Customers are mobile and digital. So should marketing. Here’s how

By Geoff Linton and Ryan Antooa

According to Forrester Research, digital marketing spending in the U.S. will surpass $118 billion in 2018. Four of the top vehicles: paid search, display, on-line and email are growing between 8% – 18% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). It is also interesting to note the impressions served on mobile devices grew over 5.5x faster than on desktops. The following article explores what is driving this growth and the three trends that marketers should understand.

Where is the consumer attention?

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? It’s likely you reach for your companion. And by that we mean your mobile phone. Nearly nine in 10 respondents said they check their phone within an hour of waking up in the morning, and almost as many do so right before they go to sleep. Overall, we are increasingly connected and dependent on our devices, and this dependency is only set to increase.

According to a survey conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Deloitte, which polled 2,000 US Internet users ages 18 to 75, most people check their device approximately 47 times per day.

And. according to eMarketer, this translates to 175 minutes of time per day spent on a mobile device.

Whether it’s scrolling your Twitter news feed for trending events, checking your email or hitting snooze on your alarm, it’s no secret that wherever we go throughout the day, our mobile devices go with us.

Go mobile or go home

There are a few reasons for our mobile-dependency: mobile represents instant and unfettered access to all the information we need on a day-to-day basis. It also gives us 24/7 connection to our peers’ activities for a better sense of connectedness.

News and media aside, there has been a massive shift in recent years towards mobile usage for brand engagement and content consumption. This is especially true among Millennials, who represent a buying power of $40 billion within the current marketing ecosystem.

The reason mobile usage and engagement is growing so quickly is simple: mobile is an instant, on-the-go gateway to relevant content for end-user purchasing decisions, such as reviews and price comparisons. The information that end users require to make to their decisions is more accessible and available faster.

When it comes to maximizing your business success in the long-term, it’s clear that leveraging the mobile behaviour is the key.

Where mobile behaviour is headed

In a world of continuous partial attention, Inbox Marketer has seen that people now generally read through scanning. They also consume that content faster on their mobile devices than on laptops. Finally, attention spans are getting shorter and only the most essential information is retained by the end-users.

These behaviours are becoming the norm as almost everyone is mobile-enabled. Smartphone penetration rates are high across most age groups:

Moreover, consumers use more than just one device. A study performed by Adobe reveals that end-users are using three-plus devices daily, while marketers typically only have a view of one device. Inbox Marketer client data confirms that, although people have a preferred device to read their emails on, up to 20% of email subscribers read email content across multiple devices.

In order to successfully leverage end-user engagement and achieve better business results, marketers need to be present on all devices and channels where end users engage. It is no longer a matter of whether mobile is important or not within the marketing ecosystem, but a question of how your marketing is keeping up with the following trends.

Trend 1: Micro moments, macro impact

Google defines micro-moments as the intent-rich moments where users reach to devices, especially mobile, for content and information related to purchasing decisions: know, go, do or buy.

To leverage these micro-moments within your marketing efforts, think about optimizing the speed of your mobile site, adding sitelink and callout extensions to your listings for easier end-user access and updating your location information to drive in-store traffic. Also consider implementing mobile-friendly abandoned cart automations to recapture otherwise lost purchase opportunities.

Studies have shown that you can increase unaided brand awareness by 46% simply by showing up in mobile search ad results1. When considering email, relevance and timeliness is a key driver of engagement, click-through and conversion rates.

Essentially, the best way to leverage micro-moments for mobile is to implement dynamic, responsive experiences that are optimized for the devices. Then channel where your end-users are viewing your content.

Trend 2: Artificial intelligence (AI) and digital assistants

Hey, Alexa: What are the current mobile trends in AI and how can I leverage them?

The argument is not whether or not AI and digital assistants will be major players within the market, but how you can leverage them to improve your end-user engagement through mobile to provide a better user experience. For example, Amazon is pushing hard to shore up its leadership role in AI, including licensing Alexa for integration into a host of new devices like thermostats, home lighting systems, remote controls and automobiles.

To tap this trend productively optimize and make digital content “machine friendly”. That will make your brand content to be easily found by Siri, Cortana or Alexa when end-users need it.

Trend 3: Take more control

Relying on algorithms to match target audiences with content can be risky. Today’s leading marketers want to ensure the right message gets directly to the right person at the right time.

Some advertisers are making a transition from “open exchanges” to “programmatic direct”. They are doing so partly in response to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, but also to drive better targeting.

From an addressable message perspective, make your email marketing content easy to read and a more simple user experience. Don’t overload content in email. Remember: clarity trumps persuasion.

Millennials want to make their buying decisions fluid among devices, often beginning their search on a desktop and continuing down the funnel on mobile. Being direct with your email subject lines, call to actions and copy are all-important steps for better mobile-success.

Canadian leaders in your industry are already leveraging these trends and testing their results. Inbox Marketer provides information on how to test, refine, and master mobile-marketing efforts. The Canadian Marketing Association has seminars on this subject. Visit the CMA online to learn more.

Geoff Linton is the owner, CEO and a founder of Inbox Marketer Corporation and a data driven marketing expert with nearly 30 years of applied experience in both client and agency roles. He is a thought leader in digital marketing strategy. Geoff holds both a P.Eng and MBA from Queen’s University in Canada.

Ryan Antooa is the Content Marketing Manager at Inbox Marketer. He happens to be a Millennial, but refuses to check his phone in the morning.

1 Google/Ipsos MediaCT, Search for Brands Industry Research Meta-analysis, 2013–2015

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