We're not here to tell you that 2017 is the year of mobile. We're sure you've probably heard something to that effect many, many times before. What we will say is that mobile is already here and has been for quite some time. There are certain mobile tactics and strategies that all brands in the digital space should certainly be aligned on investing in, and others that are key considerations for those hoping to get out ahead of the curve. Read on to hear our thoughts on the state of mobile marketing in 2017.

1. Go responsive or go home

Regardless of whether mobile is the final referer before a conversion is made on your website, more often than not, it's a critical step in the path to purchase. In 2017 brands can't really afford to ignore the importance of mobile in the purchase process. If a user is looking for a product and they visit your website in the process of doing research, the experience they find on your mobile site should be a positive one. The mobile user must be able to find what he or she is looking for. If the experience is negative -- if the site loads slowly, or content is poorly laid out, for example -- what are the chances that the user is going to continue to consider your brand? If user experience concerns weren't enough to convince you of the importance of having a mobile-friendly site, maybe your organic search presence will be. In May, 2016 Google increased the weight of mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor. This means that websites that are not meeting the demands of mobile users are likely to see (or to have already seen) their organic search presence suffer.

2. Mobile video

In the past, it might not have seemed conceivable that by 2017 so many of us would have grown totally comfortable using our mobile phones to consume video content, but the reality is that in 2017 mobile video has made impressive inroads with smartphone users. In 2017 just over 60% of mobile phone users and a total of nearly 50% of the U.S. population will be watching video content on their phones. For marketers this mobile video growth trend indicates that there is a significant opportunity to create content that will appeal to those engaged video audiences. And, that there is a necessity to invest in the mobile video channel in order to be able to effectively speak to these audiences and to compete rigorously with other brands in similar industries or verticals. Three ways to get started: The creation of ANY video content -- get a strategy in place to create engaging video content for your brand. Be consistent in how often you release new content. The creation of MOBILE-SPECIFIC video content -- focus some effort on creating video content that is specifically designed for mobile -- whether it's a live stream or a 15 second Instagram Story. Optimization for viewability -- Video looks different on mobile and a lot of times it's more difficult for users to maintain control of the experience. Make sure your video landing pages are optimized with mobile viewability and usability in mind.

3. Mobile-only social is key

Mobile-only social channels such as Instagram and Snapchat are becoming increasingly integral to a well-rounded digital strategy. Instagram and Snapchat are both examples of digital experiences that are authentically mobile -- which means that their ability to exist is predicated on the existence of mobile devices. That's saying a lot both about the state of mobile, and about the state of social. We've reached a point here smartphones are so ubiquitous that entire social platforms can exist and thrive without any reliance on desktop. Most brands can no longer afford to ignore these platforms in favor of the same old promotional posts on Facebook and LinkedIn. Users crave a more intimate and immediate connection and brands that run successful social media campaigns recognize the power of mobile social to satisfy this craving.

4. Mobile spending is growing

Spending on mobile advertising is most definitely on the rise. Mobile ad spend is outpacing desktop ad spend at this point, and is projected to see significant growth over the next few years. Desktop spending, on the other hand will remain relatively static. What does this mean for marketers and brands? More companies are investing in mobile advertising to capture an ever-growing mobile audience. If your brand isn't invested in this channel, you're missing out on a chance to compete for attention. In considering your approach to mobile advertising in 2017, rather than investing in problematic mobile banners or desktop campaigns replicated for mobile, aim to focus on the creation of content for mobile platforms, boosting social posts, and creating mobile-centric advertising campaigns. If you haven't been as focused on mobile marketing in prior years as you know you should have been, why not use 2017 as the moment to turn that trend around? There are so many ways to improve your mobile marketing efforts that you'll have no shortage of ideas. We recommend beginning by ensuring you have a mobile-friendly site that loads fast and performs to meet the expectations of today's mobile users. From there you can invest more time and effort into things like mobile-only social channels, mobile video, and mobile ad campaigns.
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