THE CUT

MARCH 2014
MOBILE MADNESS

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If you've been waiting for the year of mobile--forget about it--we are officially declaring this the Mobile Century. Internet usage on mobile devices now exceeds that of fixed machines, global mobile ad sales will top $20 billion this year and ads on tablets now convert at a higher rate than laptops.

For marketers, the implications of a mobile universe are far-reaching. Growing mobile device usage impacts not only how customers search, evaluate, purchase, engage with and get serviced but also how companies recruit, retain and communicate with employees. Not thinking "mobile first" is sheer madness.

Madness #1: Not Having a Mobile-Friendly Website

If your website wasn't built with "responsive design," it's time for an update. Responsive design, for the uninitiated, means coding your website such that it adjusts to the viewing device. The alternative approach is to create dedicated mobile devices (m. or .mobi), which is particularly important for mobile commerce and customer service sites.

Madness #2: Not Having a Mobile Search Plan

If you thought Google ads were powerful on desktops, they could be ten times more so on mobile. Mobile searches often include a sense of urgency that leads to an immediate action (finding a restaurant or hotel or supplier or bathroom!). And the good news here is that Google makes it easy for you to test the impact of mobile ads on your business. That said, don't even bother if your site isn't mobile friendly.

Madness #3: Not Adjusting Your Social Content for Mobile

Well over half of Facebook viewing now happens on mobile devices, giving marketers a mere six seconds to make an impression or be "flicked." Arresting images have a lot more stopping power than clever words, as do videos with a great key frame. Contests that only work via Facebook desktop apps should be avoided from here on out.

Madness #4: Not Thinking About an App for Your Customers

Although the app market is extremely crowded (over 100 billion apps will be downloaded this year alone!), marketers should still look for opportunities to deliver genuine utility to their customers via mobile apps. If P&G can do it for Charmin with their amusing yet useful Sit or Squat toilet-finding app, surely you too can take the plunge.

Madness #5: Not Adapting Your Writing for Mobile Consumption

Like it or not, we now live in a world of bite-sized copy nuggets as perfected by the likes of BuzzFeed, Mashable and HuffPo. Email newsletters like this one are quite likely being read on a mobile device and as such, need to be short and sweet, delivering a few pithy points in 500 words or less which is why we'll wrap this up right here.

Final note: For more on mobile advertising specifically, be sure to see Drew’s interview with mobile expert Webster Lewin.

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