Your mobile device! In fact it’s more than that – a study says we touch our phones on average 2,617 times a day (think about every text you type, every email you write out and how many times you tap the screen).
Several years ago, the “mobile revolution” was a buzzword used throughout the digital marketing industry to, very accurately, describe the huge shift in online behaviours that was occurring from desktop to mobile. Once data plans became more affordable, and smartphone subscribers were able to do everything on their phones that they previously had to use a desktop for, mobile usage quickly caught up to, and took over desktop usage. Google has even announced in November 2016 that “Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.” Many businesses recognized that this ”mobile-first” shift in Google’s ranking system is driven by consumer behaviour and their move towards a preference for mobile over desktop, and that this was going to have a significant impact on their business marketing – in fact, it’s been predicted that world-wide, over $1 billion will be invested by 2021 into making the web mobile-first. Those businesses quickly jumped onto the fast-moving mobile train, but unfortunately, many businesses were left stranded at the station, confused by, or oblivious to the impact that mobile was going to have on their business operations.
Now, here we are in 2018. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that almost everyone prioritizes looking down at their phones instead of looking at what’s around them. On public transport, in busy cities, at home while watching TV, at the park with the kids – instead of looking at the traditional ads that so many business’ are spending their precious marketing dollars on, we are looking at our phones. eMarketer has been reporting on the decreasing revenue from traditional ad spend for years. In September 2017 they released a report stating that advertisers are concentrating more dollars on mobile, and that by 2021, mobile’s share of digital advertising in the US will rise to 79.2%. According to a survey by Cadent Consulting Group, consumer packaged-goods marketers spend more on digital than all forms of traditional advertising combined. It’s clear the shift to mobile is here to stay (which is obvious because I’m sure you wouldn’t be comfortable giving up your phone!).
Advances in mobile technology over the years have essentially enabled us to not only be 24/7 consumers, but also open to 24/7 advertising – a marketer’s dream! When we are lying in bed, just before we go to sleep with the newspaper down, the TV off, and the radio silenced, marketers can still reach us on the last thing we look at before we go to sleep, and the first thing we look at when we wake up! Throughout our entire day, we are open to advertising messages. For marketers, it’s about reaching consumers in their many mobile micro-moments throughout the day – that is, when they instinctively reach for their phone to solve a problem at any given time. What was the answer to that question? What was that recipe ingredient I needed? What is the weather forecast tomorrow? Can I find this item cheaper online? Being present online during these micro-moments is paramount to mobile marketing success.
As a side note, by no means I am suggesting that businesses should be ignoring all forms of traditional media as part of their advertising strategy. In fact, even though the demise of traditional advertising forms has been predicted and talked about for many years, it turns out that these are the forms of media that are still seen as the most credible by Canadians, however, this is likely to change as mobile becomes a more trusted form of advertising.
However, is that it is important to give full consideration to mobile advertising, and where it fits into your overall marketing strategy. Most businesses are looking for the biggest bang for their buck when it comes to advertising, and for some businesses, mobile marketing might not make sense just yet. It always comes back to who you are trying to reach, and where they are likely to be. Is your audience primarily millennials? If so, yes, no doubt about it, you must be on mobile, given that 94% of people aged 18-29 own a smartphone. Are you trying to reach an over 65 crowd? Conduct some research into how effective mobile marketing is going to be for you before investing large chunks of your budget to advertising that isn’t going to be seen. It’s more than likely, however, that your audience is going to be on mobile in some capacity, so finding where, when and how they behave on it will be the key to your mobile marketing success. Essentially, if you don’t have a mobile presence of some sorts, at the very minimum a mobile responsive website, you’re so late to the party, you might as well not even show up at this point.
The question still for many marketers is, however, how to best leverage mobile for their specific business? Here are a few tips to get you started:
Have a mobile optimized website.
This is a no-brainer. More than half of all website visits now come from mobile devices and if people can’t easily get the information they need from your site on a small screen, they will leave – in fact, 80% of consumers have reported leaving a site immediately if it was difficult to view on their phones. Make sure the key information is available on your site, such and address, opening hours and other key information. If you want to see if your website fits responsive design recommendations, you can use Google’s mobile friendly test. Your mobile site must load quickly as this is a key component of Google’s mobile ranking algorithm. Whatever you do, however, always put the user and their mobile experience first – a good user experience will keep site visitors happy which in turn will keep search engines happy.
Be visible in local mobile searches.
When someone conducts a Google search on a mobile device, while not always the case, they are likely to be on-the-go, needing something now. Think about a search for a restaurant – it’s quite possible you are looking for somewhere to go in the next hour. The listings on Google that are going to stand out the most will probably be those in the local pack, with good star ratings. Your business appears in these results after you create a Google My Business page and start getting people to review your business. People also conduct searches for something “near me”. In order for you to appear in those “near me” searches requires lots of emphasis on local content on your website will really make a difference.
Use some of the many apps, platforms and tools available to help market to your customers on mobile.
These range in price and what they offer, but ultimately, the goal of any app or tool should be to drive more customers for your business. For example, TextMagic is a text messaging service used to run and schedule personalized SMS marketing campaigns.
Promote your business to highly-targeted audiences.
Facebook advertising allows you to choose who to show ads to based on their location which makes targeting for small businesses extremely cost-effective. You could even consider working with a partner to run hyperlocal mobile ads, which take not only location into consideration, but also the time of the day, and the current environment. With hyperlocal advertising, you can even run ads for your business on the smartphones of consumers while they are in your competitor’s location!
Video should be part of your mobile marketing strategy.
This is especially true if you’re targeting a younger audience. And your videos must be visible on a mobile device first. In fact, many people would prefer to watch a video on their mobile rather than read small text, especially if they are on the go. Wordstream reports that a third of online activity is now spent watching video – so to get in front of this video hungry, mobile crowd, start filming! You can easily use your smartphone to record videos and even add filters to make it look more professional. You can speed it up, slow it down – really, the sky’s the limit. Not sure what to film? How about a time-lapse video of you performing a business function? Interview a customer. Make a photo montage. These simple, engaging videos can be uploaded to YouTube and shared on your website or uploaded directly to social media. With Facebook Live you can capture immediate interest in your business. The options with video are endless, as long as you’re willing to experiment.
Think about it, if on average people are touching their smartphones over 2500 times a day, as a business owner or marketer you have to be looking for ways to show up in your future customers palms – every day!
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