Miami is a top mobile-friendly city, and here’s how you can capitalize on that

Updated

Fewer than two weeks after Miami was ranked No. 1 worst city in the U.S., things seem to be looking up for the South Florida city.

Personal finance site NerdWallet ranked the country’s most mobile-friendly cities, and while Miami did not crack the Top 10, its No. 12 ranking is welcome news. NerdWallet set out to identify which cities had best and fastest access to internet and the largest number of mobile phone stores per capita, among other things.

“Most people are relying on cell phones as their main portal to the internet,” the study concluded. It cited Pew Research Center figures, which state that 64 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone and 10 percent have no other way of getting online.

The combined data highlight the importance of providing consumers with a pleasant mobile experience, said Jacques Hart, CEO of Coral Gables-based digital PR consultancy Roar Media.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt we live in a mobile-first world,” Hart said.

Roar Media clients, he added, which range from healthcare institutions to apparel companies, garner more than one-third of their digital traffic from mobile devices. The traffic email communications is similarly high: 50 to 60 percent of recipients open digital correspondence.

Figures vary industry to industry, and hours of the day play a factor, too. But the underlying message remains: It is crucial to interact with consumers via mobile.

“Everyone has a browser on their phone and people are used to searching for things on a browser. So make sure you are mobile-friendly,” Hart said.

Some ways business can tailor their digital approach to optimize web experience is by emphasizing text over splashy graphics, and ensuring that graphics that are used are adaptive to a mobile interface. Hart also recommends prioritizing mobile advertising over other digital media.

“[Owners of small- to mid-size businesses] used to say, ‘I don’t understand mobile, so I’m not gonna select that targeting feature [while choosing ad options on Facebook]. But you want ads served to mobile devices,” Hart said. “You’re getting more reach, more visibility and you’re getting more bang for your buck,” because of the relatively inexpensive cost of mobile advertising.

Another important aspect of the mobile experience is the availability of foreign language settings.

MotionPoint, a Coconut Creek-based internet marketing platform, runs thousands of websites across the world in 44 languages. Its data shows that Spanish speakers in the U.S. access the web most often through mobile devices, making it essential for businesses to accommodate their preferences.

“We’ve found that with websites that do not provide Spanish, their average mobile traffic is significantly reduced,” Charles Whiteman, SVP of client services at MotionPoint said.

He pointed to JetBlue, a case study on the importance of Spanish-language mobile settings. Within a four-week period in Jule 2014, the New York-based airline’s mobile traffic surged 2700 percent after it adopted a Spanish-language option.

Moral of the story: Be present in the mobile web-sphere and be accommodating, Whiteman says.