By 2019, mobile advertising is expected to represent 72% of all U.S. digital ad spending - a clear indication of mobile's dominance in the ad space.
As mobile continues to increase its popularity amongst marketers and customers alike, global brands have been quick to take advantage of today's increased level of smartphone screen time - 20% of U.S. millennials check their smartphones at least 10 times per hour, and a quarter admit to doing so every 15 minutes - and are targeting consumers through an optimized website and mobile-centric campaigns.
With mobile proving so popular amongst consumers, marketing teams need to know how to engage and influence effectively in the space and integrate a mobile-first strategy into their marketing efforts.
The Perils of Poor Mobile Optimization
Before we go into the ways to optimize, let's explore the results of a poor mobile strategy.
A key thing to bear in mind when devising and optimizing one is to remember your audience. Many campaigns have fallen to the wayside by overlooking the customer in terms of engagement and method. For marketing departments keen to tap into the smartphone market, a CMO survey found that spending on mobile marketing was set to increase 160% over the next three years.
Despite the growing popularity of mobile, the survey discovered that mobile campaigns have enjoyed limited success. When interviewed and asked to rate their company's mobile efforts from one (poor) to seven (excellent), many subjects confirmed only customer engagement scored above the halfway mark, whereas delivering a brand message, customer acquisition, customer retention, sales and profits all fell below average.
Two of the major reasons for this come down to the fact that some marketers’ mobile campaigns were too convoluted, therefore, driving customers away, as well as a tendency to fit all existing website content onto a smaller screen, rather than optimizing it to work with mobile devices.
So what are the key optimization strategies that have proven successful and how have brands capitalized on them?
Mobile Optimization Strategies
Salesforce's State of Marketing report found that nearly half of marketers used some kind of mobile marketing (SMS, push notifications, mobile apps, etc.) compared with just 23% the previous year. Two of the five key areas where marketers planned to invest money were location-based mobile tracking and mobile applications. Mobile loyalty campaigns are the most popular mobile marketing activity, while SMS promotions slightly lower in order of importance (but are still critical, nonetheless).
To ensure a flawless user experience, customer loyalty and long-term success, it is imperative to have a business that is fully optimized for mobile. Here are 6 key elements to consider when optimizing for mobile success:
Cross-channel promotion: Mobile offers a host of opportunities to increase your subscriber list organically, through other customer interactions such as email, in-store and online checkout, and even social media. For example, according to a study by Visual.ly, the average email click-through rate is 4.2%, for SMS, it's 19%.
SMS coupons: Did you know? Four out of five consumers use their smartphones to shop. That means there's never been a better time to offer potential customers SMS-based coupons. Not only will this help raise brand awareness, but it will also provide value to a consumer and help drive conversions.
QR codes: It may have been around for over a decade, but last year, the QR code witnessed a 22% increase among consumers. Whether it's for payments, coupons, ticket codes or anything of the like, the QR provides a quick, satisfying and seamless user experience.
Apple Passbook: Passbook is popular, and it offers a simple solution for accessing coupons, tickets, gift cards and loyalty cards through a mobile device - a priceless gateway for getting customers acquainted with mobile payments and coupons.
Geo or location based tagging: Geo-tagging is an effective way of delivering targeted messages such as time and location-specific offers. A recent study from Google confirmed that almost half of women would disclose their location if offered a $5 store credit, while 83% would opt-in for a $25 credit.
Optimized emails: 53% of email campaigns have been opened on a mobile, which is why it's so important to ensure marketing emails are optimized for such devices. Thinking about subject lines, making sure images sit on screen correctly and keeping copy concise are all ways of yielding greater success from your marketing emails on mobile.
Alongside website optimization for mobile, applications provide another avenue (and a fruitful one at that) for organizations wanting to engage with customers in innovative ways.
The Success Stories
According to Statista, it is projected that consumers will download 74.7 billion mobile apps to their devices by 2021. This means that mobile apps are on the rise and businesses are wising up to their potential. For IKEA, Halifax and Nike, clever mobile campaigns proved a powerful tool to attracting and engaging new and existing customers.
Swedish flat-pack furniture giant IKEA harnessed the capabilities of mobile by creating an app, which transformed its catalogue into a fully-fledged interactive platform. By scanning pictures via the app, extra features were uncovered, which include DIY tips and stories behind many of the company’s most iconic products.
What's more, the app allows customers to place individual products in their rooms virtually by using input from their device's camera and overlaying the product. This quirky and practical innovation earned IKEA 6.2 million installs, becoming the number one downloaded marketing app for a brand. Also, users spent an average of 8 minutes with the app compared to just 3 with the catalogue.
The Home Finder app from Halifax demonstrates that offering customers a useful service is usually the best way to engage them.
The app is primarily a research tool for property hunters, which combines Zoopla data with augmented reality and an easy to use mortgage calculator. Through this application, Halifax has accrued over 20 million unique users and allowed the company to showcase its mortgage products to an audience it would not otherwise have reached.
The + Move app from colossal sports brand Nike is a running and workout app, but with a virtual personal trainer and an accelerometer built-in. By adding extra dimensions to their fitness app, Nike managed to increase its brand reach and popularity among the running community, becoming a staple when it comes to mobile-based health and fitness, in addition to sneakers and sportswear.
It’s plain to see from the business successes and increase in usage that mobile is on the rise. And for businesses, there’s never been a more crucial time to get it right. Failure is not an option: optimize your mobile marketing efforts, take heed of the latest innovations, acquire the right skills and you're on the way to earning the commercial success you deserve.
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