Mobile advertising has slowly but surely established itself as a leader in digital media strategy, as this channel continues to evolve and innovation abounds. There are now 163.9 million smartphones in the United States alone, and mobile consumption is growing by leaps and bounds each year. If one thing is clear about your marketing efforts in 2015, it’s that mobile should play a major part.
What’s still unclear to many businesses new to the mobile arena, however, is how best to utilize mobile to ensure they are deploying the best solutions, right now, that will score with their target consumers. Should they build their mobile effort based off a desktop platform? Should they develop an app? And what do they do with all the resulting data?
Fortunately, putting together a smart mobile strategy isn’t as overwhelming as it sounds. Here are three things to consider for your mobile campaign as you move through 2015:
1. Think "mobile-first."
As mobile continues its rapidly growing share of media strategies, many businesses are challenged on how to proceed, given the amount of internet traffic now coming over mobile devices. One thing’s for sure, though: You need to think "mobile-first."
Mobile-first means that your strategy starts with mobile, not something else that is later adapted for mobile, like desktop. It means knowing and understanding the platform in which the consumer is interacting with your brand, and designing strategy specifically for that platform.
The popularity of mobile and social channels has seen a steady increase over the past few years, while traditional channels such as television and desktop have seen a decline. Mobile alone drove 30 percent of last year’s Black Friday sales, further proof that it is becoming the first place people go to look for information and content. So, mobile should be the first place your business looks to reach its consumers.
This mobile-first approach provides a better opportunity for engagement, amplification and monetization -– all things that will impact your bottom line.
2. Think about your choice: apps or the mobile web?
This debate has inspired plenty of discussion in recent years, with no clear winner in sight. Both have their own pros and cons, so instead of trying to choose which one is “best,” choose which is best for your business.
A mobile website is designed specifically for the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets, whereas mobile apps, which run on smartphones or tablets, have to be downloaded and installed.
Both have their advantages. Mobile sites offer a more cost-effective approach, as well as broader, immediate accessibility and compatibility across devices. Apps, meanwhile, are great for regular usage and personalization, actions that require processing, such as GPS or cameras, native functionality or scenarios where there's no connection required.
So, which one’s best for your business? If your mobile strategy is to deliver content and establish a broad mobile presence that can be easily shared between users and found via search, a mobile website is the logical choice. However, if your goal is interactive engagement, or an app that works more like a program, an app is probably a better fit.
Either way, both mobile websites and mobile apps let customers find and access businesses from devices they use the most -- mobile phones and tablets -- so both should be included during initial campaign-planning discussions. Each avenue has its own role within your strategy, depending on who your audience is, and more often than not, both mobile web and app capabilities are needed.
3. Think about all that data you'll obtain -- and the mobile decisions to go with it.
A mobile campaign is going to bring your business a lot of valuable customer data: what devices they use, what platforms they utilize to interact with your brand and how and when they shop. This is a treasure trove of information that can help you better target your consumers; as such, it should be taken into account when making decisions regarding strategy.
There is also all kinds of information available -– location-based data that allows promos to be pushed to consumers in a geo-targeted area; store browsing habits; consumer breakdowns by gender, age, etc.; and device information.
Taking all of this information into account will allow you to better target consumers and more effectively meet their needs. Information also enables marketers to realize greater efficiency and ROI for their campaigns, while helping to identify other opportunities to advance their brands’ offerings and positioning.
It’s not enough in 2015 to simply have a mobile presence; it’s crucial to be smart and strategic about the way you utilize this channel to reach your consumers because everyone uses mobile for different things -– shopping, content consumption, social media.
A Nielsen study reported at the start of 2014 that the average American was spending seven more hours on mobile devices utilizing browsers and apps than the year before. What's more, mobile video consumption had increased by 26 minutes.
Clearly, your consumer’s attention is focused on mobile – more than half of consumers call it their "first screen." So, yours should be, too.