It always somewhat irritates me when I read the latest panic piece in the media about how our mobile phones are solely to blame for somehow putting us out of touch with each other, destroying our social skills, and ruining any and all opportunities for human interaction we have in any given day. But as a marketer, I see the huge potential that phones have to actually put us in touch – not just with each other, but with the brands, services, and products that will make our lives just that little more enjoyable, the funny videos that will make our mornings just a little bit brighter, or that insightful opinion piece that will make our minds that little bit more open.
Our mobiles have become hugely powerful little things, and at any given time, all those people you see looking down at their screens on the train in the morning could be doing any one of a number of things, including chatting with their mum in France who they haven’t seen in years, entering a competition to win a trip around the world, reading the morning news, analysing the workout they just did at the gym, reading their textbook for an upcoming uni exam… Ok, ok, I’ll stop before I start to sound like an iPhone ad.
So it’s official (still) – mobile is the new black (still)
Since predictions came true that the number of mobile users worldwide would overtake desktop usage by 2014, mobile usage trends have only continued on an upswing, especially if the latest statistics reported on today by Marketing Land are anything to go by. According to new statistics, there are currently 3.65 million unique global mobile users, and of those, 1.91 billion have smartphones.
What this means to your business’ marketing efforts
So what does this tell us? That we should all bow down and heed the advice contained in the prophecies of the marketing geniuses and futurists of the world? Well, maybe, but a better plan is to look at the data, look at your own mobile efforts, and see if there are any areas that you can improve on, since more and more of your customers are going to be finding you on their mobiles. Here are a few suggestions:
- Sort out your mobile site – It still surprises me how many websites these days don’t have a mobile site, or even a simple responsive one which offers the user a great experience. Many businesses think that because they sell high-ticket items (that users tend to prefer to purchase using their desktop computers), or don’t necessarily “sell” products online using e-commerce, that it’s an excuse to give users a poor mobile experience. However, more and more evidence is suggesting that users conduct a large amount of their research using their mobiles prior to making a buying decision. So if your site was one of the ones to give them a great experience, they’re more likely to remember you or give you a call when it’s time to take the next step in their buying journey.
- Get on top of your social media efforts – In his article, Aaron Strout makes a good point that mobile has become a highly personal and intimate medium for many people. Just the other day, I took part in a quick online poll that asked how soon after waking up I look at my phone (excluding turning my alarm off/throwing it across the room), which hints that there are people out there looking to prove that we’re all becoming increasingly glued to our mobiles. But rather than destroying our real world relationships, I believe that mobile use simply punctuates them. We tag friends in Instagram posts we think they’d like, share YouTube videos we think our best friend will find funny, and re-post interesting articles on Facebook. If your company is not the one sending out those cool Instagram photos or those helpful/insightful/funny videos, then you’re going to be increasingly left behind as the mobile revolutions continues to sweep across the globe. Social gives you the chance to reach (and potentially sell to) your customers where they already are, especially with more and more social sites announcing that they’ll be offering instant shopping features (both Pinterest and Instagram dropped the news last week).
- Content is continually becoming more and more important: especially video – Mobile video accounted for 55% of mobile data usage by the end of 2014, and again, this is predicted to keep growing in the coming years. When creating a content marketing strategy, think about all the avenues with which your audience interacts with your brand – including social – and how you can make their experience of your brand a positive one, before they’re even ready to buy something from you.
How is your brand currently using mobile to the best of its ability? What are your predictions for the future of mobile?