Post-PC devices like smartphones and tablets open new doors in the marketing world. They offer increased reach, location-based services, and time-sensitive offers. They also present certain challenges for digital marketers.
Consider the following:
- A majority of emails are now opened on mobile, accounting for 51% of all email opens. (Source: Litmus)
- Forty nine percent of mobile and tablet users conduct local business searches on apps. (Source: SnapHop)
- In 2013, mobile payments worldwide increased 44% to $235.4 billion. (Source: Gartner)
- Mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times as often as traditional coupons. (Source: Borrell Associates)
- In-store offers will account for more than 40% of indoor location technology revenues in 2017. (Source: ABI Research)
Smart marketers must therefore focus on and create a multichannel digital marketing strategy that includes mobile.
Apple spawned a revolution in mobile back in 2007 with its first release of what would eventually come to be known as the iOS ecosystem. It was then quickly mirrored and followed by Android and Windows. Daily Android activations have grown to 1.5 million and Google Play surpassed 50 billion downloads back in July 2013.
The rise of smart devices makes this a big driving factor. Mobile is the best place for a brand to engage with its consumers to deliver relevant content at a relevant time. It’s the perfect channel in which to consume bite-sized information, for example personalized catalogs and coupons. The growth also shows no signs of cooling down. According to research by IDC, smartphone shipments increased by 38.4 percent last year—from 725 million units in 2012.
As most smartphones are enabled with GPS chips, pinpointing your customer’s location is a no brainer. Retailers in particular can take advantage of this to deliver geo-specific coupons and offers which give marketers a great opportunity connect with customers during their downtime.
Consider these factors when designing and delivering rich content and user experiences over mobile:
1. Platform (iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry/BB10)
Your choice of a mobile platform should reflect the following—
a) Audience: Targeting iOS and Android will give you access to almost 90% of users no matter where you are. That’s a smart choice.
b) Budget: If budget is a factor, I say choose iOS over Android. The Android ecosystem is far too fragmented (manufacturers, screen sizes, OS flavors, feature implementation, etc.) to qualify as a first choice. But consider geography as well (see next item).
c) Geography: If your target market is the U.S., then iOS makes sense. However, in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Android or even RIM and Windows make for better alternatives.
2. Devices (Phones, Tablets…or Phablets)
Your device and content strategy go hand in hand. Are you a magazine publisher, a gaming company, or a social app? Your content should drive the choice of device you target, for example, phones, tablets, or perhaps even “phablets.” The chart below illustrates several content device scenarios.
3. Device orientation (Portrait or landscape)
Although all devices will render your content in either portrait or landscape, as a content creator you have the choice to lock the orientation to deliver the best experience. For example, YouTube video content is best delivered in landscape mode, while FlipBoard (for iPhone) works only in Portrait. If you choose to let the orientation defined by the user (i.e. device) you must consider a responsive design/layout for your website and/or app.
4. Device Resolution (Ultra high-def or retina)
Consider the different resolutions on the many devices available on the market now. Then, once your head stops spinning, take a deep breath and relax. The rule of thumb is to create and render a set of digital assets for the phone and tablet. Then deliver the assets in a format that’s best suited for the device at the time of rendering. In any case, be sure to work with a Web designer that understands the subtle nuances of DPI, PPI, pixel density, retina displays, etc.
5. Apps? (Native apps or HTML5)
Another thing to consider is whether to go with a native iOS, Android, Windows app or whether to develop an HTML5 version. There are several considerations including the ones highlighted below.
The challenge is balancing these factors while creating a mobile strategy that best fits your organization’s campaign goals and objectives. Whether your strategy is mobile first, or simply “mobile in mind,” be aware of changes in the mobile landscape that will impact your organization’s goals and the overall customer experience.
Nirmal Parikh is the founder of Digital Wavefront, a Boston-based company that offers performance-focused technology solutions for web, email, social and mobile.