In the 3rd quarter of 2012, 1.03 billion smartphones were reported as active worldwide, which means nearly 1 in 5 people is walking around with the internet in their pocket. Nielsen recently announced that of these 1.03 billion smartphones, 42% of mobile users browsed and 23% purchased products via mobile in the last 30 days, which means there are 432,600,000 sets of engaged mobile eyes and 236,900,000 sets of thumbs actively purchasing products and services via mobile. These numbers are only growing.
The proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and internet-compatible reading devices coupled with social media-savvy consumers is forcing brands to push their web marketing into people’s hands, literally. As brand marketers, we no longer have the luxury of months-long lead times to plan, design, and execute complex marketing campaigns; today the average time between initial product interaction and purchase via mobile is only an hour. We have to engage consumers faster and better than ever before.
The benefits of leveraging mobile are significant. It demonstrates several things about your brand: that you are relevant, innovative, and you are paying attention to your customer’s habits. These things are incredibly important when you are trying to develop an engaged following for your brand. Mobile is also an exploding market that can have big impact on your bottom line ($39.17 billion revenue reported from mobile purchases alone in 2011) if you do it right. People and brands must learn to leverage content that presents itself in the real world and be scrappy enough to analyze web trends in real time, interpret the themes into a marketing message, and develop creative around them on very tight timelines.
These 4 tactics are easy jumping off points for brands who want to experiment with mobile and will help you make you flexible enough to tackle the mobile market.
1. Mobile media creation
The newest trends in web marketing are utilizing technologies focused on creating media from mobile devices. The mass adoption of Twitter’s new Vine app and the plethora of brands using it to market are a testament to that. Brands are also adopting mobile-creation platforms such as Instagram to create and distribute relevant content to their web audiences and spread their message. For example:
- Malibu Rum makes an awesome, superbowl-friendly Vine.
- Starbucks uses Instagram to visually illustrate the lifestyle of Starbucks customers.
Utilize these technologies to develop social media-friendly content that is impactful for minimal time and resources. The old adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words” is especially poignant here, as is the incredible growth trajectories for these platforms. There is an entire world of potential brand content around you all the time, even in your office, if you have the vision to interpret your surroundings. Think big!
2. Mobile advertising
Facebook and Google (along with many other major players) have implemented programming to allow savvy brands to target potential customers with mobile-specific advertising. Mobile advertisements, when done correctly, see significantly higher click-through rates than their platform-bound counterparts.
To do it right, develop mobile advertisements that are contextually relevant to the person viewing it, instead of just broadcasting your message. Use the robust targeting capabilities offered by these platforms to your advantage and create advertisements meant to engage a specific type of character. Run 15 different variations of your ad and then compare the successes and failures of each version and focus your budget on the ads that work.
3. Mobile-optimized email
Email is still the king of web marketing, and email may be the king of mobile web marketing as well. Recent statistics are showing that 56% of mobile purchases motivated by marketing were inspired by an email, and that 41% of all email opened is opened via mobile. Mobile email opens are on track to surpass PC email opens by the end of this year, but 58% of all marketers are still not designing mobile-optimized email campaigns. We need to keep our eye on the ball!
Creating mobile-optimized email campaigns is actually easier than you think. It doesn’t require any fancy coding or design, just simply using the right tools. MailChimp offers an incredible drag-and-drop template design tool that automatically formats for mobile viewing and PC viewing. It has saved my neck several times.
Pro-tip: Keep it simple. Email communications shouldn’t be a massive pile of content that is so overwhelming a reader can’t identify the key themes immediately. How many times have you opened a newsletter only to see so many pieces of competing content you just give up? Try to focus your messaging to 5 or fewer topics.
4. Mobile-optimized blogs
Today 1 in 8 pageviews worldwide is made by a mobile device. It is absolutely crazy that 79% of online advertisers don’t have a mobile-optimized website to handle this new source of traffic. It is incredibly important that creating a mobile-friendly environment on your web properties a brand priority.
One easy way to begin pushing mobile traffic to your websites is to create a mobile-optimized blog. WordPress is a great platform for easy, mobile-ready blog themes that simply turn on, no coding or technical skills required and as a bonus, keep your branding intact. Tumblr is another great, “mobile-ready” option to handle mobile traffic.
We have to accept the inevitability of mobile taking over our world. As QualComm demonstrated at CES this year, we have to be ready for a new breed of user, those who have never known a life without mobile and the web. We should hold the opinion as marketers that the internet has already been won; the battleground of today is mobile, and whoever does it best will win.