How many times a day do you pick up your smartphone? If you’re the average iPhone user, Apple says you slide to unlock around 80 times in a 24-hour period. Android users unlock their phones around 85 times a day—no word on what those extra five unlocks are.
80 times a day. If the average person sleeps around 7 hours a night, they get 17 hours of waking time per day. That means we’re picking up our phones over 4 times an hour. That’s more than every fifteen minutes. Should I even bother putting it back in my pocket? Or just graft it onto my hand?
So marketers, riddle me this: Odds are the people you want to reach have a screen on their person that they look at 80 times a day. They fill every idle moment of their day consuming content on that screen.
Why are we still calling it the “second screen?”
Why are we still thinking of mobile as a nice-to-have add-on for our digital advertising strategy?
As Brian Solis (Principal at Altimeter Group, Can Probably Literally See into the Future) said in a recent AdAge article: “Someone has to take the lead in bringing mobile to the forefront of digital design. Investing in a mobile program just to check the box is no longer good enough. The reality is that mobile is now the first screen.”(Emphasis mine)
So what does a first-screen mobile advertising strategy look like? Read on to learn the minimum requirements for mobile, and the specific attributes your strategy should have to succeed.
The Minimum Requirement: A Seamless Mobile Experience
The end goal of your mobile advertising strategy is to pull people to your assets: a piece of content, a landing page, a shopping page. So before you start advertising on mobile, your site has to be mobile-friendly.
But that doesn’t mean doing just enough responsive design to have Google bless your site as mobile-friendly. What I mean is that it’s possible for your customer to do everything you want them to do, take every step of their journey with your brand, on a mobile device. As our Account Manager and PPC Lead Michael Bak puts it:
We all know that we need to be mobile friendly. But many times I’ve seen advertisers forget that the customer’s journey doesn’t simply end at the landing page. You need to make sure every aspect of the customer journey is mobile friendly: the shopping cart experience, the asset, the area of the site you’re funneling that consumer to. Make sure you’re asking your customers to take the next step. And make sure that next step is part of a seamless mobile experience.
So before you start implementing a mobile advertising strategy, make sure those who demonstrate their trust by clicking on your ad are rewarded with a positive experience.
What Does a Mobile Advertising Strategy Look Like?
Mobile screens are unique in that they’re more personal, more intimate, and more user-customizable than marketers are used to (or comfortable with). You know what I’m talking about; you’re a consumer as well as a marketer. We’re used to ignoring advertising on mobile. We’re good at mentally erasing the banner ads at the top of apps. We click X on interstitials before they even load. And the ads we can’t mentally block, we can now use software to actually scrub away.
That’s the downside of mobile. It’s a screen people spend a whole lot of their lives looking at—but they’re emphatically not looking at what you want to show them. That truth informs all the following aspects of a successful mobile digital advertising strategy:
It’s Social. What are people doing most of the 80-85 times they unlock their phones? Why, checking their social media for updates, of course. That’s where they want to be—so that’s where you should be, too. Promoted, targeted posts on your audience’s preferred social media channels are an easy way to get guaranteed mobile-friendly, less-likely-to-be-ignored advertising.
It’s Visual. With their big screens and powerful processors, modern mobile devices are made for visual content. You don’t have to set up your own VR studio just yet, but images and at least some video are a must. Facebook and YouTube are both developing tools to make video creation easier; you can bet the output from those tools will be optimized for mobile. Take it from Lowe’s’ millions of plays on Vine, or FedEx’s 46,000 followers on Instagram: mobile platforms + social + visual content = awesome.
It’s Native. Like I said earlier, we’re getting very good at unseeing the kind of banner ads and interstitials that might have attracted eyeballs a few years ago. These days, native ads have a much better shot at being seen. Mobile native content (on apps like Facebook, Buzzfeed, and Reddit) has multiple advantages: It’s immune to ad blockers, it’s already optimized for mobile, and it finds your audience on the apps they already use (more on that later).
It’s Useful. Remember when all an advertiser had to do to rake in the dollars was put a mini-game in their banner ad? You know—help the monkey collect bananas, punch the boxer, shoot the baskets? Yeah, that’s done with. Now there’s plenty of opportunities for people to mindlessly tap and swipe. To get their attention, you actually have to offer something of value. Make it entertaining, make it emotional, make it hilarious—make it worth their while.
It Not All on Your Site (And Especially Not Your App). We’ve talked about having a solid mobile-friendly site. The logical next step seems like developing your own app, to really provide the best user experience. But the average smartphone user spends most of their time in just three apps. Do you really want to gamble on your app breaking the top three? It makes more sense to find which three they use, and publish there.
It’s…email? You heard it here first (unless you heard it first somewhere else): Email is a mobile advertising strategy. Way back in 2014, 65% of email was opened first on mobile, and you can bet that number has gone up. Email is the perfect diversionary activity after all the Faces have been Booked, the Tweets have been Twitted, and the Snaps have been Chatted. If you can consistently deliver valuable content via email, you can grow your audience regardless of their demographic. From Millennials to Baby Boomers, mobile has breathed new life into email as a marketing tactic.
Quick, to the Mobile-mobile!
Last year, Google announced that more searches are now being made on mobile than on desktop. Internet traffic from smartphones and tablets is slowly eclipsing all other forms of traffic. That’s not to say we should cut non-mobile users loose and leave their money on the table, of course. But it does indicate that mobile is far more than the secondary consideration many marketers have made it.
How is your organization developing a mobile advertising strategy? Let me know in the comments.