By 2014 the number of mobile web users is projected to surpass the number of desktop web users. And those mobile users have specific needs and biases that you have to consider in your marketing.
All those mobile users are becoming the single largest group of people visiting your website.
You may already be seeing some of this macro shift in use today. Check your web analytics and you’ll likely find between 5% and 20% of your traffic is from mobile users.
By now you’ve probably seen a graph like this showing the growth in mobile web use:
In this article we’ll cover at a high level 3 critical use cases essential for every marketer to understand:
- Mobile email
- Mobile search
- Mobile social media
So what consequences will the shift of web traffic have on your:
1. Mobile Email
Mobile email exhibits many of the same characteristics and biases of desktop email usage, but amplified. You want to follow all the best usability and accessibility rules.
- Be brief. Short wins. Screens are small and each line is valuable. Get your message as high up in the email as possible and keep it short.
- Be somebody. Desktop and web-based email treats the 3 key parts of the email message with equal weight. Not so in mobile email clients. iPhones show the sender name most prominently. Most Android devices show the subject most prominently. In both cases, there is little or no preview pane to see the message body. So be somebody with a recognisable name in the From: field, and…
- Be specific. Your subject line is key to getting your message opened, so use it effectively. Keep it to less than 30 characters (with spaces). Make it a promise of what can be found in the message body.
- Be basic. In your email format, consider sending plain text email. This is especially true for system emails – account activations, password retrievals, alerts – anything you need to get into people’s hands and read. In addition, graphics at the top of an email push the message down out of sight, creating friction for people to get to the point of your message.
As marketers we often want to make it pretty so we opt for HTML. We often want to tell people a lot. On mobile, both those practices will fall flat in most situations.
Key Thought: Email on a mobile device competes with SMS for messaging efficiency and for the user’s attention. “OMG you don’t have 2 b perf. natch”, but please remember that people are very happy receiving and sending plain text messaging.
2. Mobile Search
The #2 activity online after email? Search. That’s true on desktop and it’s true on mobile.
The widely accepted current number across search engines, locations and industry categories is that today, 10 to 15 per cent of searches are from mobile, and growing every day.
Search is a core part of every mobile web user’s experience, same as on desktop. But search on mobile is also different than search on desktop, in important ways that affect your marketing.
Whether you’re running a multimillion dollar PPC campaign on AdWords or you’re optimising for organic search traffic and inbound leads, here are a few of the ways search on mobile is different than search on desktop.
- Locality: Mobile searchers have a higher tendency to be doing searches with a local intent. How much higher? That’s up for debate, but we can guess between 20% and 53% of mobile searches have a local intent. People are seeking things around them. If you’ve got local content or content that can be localised, optimise it for mobile.
- Focused: Mobile searchers are task focused and specific in their intentions. On both the dominant platforms, Android and iPhone, the length of the average keyword search is over 4.5 words – roughly double the average length of keywords on desktops. People are seeking specific things.
- Timeliness: Mobile searchers are searching and looking for immediate gratification. Google reports how mobile search volumes increase throughout the day and peak at 8 or 9 pm, while desktop search volume mirrors hours spent at work and tablet search volume is low during the day and spikes in the evening.
- Inaccurate: Mobile searchers are more prone to misspellings than desktop searchers. Do you include misspellings in your campaigns and in your optimization? They can be a great, untapped source of new traffic.
Key Thought: If paid and organic search traffic is a key driver of your business you need to be ready to serve mobile devices because people are already searching on mobile today and more will be searching on mobile tomorrow.
3. Mobile Social Media
While not as many people participate in social media on mobile, those who do participate do it a lot. In fact, social media participation is the #1 activity on mobile in terms of time spent engaged.
Mobile Web: While both Facebook and Twitter have apps for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry, the majority of their traffic is mobile web traffic through a web browser. If we look at some sample numbers for posting to Facebook, 57% of posting is from the mobile web, 14% from Android and 13% from iPhone and Blackberry.
Girls Rule: With the exception of LinkedIn, women are the dominant users of the top 10 social networks on both mobile and desktop. This doesn’t mean you have to wrap your marketing in pink bows. It means you have to give women credible things to care about with the people they care about.
Sharing the Love: Are you helping people share your links across platforms? Have a clean and consistent URL structure. Have client detection technology so you can provide mobile users with a mobile site and desktop users with a desktop site. Make the links do the hard work so when people do share your site they have a great experience and can pass on the sharing.
Each of these topics – mobile email, mobile search and mobile social media –deserves a full post or book on their own. The pace of change we see in the world as marketers is incredibly fast and accelerating every day.
Consumers are connecting to your website when they want, through the habits they have and with whatever devices they want.
So do your own experiment, learn your own lesson and trust your own experience.
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