Four Things Every Marketer Needs To Know About Mobile
for publishing this article first.
Many brands are still struggling to make the most of engaging people on the small screen. But mobile isn’t that complicated if you remember the important ways in which it’s unique.
In my role as the lead marketing guy for a mobile data company, I work with many brands on how they can make more sales in this massively popular medium. Here are four of the most important insights about mobile and mobile customers, and simple steps you can take to incorporate these principles into your marketing plans.
1. Mobile is not “just another marketing channel.”
Seventy-one percent of Americans sleep with or right next to their smartphones and 35% reach for their phones as soon as they wake up. These figures, from a 2015 Bank of America survey, should convince you that people have a unique relationship with their small screens. They check them dozens of times a day. They rely on them to kill time and to find local solutions to their wants and needs.
ACTION STEP: Scrutinize the sort of experiences you create or buy for mobile. Don’t just replicate personal computer (PC) experiences. Steer clear of experiences that slow users down from getting to the information they want. Consider how to leverage the always-on character of the device. How can you deliver your message in a way that is helpful to people when they are on the go?
A few years ago, I worked on marketing programs for a car company app. We included the “build your car” tool from the PC website, but very few people used it. When we added a feature that found local inventory matching the user’s specs as they customized their car, usage took off. It made the technology practical and stimulated strong dealer visit growth.
2. Mobile is mainstream. PC is niche.
Most brands were active on the web long before they dipped their toes in mobile. But now mobile accounts for about two-thirds of total connected time, according to a comScore study as reported by arc. Brands should focus on mobile first and PC second. Sadly, most brands do the opposite. Many marketers develop websites, social pages and video strategies for PC, and then “pound to fit” for the mobile experiences. That sacrifices two-thirds of potential views for the sake of one-third.
ACTION STEP: Do an audit of your mobile experiences. Fire up your own smartphone and really look them over. Then, going forward, review any site experiences, social media messages, ads, and other marketing experiences on your phone.
I learned this lesson the hard way three years ago when I saw mobile’s share of traffic to my B2B website rise from 10% to 55% in just one year. From that point forward, I’ve pulled out my phone first when reviewing web assets.
3. Mobile time means app time.
There are two ways people consume digital content on mobile. One is on the web – analogous to the way people connect with your brand via PC. The other is within apps. The same comScore study showed that apps account for 87% of mobile connected time. People prefer apps because they are purpose-built for the small screen. It’s far easier to optimize user experience in an app than on the mobile web. If you’re thinking about a strong presence on mobile, you need to be thinking about apps.
ACTION STEP: Not every brand has the resources or value proposition for a successful app. But many more brands could have valuable apps if they got creative with what they offered. Charmin, for example, had huge success with an app called Sit or Squat, which helped moms find clean bathrooms when they were out and about.
The key to apps is offering utility because people aren’t going to revisit an app that doesn’t provide strong tangible benefits. Take it from someone who looks at mobile app data every day – without great utility, your app will fast become one of the hundreds of thousands that people use once and then abandon.
4. Great mobile marketing is personal.
A mobile phone is a very personal object. It has a screen that’s generally private, not shared. People expect what they view and use on a smartphone to be tailored specifically to their personal needs. Because connection speeds tend to be slower, they get frustrated if what they want doesn’t appear immediately. While people tend to be more wary of data collection on mobile, they also reward brands that personalize experiences.
ACTION STEP: Use information about what users examine and search for to exhibit related items for their consideration. Leverage push notifications and retargeting to re-engage cart abandoners and incremental purchases.
I recently helped a friend implement a post-install engagement program to drive incremental purchases. We worked with their media partners to deliver personalized mobile ads to users who had abandoned shopping carts, lapsed their app usage or just made a purchase. These programs helped drive double-digit sales increases for the holidays.
These are simple concepts, but you’d be amazed how many brands blow millions in would-be revenue by ignoring the unique characteristics of mobile and mobile customers. By keeping these truths top of mind, you can get the most revenue out of the small screen.