Make Your Marketing Great Again — Adopt A Mobile-First Strategy

Smartphones have taken over. Almost anywhere you go you’ll find people with their eyes glued to their phones. What’s more, the days of using your phone simply as a communication tool are long gone. Now, people use their mobile devices to conduct research, watch videos, play games, get directions, and shop.

Consider the following:

  • 207.2 million Americans own smartphones. This number expected to rise to 236.8 million by 2019.
  • Adults in the U.S. now spend significantly more time with digital media using mobile as opposed to desktop (51% of the total time versus 42%).
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  • 90% of consumers have used their mobile devices in stores while shopping to compare prices, look up product information, check online reviews, or search for coupons or deals.
  • The percentage of consumers who consult with three or more channels, often while in the midst of shopping, has risen significantly from just 10% in 2002 to 40% in 2015.
  • In 2015, m-commerce sales accounted for 29.7% of total e-commerce sales in the U.S., which is up from 24.6% in 2014.
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Mobile friendliness represents the future of digital marketing. So if marketers want to remain on the cutting edge of CRO, adopting a mobile-first strategy (not mobile only) is a must.

Following Google’s Lead

When it comes to the question of how can I stay up-to-date on trends and technology developments, allow Google adaptations to serve as your forecaster.

“Of the ever increasing number of searches run on Google every day, more than half are made from a mobile device,” reports HigherVisibility. Accordingly, Google AdWords was modified to account for this shift in search behavior and better accommodate the mobile-first movement.

HigherVisibility: “The AdWords makeover is optimized for screen sizes of popular smartphones and mobile devices, putting user experience at the forefront of campaign management and therein cashing in on the ‘new’ behavior of searchers. What sounds like more work is actually less, because these upgrades offer responsive ads auto-designed by Google, bid adjustments for each device type, and local optimization-all streamlined into a simple, contained format.”

Google also launched the Google Keyboard, whose purpose to make typing on a smartphone easier and faster.

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Basically, any bandwagon that Google’s currently riding, you want to piggyback. And right now, that bandwagon is mobile-first.

Mobile-First And Your Digital Strategy

“Mobile-first” represents a strategy that purposefully builds a user experience for mobile devices before crafting it for any other device, including desktops and laptops. It’s a strategy that should incorporate all facets of the development process — from the design and user experience to the actual interface.

With mobile-first, users no longer visit desktop versions of websites that have been modified for mobile-viewing. Rather, users view sites that have been specifically designed with mobile devices in mind. “This means designers should tailor site user experiences to the needs of users who are on the go and in multiple contexts,” says Riley Graham of Fuzzy Math.

Riley Graham: “Let’s consider an insurance company’s site as an example, highlighting the differences between a desktop-Web user experience strategy and a mobile user experience strategy. An insurance company wants to build an online experience. The home page of a desktop-Web experience might provide the means for users to call an agent and get a quote as its primary call to action.

However, if the insurance company wanted to build a mobile experience, the focus might instead be on users’ context. Users might use the insurance company’s site on the go — to make a claim or get roadside assistance. Therefore, for a site that is optimized for mobile, it would be necessary to reorganize the desktop-Web content.”

How To Design Your Website For Mobile-First

Designing for the smallest screen makes mobile design the most difficult. But that’s another reason why websites should take a mobile-first approach. “Once the mobile design questions are answered, designing for other devices, will be easier,” says Ben Gremillion of UXPin.

A mobile-first design represents the essence of the user experience. This doesn’t translate into leaving information out, however. Rather, you organize and prioritize information into primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, based on importance, and create device-appropriate layouts according to those levels.

Take, for example, a website whose goal is to sell bicycles. The most important elements are the latest models and the best-sellers, seeing as these two elements are most likely to lead to sales. Whereas other elements, such as the latest blog post or less popular models, while still significant, are not as important and you can relegate them to inside pages.

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Here is a list of tips for how to design a mobile-first website:

  • Create a list of essential content elements.
  • Prioritize your list and establish a visual hierarchy so you can highlight the most important items.
  • Make touch targets larger than you would for desktop-viewing (fingers are a lot wider than cursors) and leave ample space in between hyperlinks.
  • Do not fall back on hover or mouse-over effects.
  • Consider on-screen elements with which users can interact without needing to refresh the page. This includes expandable widgets and AJAX calls.
  • Avoid using large photos and complicated graphics.
  • Test your site on actual mobile devices, assessing loading times, navigability, and the ease with which you can read text and view images.

Create A Mobile-First Marketing Plan

Designing your website with a mobile-first approach is the first step. Next, you need to implement a mobile-first marketing strategy. And part of this involves paying attention to the current trends.

Mobile Video, But Without The Twist

Mobile video advertising has grown significantly in recent years. And according to Dan Sapozhnikov of AdGate Media, “The mobile video market is expected to reach over $13 billion by 2020.”

Portable entertainment/information is where it’s at. Users can watch video content on their mobile devices when they’re on the go, without being weighed down by the bulkiness of a larger screen.

But the twist on this trend is that there is no twist…

Ian Blair of BuildFire: “Take Audi and AT&T, for example. Large players in the ad space are experimenting with vertically-displayed video, since, by default, that’s how we hold our mobile devices.

The real clincher is, since they’ve started doing this, they’ve noticed an 80% increase in the number of ads watched to completion.”

From a content marketing standpoint, you can also produce short videos for Vine and Instagram as a way to build brand awareness and cater your message to the shorter attention spans of mobile users.

Going Local With Location-Based Marketing

Most users conduct searches on their mobile devices when they’re away from their home or office. And they’re usually looking for an immediate response to their question, whether it concerns the location of the nearest gas station or the time that a certain Italian restaurant closes.

“Local search optimization is essential for mobile search result visibility,” says Brian Hughes of Integrity Marketing and Consulting. Just think how often location-based tagging occurs on social media. You want your business to be a part of that.

For starters, claim your local search listings on Google, Bing, and Yelp, so you can add photos and correct any inaccuracies with the listings’ details. And second, offer mobile coupons, leveraging the power of a geo-targeting push campaign or Apple’s iBeacon, the “Bluetoothed-powered location system.”

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There’s a good chance that the first time prospects interact with your company it’s on a mobile device. And since you won’t get a second chance to make a first impression, you need to make sure that impression is as mobile-friendly as possible.

Moreover, if you want to convert your prospects into customers, you need to think about your conversion goals from a mobile standpoint. Downloading files and filling out forms are inconvenient on a smartphone. So keep your conversion points mobile-friendly, making the process simple and easy for people.

Do you have a mobile-first strategy for your business? Head over to and get in touch!

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