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3 Mobile Marketing Trends You Can't Afford To Ignore

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

You might want to sit down when reading this next sentence. The majority of your consumers are, or soon will be smartphone owners. Ok I am being quite sarcastic but that line, which I borrowed from the Forrester report The Path To Mobile Marketing Mastery, is all too true yet somehow I am not convinced the majority of marketers are aware of it. 

Hard to believe, I know. 

Here's some stats to drive this point home even further, courtesy of the same Forrester report. 

  • 70% of the US population uses a smartphone.
  • 59% of these smartphone users expect companies to make their websites mobile-friendly.
  • Another 43% expect companies to have a mobile app.
  • 59% feel frustrated and annoyed when they go to a website that is not mobile-friendly. 

None of these should surprise anyone reading this, quite frankly.

The plain and simple truth is mobile has finally delivered on the promise of keeping customers connected to the brand - anytime, anyplace. Mobile is all about micro-moments: interactions that consumers expect to be fast, relevant, and frictionless - which makes the quality, relevance, and usefulness of marketing more important than ever in mobile. 

Marketers need to build experiences that are contextual and reflect the immediate needs of the mobile customer.

Ok now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the general directions in which something is developing or changing otherwise known as the trends in mobile marketing, specifically the 3 I highlight in this post. 

Each are becoming more and more ubiquitous which tells you how important they are - in other words those you cannot ignore should ignore. 

1. Mobile DMP

Depending on what research you refer to, the amount of emails being opened on a mobile device can be anywhere 50%, 60% or even higher. And that raw number of emails opened on a mobile device is surely only increasing and will continue to do so. What this all means of course is there is no shortage of data being created hence the need - the vital need for a mobile data management platform a.k.a a mobile DMP.

First things first though and that is explaining just what a mobile DMP is. 

A mobile DMP is a centralized platform that ingests, organizes, and segments an advertiser’s first- and third-party mobile and desktop audience data assets in one place for audience creation, analytics, and execution. Brands use mobile DMPs to:

  • Build sophisticated audience segments across first- and third-party data for precision at scale.
  • Create, optimize, and activate cross-platform mobile and web campaigns for consistent messaging across all consumer touch points.
  • Leverage deep mobile integrations to send audience data to top execution platforms and power targeted mobile in-app, web, and video advertising.
  • Connect audience interactions across mobile and desktop touch points to provide the most cohesive customer experience anywhere, and track response and actions across various screens and channels.
  • Generate robust audience analytics to get deep actionable insights into your mobile audience composition and in-market behaviors. 

Take Control

Mobile data management platforms allow brands to take control of their ever-growing mobile advertising programs. Mobile advertising offers a huge opportunity to capture consumers’ immediate location-based, in-the-moment interests. Customized mobile advertising, when done effectively, delivers extremely high brand engagement and conversion rates. 

The most sophisticated mobile DMPs allow marketers to integrate mobile campaigns with wider digital and offline advertising initiatives to improve cross-channel targeting. For example, a brand could target a consumer on her smartphone after she takes an action on her laptop PC, or target a user on his PC after he visited a retail store (as captured by his mobile device), and then track conversion across devices. 

What Can a DMP Do For You?

The right mobile DMP offers untold advantages to brands looking to improve customer acquisition and brand reach across multiple mobile devices. Here is a quick checklist of questions to ask a mobile DMP provider:

  • Can you capture and analyze intent, geolocation, and purchase behavior across multiple types of devices and mobile operating systems?
  • Does it support advanced and cross-channel targeting? Specifically, can your platform enable targeting of users on their smartphones for actions they performed on their PCs, or target users on PCs after they physically walk into retail stores with their smartphones?
  • Can you track conversions across devices and measure the impact of audiences, ad frequency, creative, and other campaign features on conversion across channels?
  • Can you manage and track campaigns across channels—mobile web, mobile apps, web, and in-store? Can you link mobile payment information with user actions to get closed loop feedback?
  • Does your technology use a well-rounded approach to mobile user data collection that addresses both cookie-based and cookie-less environments? 

2. Mobile App Engagement

The act of engaging with a customer or buyer is hardly a new concept. Nor is the inherent need to do so in order to achieve success. Companies initially had control of the relationship because they controlled the information. When consumers received the advantage of online access, they took the lead. But the terms of engagement have changed again. Because of the mobile app, the power has shifted back to the marketing department.

Mobile apps provide a unique opportunity for marketers to capture a wealth of valuable incoming data on customer behavior. By tracking messages and interaction times, devices, platforms, and situations that generate the most engagement, marketers are empowered to deliver timely and relevant messages, thus increasing conversion rates.

Apps = Main Digital Interaction

John Russell, former VP of Harley-Davidson put it so succinctly when he said: “The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” Given the fact there are now more mobile devices on the planet than there are human beings, it’s pretty obvious that engaging with customers via mobile should be a priority.

Consider this staggering statistic: 90% of a consumer’s time while on a mobile device is done so via an app. And according to Gartner: “Consumers see mobile apps as their main digital interaction with their favorite brands.”

For the most part, mobile apps were built and managed by an app developer. Brands or businesses would contract directly with the developer or through an agency to build an app, with the marketer serving only in an advisory role at best.

Once the app was created, the marketer then relied on the app developer to make any changes—oftentimes waiting to see those changes come to fruition. Furthermore, those delays led directly to a loss of valuable marketing opportunities and in turn had a negative effect on the customer experience. 

Apps Are the Preferred Choice

In addition to the aforementioned stat that 90% of a consumer’s time while on a mobile device is done so via an app, here are even more reasons why you need a mobile app strategy and the right platform or model to support it.

According to a global study of smartphone/tablet users who also use an app, 85% of respondents preferred mobile apps to mobile websites with the top reasons being that apps are:

  • Perceived as more convenient: 55%
  • Seen as faster: 48%
  • Easier to browse: 40%

Moreover incorporating personalization into mobile messaging via an app has a significant effect on engagement with one study noting a 200% increase in conversions over the use of general messaging. Now that’s power. But despite the potential, mobile app engagement isn’t always so simple. There are a lot of moving parts—mobile moving parts that marketers need to address. And these mobile moving parts can very often carry problems or challenges such as app abandonment. 

However with the right platform, marketers can engage or re-engage users on mobile apps with Push notifications. Deliver highly targeted push campaigns to bring back less engaged users who have been absent from the app for days, weeks or months.

3. Mobile Optimization

Whether your mobile product is new or established in the market, it is a best practice to adopt a mobile-first design to give users an optimal experience on their phones and tablets. A product with a mobile-first design can fulfill all of its core functionalities on a mobile device, guiding mobile users on a journey optimized for their devices. 

It’s never too late or too early to start thinking mobile-first. It’s best to be early, as this reduces the number of users who may be discouraged from exploring your site and converting after a suboptimal experience. But even late in the product life cycle, adopting a mobile-first mentality can strengthen your offering by exposing it to new potential customers and setting it up for future success.

Want to be mobile-first? Here are some tips for optimizing customer experience away from the desktop. 

Evaluate Drop-Off

One common issue with mobile products is users can sometimes be unwilling to go through the whole sales funnel. This usually happens when products deliver a bad mobile experience, which frustrates people so much they either restart the checkout process on a desktop or abandon the process altogether, not even bothering to switch platforms.

If and when users abandon the funnel, companies have to discover the cause. A good starting point is site or application analytics, which can reveal drop-off points. When the most common drop-off points come before the confirmation page, you should consider building a more mobile-friendly design to improve customer experience from start to finish.

Focus on Core Functionalities

Just because the desktop version of a website or application delivers x, y, and z doesn’t mean the mobile version has to deliver x, y, and z in a mobile-friendly form. Desktop customer experiences are by nature more expansive. There are natural differences between desktop and mobile that companies and developers must simply accept and take into account. Not every desktop feature will translate well to mobile. Some won’t translate at all. Since phones and tablets have smaller screens than desktops, you’ll have to determine the core functionalities of your website or application and focus on bringing those over to mobile. 

Test Your Elements: Desktop Versus Mobile

To better understand what desktop elements will work well on mobile, conduct an A/B test. Version A, the control, can have only primary features, and Version B, the challenger, can have a new feature translated from desktop to mobile. If this new feature tests well enough against your goals and doesn’t detract from user engagement, feel free to include it in your mobile product. 

To learn more about mobile testing, download the Mobile Testing Guide For Modern Marketers

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