full PDF version by joining the MemberWise Network (completely free-of charge). A link will be contained in your Welcome email. Our 20-page report (sponsored by ASI Europe) contains statistically significant results and covers critical online membership-focused topic areas including sector online goals/challenges, online member value, websites/CRM, the ‘mobile’ web, online social media and email marketing.
(c) MemberWise Network