If your digital program isn’t mobile-first, you’re last.
As marketers, we have every reason to stick to a mobile-first strategy. After all, 69% of all media time is now spent on smartphones and 80% of global internet usage happens on mobile.
When you need to reach an audience, you need to reach them where you are. And whether your audience is consumers, supporters, or likely voters, that means mobile. People spend more time on mobile devices than all other media combined and most users keep their phones within arms reach 24 hours a day. It’s a vast ocean of opportunity. Whether your goal is getting their attention through social content, asking them for their support of a campaign through email, or confirming their attendance at an upcoming event via SMS (and seeing an open rate as high as 90% doing so), mobile makes connection possible, 24/7.
Through working with candidates, organizations, and startups as digital strategists, we’ve put a lot of thought into the best ways to reach audiences. Here are a few trends and best practices for mobile we’re tracking.
Peer-to-peer text messaging can be used to both mobilize and activate your core support base. Platforms like Hustle let you start conversations with supporters to activate them into volunteers and donors at scale — it’s helpful for event building or more serious fundraising efforts. With an SMS program, open rates can be as high as 90%, leading to higher engagement and completion rates, and a better chance your audience digests the topic you’re communicating about.
Email remains the best vehicle to carry your message for now but that’s quickly changing. Collect phone numbers now so can start tapping into the goldmine of running an SMS program.
AMP for email
You’ve probably already experienced Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP, the near-instantly loading, pared-down pages denoted by the lightning icon next to links in Mobile Google Searches. You should definitely be using AMP for your web content. But Google has even bigger plans for AMP. Google recently announced that it’s bringing AMP to email. This will allow you to make your emails dynamic and more compelling to your audience.
AMP for email will give you an edge over your competition. It’s only supported by GMail and G-Suite for now, but that’s already a quarter of your audience — and Google will make it an open standard so other providers can use it too. There’s no good reason not to increase your overall CTR rate with more interactive emails and begin building a stronger relationship with your subscribers. We know that every step causes users to click away and not complete an action. Win the internet and make it easy for your subscribers by integrating your CTAs within the email (e.g. sign now or donate), reduce a few clicks, and dramatically increase your completion rate.
Google mobile first indexing
Google is moving to mobile-first indexing, meaning that the mobile version of your website becomes the baseline for how Google determine rankings. If your website doesn’t have a mobile version, this will result in your search ranking plummeting. It’s no secret: mobile friendly sites have a higher domain authority and appear higher in search results.
Double check to make sure that all your sites are mobile-friendly and operating to its full potential. Check out Google’s short checklist on the topic. One thing that’s especially important? Making sure your site loads fast enough.
Make your site load fast
The majority of mobile visitors will leave your site if it takes more than three seconds to load. For campaigns and organizations, that means half of your potential contributors, volunteers, and conversions are leaving your site before it even loads! Test your website’s mobile speed using Google’s PageSpeed tool, make sure your optimization score is at least 85/100. Pingdom also provides a great app to get specific tips to speed up your site. One important step to improve site speeds is to use a fast server. We suggest CloudWays, a user-friendly service allowing you to affordably serve your website from major clouds like those from Amazon or Google. (Want to use CloudWays? Use “AG10OFF” when signing up to get 10% off your hosting for 3 months.)
Use QR and Snapcodes
QR codes are making a comeback. They’re already ubiquitous in Asia, Europe and North America aren’t far behind. Snapchat with its Snapcodes may have been the largest driver but Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Venmo, and other major apps are all using them now. And scanners being integrated into the cameras on iOS and Android. If you have a web link, map location, contact card, or something else to share, a QR code will save your targets the trouble of typing in a web address. When you create a QR code, be sure to add parameters for tracking and use a url shortener for a simpler code. QR codes help make even your non-digital comms work seamlessly with digital. There’s no reason not to use it.
Mobile payments are happening everywhere. Peer-to-peer transfers are happening through Venmo, Cash, and other apps, and numerous charities and businesses now do most of their business on mobile. For campaigns, mobile represents more a than 40% of ActBlue contributors. For iOS users, ActBlue will allow you to accept contributions from supporters using Apple Pay removing the need to type in a credit card number. One of our clients at A+G even recently saw over 75% of donations in a period come in through Apple Pay.
You can remove even more friction for your supporters with ActBlue Express Lane, and similar products from other vendors. Use these products so your supporters can show their support financially with just a single click from email, website, or social media. Your development/finance team will thank you.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. On social media, video is king — and nowhere is this as true as on mobile. 55% of mobile data is spent on watching video. Whether it’s a paid ad or a five-second clip with a post, quality video will set you apart from your competitors or opponents. According to this survey, people who view video are 85% more likely to purchase compared to only text and still images. It might be cliche, but it’s true: if a picture is worth a thousand words, think about the value of a video. To make your video engaging, we suggest making them square so users on mobile and desktop can enjoy them. Include a clear call to action. Most people will only watch the first few seconds of a video, so make sure you get their attention in the first five seconds and then don’t drag it out. Are you a candidate? Make sure you identify yourself and what you’re running for first (audibly and using a lower-third) so if nothing else, you raise your name recognition among potential voters.
We hope these tips help. At A+G Digital, we help Democratic candidates and progressive organizations run cutting-edge digital programs. Need help crafting your mobile digital strategy or wanna chat? Get in touch at email@example.com.