Many studies have demonstrated that smartphone adoption is increasing at a very rapid rate, and that mobile technologies have opened new sales and marketing channels that can outperform traditional “wired” efforts. Although mobile is still an emerging channel with evolving practices, consumers gravitate to brands with optimized mobile experiences; great mobile experiences resonate with consumers and can greatly benefit brand favorability. The opposite is also true, though – poor mobile experiences can negatively impact a brand’s perception and turn consumers away. All brands must therefore invest the proper time, energy, and resources into making the most of their mobile opportunity.
Following these four steps before launching a mobile initiative will help brands position themselves for success and a greater return on investment (ROI).
Step 1: Plan
Mobile touches many parts of the consumer journey, which means context can vary greatly between individuals. Therefore, mobile initiatives of any type – whether they are app development, paid marketing campaigns (i.e., search and display), or otherwise (augmented reality, e.g.) – need to be carefully planned. For brands, this means considering the consumer journey and the brand’s value within each phase of the journey. Good questions to ask at the start of the planning process include:
- Who is the intended audience (i.e., demographics)?
- In what context(s) will consumers look for you?
- What assets/technology are needed (e.g., mobile creative, optimized landing pages, tracking code)?
- What marketing assets are appropriate for the audience/initiative (e.g., rich media, local search listing, click-to-call, iAd)?
- How will performance be measured, and with what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
With answers to these questions (among others) in hand, brands should have clearer direction for creating or building mobile campaigns/experiences.
Step 2: Create
Once mobile plans have been laid out, brands should aim to create a rich experience around them. Modern mobile devices provide an unprecedented environment in which truly unique experiences can be built. This goes beyond making sure a site “works” in mobile browsers or if a repurposed HTML5 ad can render for iOS users, and really considers how to make the experience engaging. Mobile rich media units offer shopping capabilities, in-ad videos, in-ad games and so on; enriched experiences can similarly be built into mobile websites to make them seem like native applications.
At a minimum, mobile content should be accessible, load quickly, and context-appropriate (i.e., for in-store traffic, consumers on-the-go or at home, etc.) – balancing functionality with design can be very powerful for brands launching mobile projects to help drive conversions or engagement.
Step 3: Market
After creating assets, the next step is to drive awareness and get users to interact. Mobile marketing methods can leverage abilities not available for desktop ads, such as hyper-local geo-targeting, augmented reality, accelerometers, and touch gestures. Mobile ad units now equip brands with the tools needed to reach consumers throughout the day with a compelling experience capable of promoting a number of actions: drive to web, download an app, visit a store, call a number, and so on. The right types of ads and calls-to-action should be considered during the planning process but incremental budgets are generally recommended for mobile marketing so they can create these rich features tailored for mobile users. These mobile ads can be flighted and analyzed independently for a clearer understanding of how well they performed.
Step 4: Analyze
Analyzing campaign performance is very important. A significant amount of data is available to digital marketers given proper planning, and mobile is no exception. After carefully planning, creating and marketing mobile initiatives, understanding performance metrics will empower brands with the information needed to build successful future campaigns. Tagging assets (apps, ads, etc.) to collect analytics information can be difficult at times, but having this information available for analysis is of paramount importance for future mobile efforts. A number of different analytics suites are available to help obtain this traffic data, such as Google Analytics, depending on the type of information needed. Having this information available will arm brands with extremely valuable data to identify failures and successes.
Towards the end of 2011, there were nearly 6 billion mobile phones in use worldwide accounting for about 10% of all Internet usage worldwide. These figures are only expected to grow. Brands cannot afford to ignore these statistics and miss out on reaching their customers on their mobile devices. Entering the mobile space can seem daunting, and many will be quick to repurpose existing assets for mobile efforts. This is a short-term solution that ignores a long-term trend. Brands should take a moment to plan, execute and monitor strategies that consider the consumer journey holistically. This is the surest way to improve performance and ROI.