There's no denying the irrefutable statistics which show that we have entered a mobile future which is set to grow. Many believe that 2009 to 2012 was the era for social media, and that now, 2013 to 2015 heralds a new era driven by mobile.
Latest stats and forecasts for the year ahead from the IDC provide serious food for thought for our future marketing planning and the technological developments required to support a mobile marketing strategy.
- UK has the third greatest number of active iOS and Android devices (35 million)
- More than half of emails will be opened through a mobile device
- 74% of mobile users use their devices to check their email
- Mobile devices will become the most common web access tool, passing PC's
- Adults spend more time on mobile media than reading newspapers and magazines combined
- 3 out of every 5 searches are conducted on a mobile device
- 9 out of 10 mobile phone searches result in a purchase or visit
- We interact on our mobile device 40-80 times a day on average
- 42.8% of marketing executives planned on increasing their mobile marketing budget in 2013
- Out of the six billion people in the world, 4.8 own a form of mobile device, while only 4.2 own a toothbrush
It's clear that the mobile market is bigger than ever before and continues to grow rapidly, but many businesses are still not fully aware of the impact of a mobile world, as well as the breadth of opportunities it will offer.
When preparing your marketing plan for the new year, make room for a mobile strategy. Here are a number of areas to think about:-
Aim to understand the digital behaviour of your prospects and customers better through regular analysis of your social media, emarketing and website analytics. Tools to do this include Google Analytics which is free, your email service provider or in-house platform reports, and using a tool such as Sprout Social for your social media activity.
From these you can gauge a great deal of highly valuable information; from monitoring the growth in numbers accessing your business via mobile devices to identifying content interests through email click rates, to time of day usage. This data can also help you to shape your broader Customer Journey Map and in identifying the touchpoints and triggers that engage your customers (and prospects) with your business.
Monitor relevant data to help develop marketing and customer service opportunities, as part of an overall marketing strategy to drive a better customer experience across all channels, including mobile. By learning how best to engage with customers wherever they are, businesses can benefit from increased ROI and a happier customer base by including mobile in their marketing strategy.
Understanding current engagement from mobile devices allows for prioritisation of web development. Taking note of the facts that 37% of consumers believe a majority of mobile sites are difficult to browse and, that if your mobile site isn't working correctly, 46% of those who visited your site will never return, means that businesses need to seriously consider the options available for optimising their website and email design for mobile.
Options include responsive design, which allows your website or email to render according to the size of the screen for different browsers, or creating a 'mobile site', a separate mobile version of your website where 'one design fits all' whatever the device. Although the costlier option, responsive design is generally considered to be the better option due to faster loading speeds, dealing with just one link as opposed to two, and Google and Bing both prefer it. It's worth getting your designer's advice as options will depend on your objectives, budget and the nature of your business.
Working with Apps
- Augmented Reality
There are some new and exciting ways businesses can extend the value of their traditional print or digital advertising, offering an interactive and dynamic brand experience through augmented reality apps such as Blippar and Aurasma. These free apps (which need to be downloaded first onto a smartphone) simply require the customer to use their smartphone camera, pointed at an advert or print material that includes the logo for these applications. They are taken into an interactive world beyond the print. To see this in action, download the Blippar app and point your camera at a bottle of Heinz ketchup at home - see what happens!
Meanwhile businesses can still make use of the trusty QR code, which offers a more limited experience but still provides a linked journey from a piece of print to a website or landing page.
- Think Local
Research by Localeze, 15 Miles and comScore, shows that 50% of smartphone and tablet owners are using apps to find local information. Furthermore, Google Mobile Search Moments study reveals that 40% of mobile searches have local intent. So it is key to consider local queries within your SEO strategy; in other words ensuring you include a local SEO strategy, as well as fully understanding the opportunities that GPS-driven apps can offer your business.
A study from JiWire's Mobile Audience Insights indicates that as mobile users become more open to sharing their location via mobile devices, they are also more receptive to receiving ads and mobile coupons relevant to the location they are in. Over 50% of respondents said they wanted to receive location-based advertising, with mobile coupons a more appealing incentive than a mere 'check-in'. Apps like Google Maps were rated highest followed by Yelp, Facebook and Foursquare. IDC stats can back this up with the fact that 31% of all mobile users have activated Foursquare and now use it regularly.
As a basis businesses should ensure that they are included on Google+ Local and Google Maps, and make sure that a clear address and telephone number is on their website as text rather than within an image, so details can be found by search engines.
- Build your own
There are many mobile apps available, offering information, education, functionality or sheer entertainment. Many companies are using mobile apps to boost their brand awareness and customer engagement. Before you consider if this is the right approach for your business, you must have a thorough understanding of your audience. The best way to use apps is to create something that is useful, valuable and functional. You can also choose to offer your app free or consider commercialising it, depending on the value of its use.
Many businesses use SMS marketing; which is most effective for sending out alerts, confirmations or reminders for events or services customers have signed up to. Most email service providers will offer an SMS service, or it can be further functionality added to an existing in-house email system.
IDC's study states that 75% of mobile users use their device for shopping. And, according to a recent post from eConsultancy, m-commerce is expected to generate 16% of all online sales by the end of this year, a 68% increase on 2012.
Nowadays consumers want immediate consumption, as a result of leading a fast-paced, 'on the go' lifestyle. A website that includes a payment process should aim to make this experience direct, simple, and quick. This applies to both PC and mobile users, but is especially important for mobile users as they want to complete their transaction with the least amount of effort and time. You are likely to lose customers along the way if they cannot access a fast and simple way to make their purchase.
According to a new report into ‘showrooming’ 40% of UK shoppers now use a smartphone while in-store. And, data from the new Econsultancy/BuyDesire Mobile Marketing and Commerce Report finds that although 67% of companies acknowledge that the number of customers using smartphones in-store is increasing, only 11% believe that showrooming poses a threat to their business.
Showrooming is when a buyer visits a shop to view a product but then makes the purchase online at home. While many people still prefer seeing and touching products they buy, many items are available at lower prices through online shops. Local stores in effect become showrooms for online shoppers.
The IDC study also reveals that 80% of retailers will invest in mobile commerce over the coming year. John Lewis is one of these forerunners, implementing a mobile strategy that includes provision of wi-fi for their customers. John Lewis' Head of Online Delivery and Customer Experience, Sean O'Connor, has said. "Showrooming is an opportunity. We encourage customers to test our price commitment and adding wi-fi to our shops makes it easy for them to do so."
He further adds "Wi-fi has proved very popular with our customers. We have seen really good usage and from the feedback we have received it is helping the customer journey as they access our mobile site. The dwell time for customers has increased within our catering facilities whilst customers use our free wi-fi. Our role is to ensure we are set up to meet that demand and that's why we have set ourselves out as an omnichannel business."
You don't need to go crazy and do everything at once. Developments will depend on the nature of your business, existing technological infrastructure and your budget. But if you start the ball rolling with just one or two of these areas now, you will be better positioned to start getting your business ready to compete in a mobile future.
You will also need to consider a specific mobile budget, to phase developments over time, and decide what aspects you can achieve in-house or identify to out-source.
So what's next for business? We don't know much yet about wearable devices, such as smart watches, or Google Glass, but it makes for an exciting future where the business landscape will undoubtedly shift further. If you have any advice or thoughts about this new 'era' for business, let us know in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you! * * *
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