Walk down any busy street and you’ll see it — mobile usage is on the rise. It’s no secret, and yet, the stats might still be surprising: According to a recent comScore report, 2010 saw 1 billion mobile users globally, and so far in 2015, that number has skyrocketed to 1.9 billion. In the past year, those numbers have also surpassed desktop usage.
This presents a great opportunity for digital marketers to make a huge impact on mobile — if they can break through the noise. We use these devices to send emails, take photos, play games, schedule events and even make payments, giving us few reasons to take our eyes off the screen. Because of this, more and more marketers are looking to take advantage of mobile avenues like Instagram (which recently opened its API to brands) and Snapchat. That means mobile websites are facing some heavy competition.
Here’s a look at what this dramatic increase in mobile usage means for the future of the web and what it will take to get users engaging with a brand’s site on their phones.
The Battle for Consumer Attention Heats Up
All signs point to mobile adoption numbers continuing to steadily increase. So what will it take for a mobile website to stand out in a sea of apps? A strategy that emphasizes context and personalization. The more mobile websites that start competing for attention, the pickier users will be about the sites they visit on their devices. If they don’t find the experience they’re looking for, you can bet they’ll click elsewhere.
That’s why generic content paired with responsive design isn’t going to cut it anymore. To truly make a mobile impact, sites need to show a keen understanding of the specific needs of their mobile users, including where they are in the buying process and the information that will get them closer to a purchase.
New Devices Emerge — and We'll Need to Adapt Quickly
“Mobile” doesn’t just mean smartphones. The definition has expanded, from that iPhone or Droid we keep in our pocket at all times to a smartwatch on our wrist. Odds are, the limits of mobile will continue to be tested. When crafting a mobile marketing strategy, adaptability is key.
For each new device, make sure you account for the changes in user behavior, and never assume all mobile devices are created equal. Will shoppers want to interact with the browser on their Android watches the same way they interact with their phones? Probably not. Different devices require different approaches, and to win consumer attention, brands can’t fall behind. Create a bad experience on the most talked-about new device, and users will be onto the next thing — fast.
Quality Content More Important Than Ever
No matter how much we work to make sure our mobile experiences master context and personalization, rich media content will always be hugely important. A Zmags 2015 State of Digital Marketing Survey found that 49 percent of retail marketers prioritize content over other key contributors to a good retail experience, including omnichannel and ease of purchase. Of course, the best strategy combines all these facets of the mobile experience.
As the number of mobile users and websites grows, digital marketers will need to re-prioritize and put more resources into creating the content-driven brand experiences their target audience responds to most. While the future of the mobile web will certainly bring with it some challenges, in the end, the best strategies will ensure that both users and brands win.