Engaging mobile consumers is about more than just optimising your mobile website

Since the start of this year, Google have been touting the imminent mobile-first update of their search index, which will treat the mobile versions of each site page as the primary pages to index. For brands who spend big in SEO, this means ensuring sites are mobile optimised in every way possible, not only addressing mobile format, functionality and speed, but in terms of site content also.

Legacy mobile sites can sometimes be “lite” versions of their parent counterparts, originally designed to be viewed on tablets or desktops but adapted to the mobile screen sometimes as an afterthought. This often means constant scrolling on mobile, and more detailed content is shown as simply very long areas of text, rather than being reworked specifically for the mobile screen. If brands don’t start treating their mobile sites with equal importance in terms of content and design, they may well miss out in terms of search impressions. And with the Google update looming, now is the time to give mobile sites the attention they deserve.

But putting mobile consumers first is not only about optimising your site for mobile. Advertisers need to make sure their ad strategy is just as mobile optimised, and purpose-built with this objective in mind. It must be a holistic approach. Channels and performance objectives should be looked at through a mobile-first lens, to determine what part they play in delivering a great experience to mobile consumers.

Mobile consumers themselves are largely channel agnostic. As long as their mobile experience is frictionless, they don’t care which channel they receive ad messages on. But in terms of channels, there are some which work better on the small screen than others, because of their format and user experience – and search, email and SMS are the strongest contenders here. It’s understandable that mobile display has not (yet) achieved the results it does on a desktop or tablet, when banner ads are usually not rendered in full on the mobile screen, and many consumers opt in to mobile display ad blocking services. In fact, most channels have a lot of catching up to do.

And email is now the most used channel on mobile, with 74% of mobile consumers stating that they prefer to receive brand offers via email over any other channel. This might be down to the fact that email is viewed as less disruptive, and therefore more controllable, to the mobile consumer.

Your favourite brand offers are there in your inbox, but you can view them when you choose to – unlike sms marketing messages which rely on interruptive communication to get the mobile consumer’s attention. Effective, but not suitable for every product or offer.

To be truly effective, a mobile-first marketing strategy needs to use multichannel touchpoints, which accurately reflect the mobile customer journey, deploying channels which will have the greatest impact at each stage, in order to engage consumers and drive interaction. And this needs to be followed through to purchase, with an understanding of mobile payments, and beyond. The mobile consumer experience must be as seamless and authentic to the brand, as it would be on any other device.

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