In just a few short years mobile devices have transformed the way we communicate in so many ways. With every iteration of the iPhone (ie. iPhone 4s and iOS 5), update to the Blackberry and release of the latest alleged iPad killer, marketers are discovering new ways to reach their target audience.
And because mobile tools like the iPhone4S - Apple sold 4 million in less than one week - are really no longer even primarily phones but rather multimedia devices capable of powerful computing , savvy business owners are now finding multiple platforms to place their marketing messages.
Some quick stats to consider:
- Mobile marketing is on track to top $1.1 billion this year and $1.5 billion next year, according to eMarketer.
- More than two thirds of the world’s population has a mobile subscription, and mobile users are highly active.
- Facebook recently reported statistics indicating that over half of its 500 million subscribers access Facebook from a mobile device and exhibit twice the activity level of non-mobile users.
All this mobile growth means searches from smartphones and tablets are on the rise and new technologies are allowing us to factor users location into search results. Today's smart phone gives marketers the ability to push more information more easily. In turn this is increasing the importance of local Search Engine Optimization; and website mobile development is becoming equally important.
In fact, Google is on track to earn $2.5 billion this year in mobile ad sales, Larry Page told investors recently during Google's third quarter earnings call. That growth is led by mobile search activity, with mobile display ads following behind.
If it's good for Google make sure it’s good for you. And same goes with Apple and the iPhone. These tools are changing marketing. Here are five thoughts to consider when deploying a mobile marketing strategy.
1. Check the metrics. The first and possibly most important step is determining where you are now. Have a look at the traffic on your site and study exactly how much of it comes from mobile devices. Chances are the numbers are pretty high considering mobile searches have grown four-fold this past year. When you learn just how much mobile business your website is doing you'll understand why it is so important to optimize for mobile viewing.
I've spent a lot of time talking about mobile optimization on the Blue Fountain Media blog in recent months. Once you've decided to get started, have a look at my mobile optimization articles to get you moving in the right direction.
2. Integrate, don't profligate. Be judicious with your mobile marketing spend. Once you've decided to go mobile and launch that sharp promotion, make sure you're not serving up ads to quite mobile devices. A study of 10,000 mobile users by analytics firm Zokem shows mobile usage increases in the evenings and on weekends. These are a marketer's prime hours when people are on the go.
Adjust the times during which your ads show. A one-size-fits-all timetable won’t perform as highly when you’re geotargeting. Set your delivery times accordingly so that each market is advertised to during the appropriate time of day. If you are running an in-store promotion or special offer, place a coupon directly into your ad and customers can email or SMS your offer to themselves for future in-store redemption.
And location will continue to be the main driver of local mobile advertising’s growth. Because current generation smartphones and mobile computing devices are equipped with location awareness, large brand advertisers are developing campaign objectives by tailoring messages depending on audiences location.
3. Ready, set, action. It's been said many times before, but can't be said enough: Please, people, make it easy for visitors take action. Smartphone users typically click and type less than those using a desktop computer. Design for goal-oriented users. Mobile users are less likely to be “surfing” the Internet than when they’re tethered to their PCs. Most users accessing the Internet from a mobile device need fast access to either information or services.
Go back to your website analytics and use an advanced segment for mobile users to see how they have been interacting with desktop features on your site. This will provide insights into the kinds of services they will want to access most on your mobile site. Make those buttons big and clear to help convert those searches into sales.
4. Location is everything. Granular targeting (the ability to hyper-target based on demographics, geographics, lifestyle, ect.) is helping reach consumers more efficiently, creating real-time buying opportunities. Of course, this is truely relevant to mobile users, and this type of savvy mobile marketing can immediately increase business.
For example, if you have a traditional bricks-and-mortar store, target customers coupon accompanied with a map and some directions from their current location. Its easier than you think.
5. On the fly. Like most aspects of your business, be ready to adjust your mobile strategy on the fly. Constantly examine your metrics to see what is working and what maybe isn't optimized to its fullest potential. These numbers don't lie.
Analyzing your mobile ad campaigns can help you better understand the users visiting your site, the actions they are taking, and their path to conversion. You can then use this data to improve your website and marketing campaigns, and better track results against desktop campaigns.
Designing websites for mobile conversions is going to be paramount as more people consuming content on their handhelds will increasingly demand mobile websites that are quick and easy to use and the easier you make things for visitors the likelihood of converting them increases.
Start building out sites now that make it easier to convert visitors on a mobile device. Keep this in mind: to convert users on mobile you MUST play to the strengths of mobile devices. We’ve long moved passed the days when replicating the desktop experience was good enough.