Content Marketing in the Mobile Era
Over the last few years, we’ve been witnessing a mass shift to smart, mobile devices that seem to have taken the world by storm and significantly changed the ways we access online information. With the world forever available from our palms, our perceptions of information search, collaboration and communication will never be the same.
Much like most other industries, the world of digital marketing too has faced some new challenges and opportunities associated with the increased use of mobile devices. Certainly, the idea of millions of people accessing the Internet via mini browsers poses some new rules in terms of both content creation and content distribution. The multiplicity of screen sizes, sharing platforms and social networks might be said to have created an ecosystem where constant innovation is required in order to have your content noticed.
To illustrate the extent to which users’ behavior changes, let’s have a look at some amazing estimates that imply the subtle downfall of desktop browsing. Namely, according to a recent Radicati report, the use of mobile networking keeps growing even as the adoption rates plummet. This implies that mobile has become a default device for virtually any online activity marketers depend on.
The table below outlines the stats related to worldwide mobile device use and gives estimates on the future growth.
Probably the most striking finding is that people growingly use more than a single mobile device, which could by 2018 lead to having 1.95 mobile devices per user. Obviously, such a major change in users’ behavior triggers development of new content marketing strategies. This mostly relates to the form of content generated, but also to the way it is presented to a mobile user.
How mobile device boom changes content marketing
Every tech trend that demonstrates such a great impact on people’s online behavior is bound to change the content marketing industry. While users increasingly rely on mobile search to find relevant info, content distribution channels need to be adjusted to these platforms.
In terms of ecommerce and mobile marketing, probably the most relevant stats are those that outline the extent to which contemporary purchase habits take place in mobile browsers. According to different estimates, mobile commerce alone is projected to reach more than 41 billion this year, which clearly indicates how frequent these activities are. Other surveys also suggest that even though desktop and offline purchases are still most frequent forms of conversions, almost 50% of respondents actively shop from mobile browsers.
One of the most comprehensive surveys done recently shows how mobile searches and purchases define contemporary marketing. Namely, the survey by Custora that draws data from over 100 online retailers and 70 million consumers reveals the following stats:
- – Every third visit to an ecommerce website comes from a mobile device
- – Email marketing drives mobile purchases
- – Social media doesn’t bring too many conversions
- – This November, Organic search, CPC and email continue to dominate e-commerce.
Therefore, to make use of the potential in the global mobile market, content marketers need to explore channels that actually bring a user to the very end of a sales funnel. Clearly, this implies necessary changes in search engine marketing, email marketing and social media, which are still the most favorite portals among mobile users.
Responsive web design is mandatory for great search results
With organic search being the second most frequent activity on mobile devices, new rules for achieving great rankings may apply in the realm of SEO and web design. Suffice to say, websites that are not optimized for multiple screen sizes stand less chances of performing well in mobile search. Therefore, the lack of a mobile-focused strategy in this form is likely to frustrate users, who in turn see a company as an unreliable source of information.
Although there are several ways to build a mobile-friendly website, Google recommends responsive design as the most effective solution. As opposed to dynamic serving and creating multiple URLs to display pages neatly in mobile browsers, responsive design is a technique that seems to be preferred by Google’s search engine.
The very notion or responsive design quite justifiably brought about a whole new era in web design and changed the ways website contents should be presented to the audience. To create excellent user experience and, perhaps more importantly, lead them to the end of a sales funnel, responsive websites need to keep cutting the amount of text and code. Small screens limit the amount of design elements you can present to your visitors, which demands some new strategies. To bridge the gap of dynamic content offering, Boaz Grinvald, CEO at BrightInfo suggests:
- – Promote personalized and targeted content selectively to make sure only the most relevant elements would be shown to a user
- – Adjust the amount of content offers to different screen resolutions, i.e. create separate offers for smartphone and tablet users
- – Consider presenting contextual offers in the form of popup where applicable
In relation to this approach, Mr Grinvald also notes that the focus should be on dynamic content placement because this is most likely to bring conversions:
“Responsive design can take a toll on static content conversions. But with a dynamic approach, your content strategy can be just as responsive as your site – adapting not only to the device, but also to the individual visitor.”
Email marketing requires sleeker templates
As noted above, email marketing is currently the most efficient form of content distribution among mobile users. Reports show that 65% of all emails are first opened on mobile devices, which further implies changes in the way email marketing campaigns should be carried out. This means that the previously established timing, design and content strategies may not necessarily work the same way on mobile devices.
For one, the very format of emails should change because long pieces of text could be very difficult to read in a mobile format. This translates into shorter yet impactful sentences, with CTAs designed to be tappable rather than clickable. Furthermore, the way emails are displayed in mobile browsers make it less practical fro anchor text links to be found and tapped. This is why most marketers now suggest that a single button-like call to action could lead to higher click-through rates.
The great news for content marketers, however, is that mobile conversions still top those from desktop platforms, as more mobile users seem to be more likely to purchases or subscribe to different contents. Of course, most of this still depends on the effectiveness of the subject line that again needs to be shorter and more captivating than ever. Mobile browsers thus practically burry the idea that longer subjects result in higher click-through rate, and this may be another rule marketers should apply to.
Local search rules the mobile world
Another important trend in mobile content marketing is local targeting and creating offers to suit the need of searches on the go. According to some surveys, almost half of mobile searches are local, meaning that people increasingly require instant and immediate information. When it comes to adjusting content marketing to local searches, there are several things a business can do.
Do local SEO
Probably the most efficient way to be displayed in a local search is to optimize keywords and on-site content to include location and drive organic traffic this way. To make your website perform well, you should consider your visitors’ intent and tailor the SEO strategy according to this.
Create localized offers
Localized offers can be a great way to convert mobile users who are looking for a specific piece of information in their immediate surroundings. Some of the tools that can help you understand what your prospects are trying to find are Google Trends or Google Alerts, which enable you to get an instant insight into what is currently trending in a particular region.
Promote local events
The best channels for event promotion are still social networks that allow targeting by interest and by location. Therefore, a local event is likely to bring you more clicks than anything else you may want to promote on social media.
Consider localized mobile advertising
Mobile advertising had its ups and downs in the digital world, but recent reports suggest it can be just the perfect strategy for attracting mobile users. For global brands, this frequently means translating content into multiple languages and is still a way to convert more prospects.
Obviously, there is a great potential in distributing content among locally targeted audiences and this makes sense given mobile users’ intents. Therefore, to do local marketing wisely, a company or a brand should come up with an offering that is creative enough to capture users’ attention and place it in front of the faces that need it most.
A look into the future: Wearables to take over?
Although wearable technology is still in its infancy, there are multiple indications of their future potential for both advertising and content creation industry. In a last year’s insightful thread about the marketing implications for 2014, the director of Digital and Media for Latin America at Millward Brown, Adriana Sousa warned about the growing use of wearable devices. She notes that this field is gradually creating media and advertising opportunities that would be a space of exploration for digital marketers over the next several years.
“The challenge will be developing a deep understanding of what consumers want from these new wearable screens so that brands can deliver something useful and relevant to their existing proposition,” says Sousa.
As opposed to smartphones and tablets that seemingly offer more content marketing opportunities, wearable technology is a trend that is yet to pose new challenges for professionals in the field. The year 2014 definitely saw notable advancement in the area and it may be expected that the development of wearable gadgets will continue at a similar pace. Therefore, even though wearables still haven’t made a significant impact onto the content marketing industry, chances are they would do so in the next several years.
To keep up with the trends, brands should start thinking about the ways they can tailor their messages to fit the amazingly small screens of wearable gadgets. Certainly, this will be a next frontier for content marketers, who should rethink their approaches and possibly develop some abbreviated content forms. In relation to this, INC’s Steve Sachs proposes three critical activities content marketers would be expect to carry out in future:
- – Deliver the kind of content that is both contextual and convenient, meaning that it is displayed where a user needs it most.
- – Focus on visuals to make use of the available (highly limited space) and rethink the content delivery strategy.
- – Use the data to anticipate users’ next move before it happens.
Looking at the trends discussed above, we may easily see the proportions of the change that is going on in the world of content marketing. However, given the rise of the new technologies, some notable developments are yet to take place. The frightening thing about this is that the mobile world only partly resembles that of desktop browsing, which is why most of the established techniques may soon become outdated.
This is what makes content marketing in the mobile era a challenging task; a task that requires constant redesign, readjustment and innovative data-driven decisions.