An introduction to mobile marketing

Mobile has changed the way we live our lives, helping us to communicate, work and buy goods on-the-go. It's a key area for marketing activity.

Make no mistake; we live in a mobile first world. Tablets and cell phones are woven indelibly into the fabric of our daily lives and have long since passed desktop usage rates when it comes to internet habits. As a business, mobile marketing is critical to your survival – and not just because mobile optimization is now a Google ranking factor. So if you’re not up to date with mobile marketing and don’t have a mobile friendly website, you could soon see your rankings suffer.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what mobile marketing means and what steps you need to take to begin transitioning your digital marketing to a mobile friendly mentality.

1. Mobile optimization

There has been an increased focus on mobile optimization over the last 18 months or so. In its simplest form, mobile optimization is the act of making sure your website appears clearly and works well on mobile devices.

Traditional websites often don’t translate well to cell phones and tablets – the screen size is much smaller so many pages designed for desktop will either require lots of tedious scrolling or will be squashed and illegible.

Websites designed for desktop viewing tend to use larger file sizes such as lots of video and bigger pictures. Mobile download speeds mean this isn’t practical for tablets and cell phones, leading to gaps in the user experience.

For ecommerce sites, having the user fill in a lengthy form for credit card details and shipping addresses might work fine. On the smaller mobile screen with touch screen keys or small buttons, checkout is suddenly fiddly and frustrating.

To begin integrating mobile into your marketing strategy, these issues must be addressed. Page loading speed is of particular importance for mobile users (and a Google ranking signal) so creating a streamlined version of your desktop site with mobile in mind is an essential first step to get off the blocks.

No ecommerce brand can afford to ignore mobile traffic and driving traffic to a non-mobile friendly site almost guarantees high cart abandonment and poor conversions. 

While it isn’t always necessary to create a carbon copy of your desktop site (you might want smaller navigation menus and fewer pages on your mobile site for example, to aid the user experience) a responsive web design will make device transition effortless. In an increasingly omni-channel, cross platform world, a responsive site can offer a seamless experience and make brand building and advertising less of a headache.

2. Display advertising

Display advertising has the potential to be a lucrative part of any mobile marketing strategy. With the proliferation of mobile shopping and the sheer volume of time spent surfing the net on mobile devices, creating display adverts specifically for mobile devices will help ensure you make the most of your spend.

You can use Google display networks to serve your mobile display ads to mobile devices. For them to be effective and work as hard as possible for your money, apply mobile design practices – clear imagery, large and easy to click buttons. Keep text to a minimum as large chunks can be hard to read on the smaller screen.

Display advertising for mobile opens up lots of targeting opportunities, meaning you can be very specific about who you want your ads to show to, including restricting display to specific zip codes and locations.

Google will soon allow device bid adjustment within the AdWords control panel, so you’ll be able to assign different bids for cell phone, tablet and desktop users.

3. Email marketing

Almost no corner of the marketer’s toolkit remains untouched by mobile and email marketing is no exception. Just as you need to optimize your website to offer a seamless user experience for mobile users, you’ll also need to consider how your emails display on mobile devices.

Emails must be easy to read, display properly and have mobile optimized imagery and calls to action. That means big, clickable buttons, concise text, and compelling, compressed pictures. A responsive design will ensure that no matter the device, your email displays correctly and fits the screen as it should. Someone checking their messages on an iPad will then have the same experience as someone checking on their iPhone.

4.Social media

Social media is a breeding ground of opportunity for mobile marketers. The popularity of mobile only services like Instagram and Snapchat shows just how prolific social media use is among mobile device users – and how important it is to get your social media mobile strategy on the fast track.

Instagram is big news for ecommerce brands thanks to its discovery nature. With advertising now opened up to all, the possibilities for engagement and creativity are boundless. See parts one and two of our guide to advertising on Instagram if this platform is new to you.

Facebook too offers prolific chances to flex your mobile marketing muscles – from video and News Feed ads and remarketing right through to app promotion. One of the great things about Facebook is the range of targeting options available, backed with a wide choice of ad formats.