Consumer behavior rapidly evolved towards the use of mobile devices. Therefore, the world of digital marketing has capitalized on the concept of mobile over the last few years. Digital platforms are evolving too, from Facebook’s monetisation strategy to Google AdWords’ Enhanced Campaigns. Google Analytics is also showing the way by allowing much more advanced “device” tracking than what was previously available. A new app specific tracking interface has been developed, and Universal Analytics is based on the idea that people go online via multiple devices, including mobile.
So consumers and platforms are evolving fast. What about marketers? In order to better understand the concept of mobile and what it means for the digital marketer, let’s look at some data and ask ourselves a few questions. For the sake of this article, the term mobile will be used for devices that can be used on the go, including smartphones, phablets and tablets.
Mobile is happening now !
The share of mobile traffic (tablet & mobile combined) has evolved greatly in the last 5 years. From a mere percent in 2010 to a couple of percents in 2011, it passed the 10% benchmark in 2012. In the fall of 2013, we reported that mobile traffic in Belgium had reached a 12% share. Mobile share has continued to increase since. Depending on the industry, Q4 of 2013 has pushed mobile traffic over 15%, and up to 25% for some.
The internet usage reporting website How We Browse reports that the average share of mobile traffic in Belgium is getting close to 20% since March 2014.
What does this mean for you?
Let’s forget about digital marketing for a minute. These numbers show that the way people consume online content is evolving. Daily tablet and smartphone usage is no longer reserved to the geeks, those devices are becoming everyday objects. The increase of mobile traffic is only proportional to the increasing penetration of these relatively new devices in our society.
Let’s also keep in mind that a growth in mobile traffic does not necessarily mean a decline in desktop traffic. Surfing from the sofa, the subway or the grocery store is a new behavior in our ever more connected lifestyle.
That being said, the main thing to remember is that 15% to 25% of a site’s traffic comes from a mobile device. You simply cannot neglect one quarter of your traffic.
What should you do about it?
As an online marketer, don’t fool yourself by thinking that mobile isn’t for you because it does not convert.
It is true that conversion rates tend to be - much - lower on mobile devices, and this has a direct impact on your marketing budget. For example, if I spend €1000 on SEA campaigns targeting desktop computers, with an average CPC of €0.5 and average conversion rate of 2%, I can expect 40 conversions. If 25% of my traffic comes from mobile devices, with an optimistic average conversion rate of 1%, the same budget only gets me 35 conversions.
But wait, so why should you invest in mobile then? Because it is probably your fault if the numbers are so negative. Few websites have been well adapted to accommodate mobile browsing. Responsive design has too often been considered as the one solution fits all. This trend fortunately seems to be over as people realize that, while useful in many cases, responsive design isn’t appropriate to every mobile strategy. Beyond design, badly adapted tools, features and payment methods are often responsible for bad mobile performance. The solution: invest in a mobile platform that is adapted and works for your products or services.
Alright, maybe it isn’t all your fault. Customers might engage with your products and services on mobile devices when they are not yet ready to complete the desired action (purchase, sign-in, download, …). The important thing will then be to understand the customer behavior in regards to your business. Are your mobile visitors wasting time while in transit? Are they comparing prices while in brick and mortar stores? Are they seeking inspiration for their next vacation? A smart marketer will try to answer to these questions by tracking and analysing online and mobile behavior. With cross-device and universal analytics, web analytics is getting better everyday.
5 concrete tips for your mobile strategy
- Begin by comparing your mobile stats with the trends in your market/country. If they are low, it can indicate a missed opportunity.
- Don’t underestimate the need for an appropriate mobile friendly solution or you will simply lose an ever increasing chunk of your potential business.
- Use available advanced targeting methods for your digital marketing.
- Use appropriate tracking to your advantage. And remember that collecting data is useless if you don’t invest time into analysing it. Learn or surround yourself with experts who can help you.
- Beat the competition to it. Developing mobile solutions and targeted advertising costs time and money, but you will need to get there eventually. Depending on your market or industry, it might still be possible to beat the competition to it.
written by Julien Cornet