It’s no secret that mobile is changing the way everyone does business online.
Think about how often you use your phone to browse websites, access social media, fill in forms, and conduct searches. Now translate that usage to every smartphone user.
Salesforce states that 83% of mobile internet users expect a seamless experience across devices. Users expect the usability of their desktops to translate to their mobile devices.
As with any major wave in business, marketers have to adjust to consumers, not the other way around. This is especially so in content marketing, as you’re trying to engage, build trust, and make sales – all at the same time.
83% of mobile internet users expect a seamless experience across devices
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I’ve compiled 9 mobile content marketing trends that could have profound effects on your business in the future.
These trends are only going to continue upwards as time goes on. Marketers should be aware of them and adapt to fit consumer’s lives.
Here are 9 of the most powerful mobile content marketing trends we’re facing:
1. Increase in Overall Mobile Internet Usage
Check out these startling facts about internet/mobile device usage from December 2010 to December 2014:
- 21 percent of Millennials no longer use their desktops to go online.
- More than 75 percent of all Americans who use the Internet (age 18+) now access digital content on both desktop and mobile devices, which is an increase from 68 percent a year ago.
- The 55-years-and-older consumer segment is actually the fastest growing faction of mobile users.
- Smartphone usage is up 394 percent, and tablet usage is up 1,721 percent.
More people than ever are using their phones/tablets to browse the Internet. What does this mean for your content marketing efforts?
With everything you publish, you need to consider how it’s going to look on mobile and if it will be effective. Follow these guidelines:
- Paragraphs in your blog posts should be no more than 3-4 sentences long.
- Your images should fit the screen.
- Text should be big enough to read on small devices, without straining the reader’s eyes.
- Your website should be easy to navigate.
- Your forms should be user-friendly and functional.
- Videos should load the same as they do on desktop.
- Pop-ups should fit the screen.
- Users should be able to get the information they need and not be hindered because they’re using a mobile device.
These are just some of the mobile content marketing guidelines you need to consider as usage increases in the future.
2. Google is Favoring Mobile-Friendly Pages
In an official Webmaster Central blog post, Google announced that starting April 21, 2015 they would start favoring mobile-friendly pages in search results.
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” – Google Webmaster Central Blog
This should have came as no surprise. Google is always trying to provide the most relevant, user-friendly results possible. Mobile devices are no exception.
According to a Searchmetrics study, some of the top sites have already taken hits in their mobile SEO visibility:
What does this mean for your website? Well, if you saw a hit in your mobile search engine traffic, this algorithm change might be the culprit.
“I would not be surprised if large sites can take up to a month to be displayed as fully mobile friendly. So make sure your most important pages are indexed as mobile friendly sooner than later.” – Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land
To see if your site fits the description, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tester. If it doesn’t, follow this guide to make your website mobile-friendly or this plugin if you’re using WordPress.
3. The Rise of SMS Marketing
SMS marketing involves consumers opting in to receive texts from a company. These texts can contain promotions, deals, loyalty rewards, alerts, and other marketing materials.
For example, if you opt in to one of Amazon’s text message updates, you can receive a text anytime there’s an upcoming deal available for your Kindle.
According to Salesforce’s 2014 mobile behavior report, 91% of consumers who opted in to a company’s SMS texting found it useful.
And EZ Texting, an SMS marketing service, states that over 50,000 clients use their service in businesses such as:
- Bars and nightclubs
- Real estate
- Small businesses
These consumers want to be marketed to in one of their most coveted inboxes – their text messages. That’s a big discovery for marketers.
The key, like with any marketing channel, will be balancing value provided with value extracted. Abusing someone’s text message inbox even one time can get that right retracted.
4. Mobile Content Marketing Lead Generation: Considerations and Conversion Rates
49% of B2B marketers are heavily engaged in mobile marketing for generating leads. (Source: MarketingProfs)
As more of your traffic transitions to mobile devices, the way you optimize lead generation will change as well.
Here are a few common ways to generate leads:
- Sidebar forms
- Pop-up forms
- Landing pages
- Feature boxes
- Pop-up lightboxes
- End-of-post opt-ins
- In-text forms
If your site is mobile-friendly, your sidebar form is probably one of the last items your visitors scroll to. Instead of being at the top of the page, it’s now below the body content.
This means you should consider installing other opt-ins as well, like pop-up forms or feature boxes, to engage visitors immediately.
Estimated conversion rate: 0.3-1%
Your pop-up form must be formatted for mobile. Many pop-forms tend to lose their formatting, making it difficult or impossible to submit contact information (even if the visitor wants to). Not optimizing these for mobile could leave leads on the table.
The following is an example of a poorly formatted pop-up. It’s not an opt-in form, but its design causes a lower user experience:
The next form is formatted well. It allows а user to scroll up and down to read the full text, and the opt-in field and button are user friendly:
Estimated conversion rate: 2-5%
If your site is mobile-friendly, your landing pages are most likely formatted for mobile. But you should make sure they’re easy to navigate to on any device.
Estimated conversion rate: 5-25%
A feature box is an opt-in at the top of the page. It comes before the content and is usually the first opt-in a visitor sees.
Because of this, feature boxes can be effective for converting mobile visitors. Here’s an example:
Estimated conversion rate: 5-7%
Pop-up lightboxes should be formatted the same as your regular pop-up. Make sure they can be filled in and submitted on any device.
Estimated conversion rate: 2-10%
Opt-ins at the end of your posts and in-text should also be formatted for mobile.
Estimated conversion rate: .4-1.2%
If you can set up all of your opt-ins to be user-friendly on mobile devices, you’re ready to get favorable conversion rates, as a report from Mobile Marketer shows.
5. Converting Sales on Mobile
Check out these statistics regarding smartphone purchases, from an Interactive Advertising Bureau’s study:
- Men (56%) are more likely than women (45%) to make purchases via smartphone.
- 76 percent of males ages 18-34 make a smartphone purchase in a typical month. 59 percent of females in this age group make the same type of purchase.
- 39 percent of 18 to 34-year old smartphone users said they spend at least $51 or more making purchases via smartphone in an average month. That compares to 27 percent of survey participants overall.
- Smartphones ranked second only to computers among CE devices used for shopping.
- 40 percent of smartphone owners said they use their device to research products.
This means that most young adult smartphone users, regardless of gender, make at least one purchase from their phone each month, and 39 percent of them spend at least $51.
Men (56%) are more likely than women (45%) to make purchases via smartphone
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Consumers are willing to spend money using their mobile devices. As this trend continues, digital marketers will need to ensure their landing pages are mobile-friendly, that the page conveys trust in the payment system, and that the payment process is as seamless as possible.
6. Mobile Apps Supplementing or Replacing Websites
Apps can turn the most cumbersome website into a clean, user-friendly interface.
Many banks have gone this route, as their websites can be hard to navigate on mobile devices.
Apps can supplement websites or completely replace them in terms of functionality and usability.
Marketo notes 3 mobile app trends for marketers to take advantage of in 2015 and beyond:
1. Mobile apps as landing pages
Just like landing pages are a single page with a dedicated goal, companies will start creating niche apps (with push notifications) to act as mobile landing pages.
2. Small and medium-sized businesses will use mobile apps for lead generation and brand awareness
SMBs will follow the lead of larger companies in creating apps for their businesses. However, small and medium-sized businesses will have to market their apps harder to get downloads.
3. Established companies will put mobile apps at the core of their product or service
More companies will launch new products and services where the app is the product — much like Uber and Snapchat.
Each of these trends can be used by marketers to reach additional users more efficiently.
7. Increased Mobile Ad Spend
Mobile is growing faster than all other digital advertising formats in the US, as advertisers begin allocating dollars to catch the eyes of a growing class of “mobile-first” users. – Mark Hoelzel, Business Insider
With increased mobile usage comes increased spending on ads targeting mobile devices.
eMarketer found that in 2016, global mobile advertising spend will surpass $100 billion and account for more than 50% of all digital ad expenditure. This will be the first time this has ever happened.
Companies can expect to spend more and more on mobile ads, shifting their budgets in parallel with how mobile usage is growing.
8. Increased Focus on User Experience in Email Marketing
Email is still a top channel for promoting products and services. According to these studies…
- 91% of consumers reported checking their email at least once a day. (ExactTarget)
- Email marketing was ranked as the best channel in terms of return on investment, with 68% of companies rating the channel as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ (Econsultancy)
And according to EmailMonday, mobile email opens have grown 180% in three years, from 15% in 2011 to 42% in 2014 (Campaign Monitor “Email interaction across mobile and desktop”).
With more people accessing email on their mobile devices than ever, and the consistent effectiveness of email marketing, marketers need to make sure their emails are user-friendly on mobile devices.
Many email marketing services offer a plain text option (as compared to HTML) so marketers can choose to make sure their emails can be read adequately on any device.
As more and more people open emails on their mobile devices, mobile formatting will become more crucial to maintaining your ROI from email marketing.
9. Optimizing Your Social Media Posts for Mobile
The #1 category in terms of overall digital engagement, accounting for 20% of total digital time spent, social networking now generates more than 70% of its activity on mobile. When considering the category’s contribution to total digital ad spending, its rapid shift to mobile marks an important sign of the times for the internet economy. (Source: comScore)
70% of social networking is now done on mobile devices. That’s the same percentage as entertainment/music:
Needless to say, for your posts to be engaged with, they should be optimized for mobile viewing:
- Your images should be the right size for each specific network.
- Your calls-to-action should fit in the required space without an ellipses (…).
- Any text in the image should be big enough to read.
- You should expect users to click through on their mobile devices, meaning your website should be optimized to greet them there.
To Wrap It Up
These trends in mobile content marketing affect the way users engage with your business and how you market to them.
It’s important for marketers to understand these trends, adjust their businesses to them, and eventually take advantage of them.
That’s how you will continue to grow your business as mobile becomes a bigger and bigger part of consumer’s lives.
Oct 05, 2015
Michael is a content marketer who teaches people how to grow their businesses online and make a difference in people's lives at the same time.