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The State Of Mobile Content Mid- 2018: An Ever-Expanding Market

Allow us to show off our psychic abilities: Right now, you are reading this on a mobile device. Now, if we’ve got you pegged, we’re not really psychic, nor are we stalking you at Starbucks (though we hope you are enjoying that machiatto), we just know the statistics.

As content marketers, we are very interested in the rise of mobile marketing, which has been dominating the content marketing world for years now. Mobile devices are integral part of the lives of both professionals and consumers, and the time when mobile marketing was considered a “trend” has, in our opinion, passed – mobile marketing is no longer a trend, it’s a staple.

Optimizing your web presence, and your content marketing strategy, for mobile – or even better, creating a dedicated marketing strategy for mobile – is something that you should be doing right now. If you haven’t started already, 2018 had better be the year you begin. No more excuses – mobile is here to stay, and if you’re reading this on a small screen, you’re part of the reason why.

Today we’ll examine some of the best practices of mobile marketing, some statistics you should be aware of, touch on some rising trends and the concept of the Internet of Things, and leave you with a few tips on optimizing your content marketing for mobile.

Photograph by  Golden Sikorka via Bigstock

Mobile Marketing: What Works

Today we’ve firmly reached the point where the “phone” functionality of a smartphone is merely a feature, and not the device’s primary function. As a brand that uses inbound marketing as a major part of your strategy, this is good news.

Because of this, as marketers, we can make a few assumptions. First, you can safely assume that if your buyer has internet access, then they also have a smartphone. Second, you can assume that email communication are more likely to be read on the smartphone, as users tend to use smartphones more for reading emails than for phone calls. Third, you can assume that any social media communications are viewed on a mobile device, because the convenience of apps make viewing social media profiles easier on mobile devices than in a browser. Finally, you can assume that a significant percentage of business and shopping related web content is viewed on mobile as well. People are on the move, and they want to find the products and services they need the moment they think of them. This means most aren’t going to wait until they get home to their laptop or desktop to look up information on the products and services that interest them. Marketers have been rapidly moving toward optimizing for mobile, and in some cases even marketing solely on mobile, and as a result the majority of the money spent on digital advertising is targeted to mobile viewers.

So, now that you know you’re going to be focusing on mobile, because that’s where your buyers are, does that mean that you can keep producing the same kind of content, as long as you publish to a website that’s optimized for mobile? Not necessarily – let’s take a look at what works on mobile in 2018.

First of all, localized content is a very important component of the ideal mobile experience. Nearly 50% of consumers use localized search results to find products and services, and nearly all – 80% – of mobile web searches for products and services convert into sales. If you’re not creating localized content, it’s time to begin. The key strategies for localized content include:

  • Topic updates. You can configure your Google Alerts to stay on top of which topics are trending in various region, and use Google Analytics to get location info for your mobile visitors. If you can match up regional trending topics to regional visitors, you’re going to be providing exactly what they need.
  • Local keywords. Keywords unique to your local area tend to be less competitive than global keywords. Make sure you identify key local keywords, and use them in your content, meta properties, and image Alt-tags. This will go a long way toward improving your visibility.
  • Google Maps Optimization. If your business isn’t listed on Google Maps, that should be fixed as soon as possible. The Google Maps API allows you to integrate your Google Maps listing right into your mobile optimized web page. Once there, you can create positive content and integrate it into your map listing.

Important Statistics about Mobile Content Marketing in Mid-2018

First, let’s consider some of the reasons to optimize your web presence for mobile. In the past, this has meant creating an entirely unique mobile site for viewers on smaller screens, but today adaptive designs can be created so that one single website will work for mobile and desktop alike. In fact, today most web designers will recommend designing for mobile first, and creating an adaptive mobile design that also looks great on a desktop. Here are a few statistics regarding adaptive mobile optimization:

  1. As recently as March of 2017, 80% of the top sites on Alexa were mobile adaptive. If you have a website for your business and you want it to do well, it needs to look great on mobile.
  2. More than half – 51% – of 2016’s digital ad spend went toward mobile. Your competition is already targeting mobile, so mobile optimization is the least you can do to stay competitive.
  3. Mobile advertising will represent nearly three-quarters of all digital ad spend in the United States by next year. If you’re not moving into the mobile area today, you may well be invisible by this time

Those are all compelling reasons to start thinking about optimizing your content marketing strategies for mobile devices. However, before you get too excited about your advertising budget, remember that many, many people – 70% according to HubSpot – dislike mobile ads, and mobile ad-blocking has increased nearly 100%. What does this mean? Just putting ads out there isn’t the way to success on mobile. Instead, you need to rely on creating compelling, localized content for your web and social media presence, and focus on communicating rather than advertising – via your website, blog, social media, and email – yes, email.  In the last three years, mobile email opens has grown by 180% – people are opening emails on their smartphones they may not even look at on a desktop.

Another key component of a mobile marketing strategy is your search engine optimization. Around half of consumers begin mobile research with a search engine, and the overwhelming majority – 98% – of those users use Google. The second most popular mobile search engine is Yahoo at 2%, followed by Bing, bringing in 1%. Clearly, if you’re going to focus on one site for search engine optimization, Google is the one to focus on. This means that you shouldn’t just be optimizing for organic search results, but optimizing for Google on small screens. That means shorter titles, shorter and punchier meta descriptions, and a careful consideration of Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages).

Many companies wonder if it’s worth their while to consider a mobile app. Today apps do account for almost 90% of media time on mobile devices – however, that’s just for consuming media. When it comes to doing product research, most consumers begin with a branded website rather than an app. The reason? Navigating their research from a browser, consumers feel less likely to get biased results from their research. Consider these facts, and choose your mobile app options wisely. If you have a strong video content marketing strategy, an app may be a good place to showcase that.

When it comes to social media, mobile is where it’s at. A vast majority – 80% – of all social media time across all networks today is spent on mobile devices. As a result, make sure all of your social media content – graphics, thumbnail previews, even your longer status updates – look excellent on mobile. Just like with web design, optimize this for mobile first, as that is where most of the viewers are going to be.

Finally, it is useful to note that more than half of smartphone users look at their devices immediately after waking up. Why should you care about this? Well, when you schedule your content, social posts, or email communications, keep in mind that if you publish early in the mornings, you’ll stand a better chance of being seen.

Mobile Content and the Internet of Things

The “Internet of Things” is a term that you may have heard before, but lots don’t have a clear idea of what it means. The Internet of Things refers to the actual devices that are connected to the internet. That includes home PCs and our mobile devices, but also items like smart televisions in our living rooms, the vehicles we drive, and even some home appliances. Why bother thinking about the internet of things? Because when you do, it can change the way you think about content – especially mobile content.

Many content marketers develop content only considering how it stands up next to other content on the web, in social media, or in the inbox. However, in the IoT (the fancy abbreviation for Internet of Things), this content doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it exists in the context of the device that you’re viewing it on, the and all activity happening around you. Thinking about the internet of things can help you give your content something called contextual connectivity.

In terms of content, this means think smaller – the average desktop user will take a few seconds to skim your content before deciding if it’s worth reading further. On a large screen, a 2,000-word article is still skimmable if it’s organized well and has good subheads. On the mobile screen, 2,000 words may as well be Gone With the Wind. Mobile viewers are on the move, reading on a small screen while they have a cup of coffee, take a break while shopping, or sometimes (though they shouldn’t), during a lull in traffic. Your mobile content should be delivered in quickly digestible, bite-size chunks of 400-600 words – easily skimmable on a small screen, and entirely readable on a small screen if someone wishes to take the time. If you have a lot to say, you can take that 2,000 work piece and break it up into a series of posts, creating more pieces of content and ensuring that you’re accounting for the context of a small screen and the circumstances that surround them.

Best Tips for Mobile Content Marketing in Q3 and Q4 2018

Set goals. When you think about putting mobile first, what do you want to accomplish? Are you looking to increase foot traffic to a physical storefront? Trying to drive online sales? Looking for web traffic? Identify your target, set a reasonable goal, and work towards it.

Identify your audience. Nearly any marketer begins with a target audience in mind. Perhaps it’s the audience you know is already interacting with you, or perhaps you’re looking to broaden your horizons with new conquests from a new demographic. Either way, analytics tools allow you to see the proportion of your audience that’s interacting with you on mobile, along with some basic information, so you can plan accordingly.

It’s still all about the content. At the end of the day, content marketing is still all about the content, and a mobile-optimized website with lousy content won’t produce anything except jeers and visitor bounces. Your content should be responsive, and should take into account that mobile viewers see less of the content without scrolling. Put the most important information right up top, and entice the reader to scroll down the page to learn more. Bullet lists, short and engaging headlines and subheads will make your content easily skimmable. Images are always good, but make sure they’re nicely compressed and don’t add too much to page loading time.

At the end of the day, your mobile blog, site, search listing, and social content should make it as easy as possible for viewers to access your content, and your content should be short, sweet, and to the point.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has over 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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