If you aren’t paying attention to the mobile marketing channel, you should be. Your customers sure are.
Research from comScore has found that mobile is now the leading digital platform, with total activity on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets accounting for 60% of U.S. digital media time spent. At the same time research from MarketingCharts found almost half of the respondents felt poorly equipped to understand mobile marketing.
Your marketing material must look good on mobile devices
If you’ve ever tried to negotiate a non-mobile optimized website or email on a smartphone you know how bad the experience can be. Buttons, designed for clicking rather than tapping, are tiny and maybe spaced too closely. Text has to be expanded just to be readable. Overall it’s simply an unpleasant experience.
This means marketers need to make sure the website and email actually looks good on mobile devices. One way to accomplish this by brute force – create two versions of everything, the old standard optimized for desktops and another version created specifically for mobile devices.
A much easier and more efficient way to achieve this goal is to adopt responsive design. This means you only create one version of the website and each email you send, and underlying responsive design technology automatically understands what size device is displaying that content – desktop/laptop computer, tablet or smartphone – and automatically serves those pages or emails in a format that is optimized for those screen sizes.
Another reason to make sure your website is mobile-friendly is if your site isn’t mobile-friendly it will significantly affect your SEO. Also another clue as to why marketers responsive design – because it makes this process so easy. In April Google rolled out a new update to its search algorithm blandly called the “mobile friendly update” that affected mobile search rankings as applied to individual pages (entire websites weren’t “penalized”). Go back to the aforementioned stats on mobile use (and by extension, mobile search) and you can predict what happened – overnight any website that wasn’t mobile-optimized immediately took a serious search rankings hit.
Ad tech giant Rubicon Project recently revealed that mobile ad spending on the platform increased 1,300% between Q1 2013 and Q1 2015. The spike is indicative of marketers following their audience to where is it most active.
Joe Prusz, head of mobile at Rubicon Project told Marketing Land the company recognized a gap mobile distribution, saying, "The infrastructure necessary to enable mobile ads to be bought and sold automatically -- the same way they are on desktop -- simply did not exist. Over the last two years, we have been tackling that complicated endeavor with a clear mission to scale the mobile market for automation for the entire industry.”
Tailor your mobile marketing to your audience
Mobile marketing absolutely should be part of your multi-channel marketing approach, but at the same time you shouldn’t just jump in and spend a huge amount of time and money on mobile before you understand how your audience is actually engaging with you.
Certainly you should adopt responsive design so whatever mobile traffic you are getting is having the best possible experience, but before you develop an overall mobile marketing strategy you need to do some research. Take a look at your analytics – find out where your website traffic is coming from by type of device (desktop or different mobile platform), look into the metrics and see where (desktop or mobile device) those emails are being opened and when.
You’re likely going to see some patterns that will help you define what your mobile audience looks like – when they open email on mobile devices, the types of content they choose to consume on mobile devices, the amount of time they are spending engaged with your website on a mobile device. And if you utilize customer profiles, or buyer personas, you might find some of those customer segments are more, or less, likely to engage with you on mobile. All of this information will tell you first, how much effort you should put into mobile marketing; and second, who exactly you should tailor mobile-specific campaigns for.
The key takeaway is some portion of your audience is taking in your marketing efforts on mobile devices, and given the trends, that number is going to keep rising. Make mobile part of your multi-channel marketing, and take it into account for any campaign, but also make sure you understand your mobile audience. If you listen to them, they’ll let you know how, and when, they want to engage with you on mobile.