As the use mobile devices continues to increase at a dramatic rate, a well-defined mobile marketing strategy in 2015 is essential for any business. Business Sense speaks to mobile experts for their tips on making the most of mobile.
In a Nutshell
• Responsive websites crucial since Google mobile search update
• App-based advertising is more important as content tastes change
• Video advertising on mobiles and tablets is the new growth area
In 2014, online shopping via mobile overtook desktop for the first time. The IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report found 52% of visits to retail websites came from mobiles with 36% of online sales in the UK made via a smartphone or tablet.
But it’s not just important for retailers. Businesses of all types, shapes and sizes must ride the wave of increased mobile and tablet usage that has come from cheaper devices, faster 4G networks and wider rollouts of wireless internet – even on the London Underground.
Ofcom has revealed access to the internet using a mobile phones alone doubled between 2010 and 2014 – soaring from 24% to 58%.
And research by agency We Are Social discovered that in January 2015, 27% of the total number of web pages served in the UK were accessed by mobiles.
Mobile is changing the way we consume content
Hari Mann, a lecturer at Ashridge Business School, says: “The strategic shift to mobile is a fundamental, irrevocable shift that is occurring for businesses.
“Mobile marketing needs to be at the heart of the business. It has to be integrated at the start, seamless with other campaigns, and most importantly it needs to be relevant to the consumer and their needs. People won’t come back to a page on their phones or tablets if it doesn’t work or load properly.”
In April this year, Google moved to make mobile more important than ever. A major update to its algorithms meant having a mobile-friendly – or so-called ‘responsive’ website became crucial – not least given that in February 2014, Google’s share of mobile search was a whopping 94.55%.
Responsive websites see their pages adapt to the screen size they are viewed on, without having to tap, zoom or scroll horizontally.
Now these optimised pages will rank higher in Google’s mobile search results than those that haven’t been made responsive so it’s no wonder professional collaboration website Upwork has seen a 102% rise in the amount of money businesses have spent on hiring responsive design skills in January to March 2015.
Responsive websites are crucial not simply a preference
Faye O’Donohue-Hill, of designers OH Creative, has seen a surge in requests for mobile responsive website builds. She says: “If you want to discover whether your site is mobile friendly or not, you can take the Google test.
“Your digital presence gives an important indicator to the outside world of the kind of business you run. Without a fully responsive website it could look as though you are indifferent to the needs of your visitors.
“You don’t want to be losing business to the competition because they can’t access something as simple as your contact details, opening times or other important information.”
Responsive websites are crucial but they are only one part of the mobile strategy.
Mobile advertising on the up
The Institute of Advertising Bureau’s 2014 Digital Adspend report saw a 63% year-on-year growth in mobile advertising, up to 23%.
Jon Myers, MD EMEA at Marin Software, says: “For the brand advertiser, it makes sense to allocate more spend toward mobile ads on social and display networks, which are strong on branded advertising and consumer usage. Marketers should also look into tracking mobile ad formats like click-to-call and store-locator.
“Mobile apps now account for almost 90% of all time spent on mobile devices, so this makes mobile app advertising an important tool in any marketer’s toolbox. This is especially true for social media, as Facebook is the most-used app on smartphones and tablets. According to Gartner, by 2017 mobile apps will generate $77 billion in revenue worldwide, so marketers must be attuned to this area to create well balanced campaigns.”
He adds: “Plan ahead for mobile video advertising. Mobile video is quickly becoming another important channel for marketers to reach advertisers, and must be paid attention to in the future.”
Apps having a massively growing appeal
The growth in apps is not simply about building an app-based version of your website. Weaving in popular mobile functions such as location tracking, Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) payment is now a daily user expectation.
Diana Marian, of Ampersand Mobile, explains: “Few marketers understand that a mobile user is a particular kind of creature: they only allow meaningful communications through on the most private device they own.
“They respond to marketing messaging only if delivered within context and with their permission. Their attention span is short. Their battery life is precious. They want things to be quick, simple, relevant and elegant. One tap or one scroll: this is what mobility really means to them.”
Andy Atalla, founder of Digital marketing agency atom42, explains the importance of apps saying: “Mobile is fast becoming the best way to reach customers. We are past the mobile tipping point and information is consumed more and more through mobile, with the average user interacting with their mobile device 150 times a day.
“We also know that there’s a clear consumer preference for apps vs mobile sites, with 80% of mobile time spent in app rather than in browser.
Whatever choice you make, it is clear experts believe mobile is the fastest changing and biggest growth area in the marketing strategy. It’s certainly not a business move that can ever be ignored or delayed.