18 ways to take mobile seriously in 2014


It will soon be here. 2014. A new year, a new focus and, for some, a set of New Year’s resolutions.

Well, here are some resolutions you might want to follow to make your mobile efforts that much more successful next year, by helping you take the space — and the opportunities it offers you — seriously.

  1. Mobile first! Not an “add on.” In 2014, mobile net usage is expected to surpass desktop usage. Think about that for a moment. That’s quite something.

    Keep telling your agencies and advertisers about this. Raise mobile’s profile as an important new “eyeballs” focus and revenue stream. Where the eyeballs go, that’s where the money ultimately goes.

    • Remember the limits of a smaller screen, i.e. mobile optimise.

    • Use mobile photos and videos to create unique content. (Mobile video is a big general focus for the future.)

    • Target mobile users when using social media. 

    • Ask yourself which content of yours will stand out when your readers are using smartphones or tablets.

  2. Get on board the bus. Below is a chart that shows where people are spending their time versus how much businesses spent on advertising. In the few years mobile has been with us, it has outpaced print, radio, and Web. There is still massive potential in the mobile marketing space that news media has to yet to exploit. Eyeballs currently don’t equal appropriate revenues. Much to do!

  3. Data is king … and queen, jack, and ace! This is vital for your future mobile success. Be sure you are using robust analytics and measurement tools to understand your mobile audience and enable you to make the best marketing … and your next directional and development decisions.

    Segment your data into reachable and targeted “chunks” that can be used to help you understand your audience better and also be treated as a premium service from a monetisation point of view.

  4. Responsive rules OK? If you are using e-mail marketing, consider that many will look at the e-mail on their mobile device first, so you need to make sure the e-mail is optimised for those devices. The content should adjust for the device screen size.

  5. TLC: time, location, and context. Find where readers are spending time and how they are using their mobile devices. Think: time, location, and context. These three will be the winners in 2014. Understand how they are using mobile devices, where, and on which platforms.

  6. Set a goal! This is not rocket science, but have specific goals and objectives for your mobile efforts. You’d be amazed how many miss this step. It’s important to determine what you want to accomplish and figure out how to do it before spending too much time or money.

    Use the analytics mentioned above to learn about your mobile audience’s behaviour, habits, and trends. Get closer.

  7. Be explicit! Include simple “calls to action” (CTAs). Whether you simply want, say, a reader to comment on a picture or click on a link, tell them exactly what to do and how to take the next step. Be explicit.

  8. Get social. Turn on your push notifications for your social networks to be informed of new comments, interactions, shares, etc. This allows you to instantly engage customers while they are online and even start a larger conversation.

    Social networks are great tools to find customers. The best part: Not only is this where customers spend the majority of their time; they are all free to use and engage. Do not let these free, powerful tools to go unused!

    News media can use these powerful social channels to their advantage by having engaging presences on the top social networks and third-party platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Kindle, Flipboard and Google Currents. (p.s. Offer incentives for “liking” or “following” your social network.)

  9. Mobile helps readers buy more…and from you! Readers can go to your news Web site subscription store or even walk into one of your advertisers’ retail stores, find something of interest, run a Web search from their smartphones, and compare offerings/prices to competitors. Easy.

    But if people are going to use their smartphones with you, give them a reason to focus on alternative things, too. Highlight “mobile-only” reader offers via your social networks or mobile app, or maybe offer a discount on a yearly subscription.

    Use quick response (QR) or Augmented Reality (AR) scannable codes/ads to promote special offers, extra content, facts and figures, video, etc.

  10. You said what? Readers have very short attention spans. You have only a few seconds to get someone’s attention online. Mobile makes people even more impatient; they want your content to load quickly and be easy to navigate.

    And, most importantly, they want your content to be of interest, value, and relevance. (Again ... time, location, and context!)

  11. Value provision. Return on investment (ROI) is only part of the mix. It should all be about building relationships by providing value. This is marketing for the “long game.” Be patient, but at the same time, keep driving the bus!

  12. Timing is crucial. Think about when people are using their mobile devices and what the appropriate times to share content are. For example, serve them a holiday advertisement in the evening when they’re at home and more relaxed, not during the working day.

    Tablets can be a great second screen opportunity later in the day as a second spike of media usage kicks in. (See ComScore chart below.)

  13. User experience is also crucial. As mentioned above, mobile users expect things to load quickly and be easy to navigate. Whether it is your mobile Web site or mobile app, make sure to do extensive user testing to ensure there are no broken Web links, dead ends, or simply confusing functionality.

    Mobile users will not hesitate to abandon a site or app when the user experience or design is poor. And you’ll struggle to get them back!

    Also note that if a prospective reader makes a search for your newspaper or services, the next place they will go is your actual Web site. (61% of customers who visit a non-optimised site are likely to go to a competitor’s site, according to Interactive Advertising Bureau’s 2013 report).

    You will likely lose that customer if your Web site was not optimised for mobile.

    And finally, how do you handle queries from a customer contact point of view? A key part of the experience chain that can’t be overlooked.

  14. Please come back! Readers need a reason to come back. In the same way mobile users have a short attention span, they expect a reasonable amount of new content from their favourite media. And the same goes for your advertisers.

    For example, if you are a travel company, you can share weekly sightseeing and travel secrets for incoming, current, and past guests. This data can be culled from your own resources or from user-generated content, which gives your customers a voice!

    By continuously creating new, fresh mobile content you can make sure people come back, giving you more chances to convert them into paying customers.

  15. Experiment. There are so many unique and interesting areas of mobile marketing, from scannable codes to location-based offers. You should experiment with different things and see what works best for you and your audience. Mobile marketing is still a new area to many and those who can stand out and have a unique selling proposition, will get the most attention. Simple! Don’t be afraid to fail, but fail fast, learn, and move on.

  16. Your Web site also means mobile. Following on from point No. 14, our Web site is one of the most important parts of your marketing strategy. Obviously. (In 2012, 20% of all Web traffic came from mobile browsers, according to AllThingsD 2013). And it’s rising fast.

    Ensure you’re not losing mobile visitors to your competitor’s site and missing the chance to convert them.

  17. KISS. Keep. It. Simple. Stupid! (As the saying goes!) Less is more. Not a new concept, but in mobile marketing it couldn’t be more true. Mobile users demand well-designed, simply/beautifully designed, and mobile-optimised content on social networks, Web sites, e-mails, and mobile apps, etc.

    Remember: The small screen provides less real estate and should be treated accordingly.

  18. Share. Any mobile developments, ideas, and nuances you discover along the way, share them with your industry colleagues. After all, in the brave new digital world, we’re all in this together: media, readers, advertisers, suppliers — all of us.

    The more we share, the more we all learn and build better products and experiences in the future.

    One option is to send your ideas to me and I’ll include them in this blog — and give you all the credit you will richly deserve.

Good luck … and I wish you a Happy New Mobile Year, when it arrives!

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