Mobile marketing is all the rage at the moment. It seems that every day another startup emerges with the word “mob” or “mobi” in its name.
While I firmly believe that mobile marketing is the immediate future of digital media, the landscape for marketers and brands is exceptionally challenging. Recent data from eMarketer indicate that 115 million people in the United States — 43% of the total population — own a smartphone. That number is projected to reach 200 million users, or 60% penetration, by 2016.
Marketers who aren’t building mobile-friendly website or landing pages will soon find themselves missing out on revenue opportunities from almost two-thirds of American Internet users.
The explosive growth of smartphones has presented a number of perplexing challenges for performance marketers. There is a lack of scalable mobile lead-gen programs. Few brands have a clear definition of their mobile user or a coherent mobile strategy. Advertisers aren’t always equipped to manage the mobile traffic channel. And quality is often no better than co-reg.
These issues are leading to inefficient mobile lead-gen traffic that further complicates an already messy formula for consistent return on investment in mobile marketing campaigns.
Effective mobile lead-gen programs require that advertisers and marketers take the following into consideration:
1. Define your mobile strategy. This is critical to define upfront, as there are many mobile marketing options to consider. Marketers can generate leads or conduct branding efforts across mobile sites via banner advertising, build and distribute apps for e-commerce generation or CRM efforts, or simply convert desktop websites to mobile-friendly versions optimized for smartphones and tablets. Marketers need to plan their mobile development efforts strategically, as each requires proper resource planning and effort.
2. Separate and manage the channel. Allocate a reasonable budget -- such as $10,000 -- for testing a campaign. Then recognize that mobile affords brands the power and luxury of having a real-time audience to engage as soon as they visit a site. Code the mobile site URL differently from its desktop version, so mobile traffic can be parsed appropriately and routed to the company’s call center or CRM team. Mobile lead-gen requires agility in order to capitalize on consumers’ fleeting and sporadic searches via smartphones. These users require immediate follow-up by the brand to maximize the chances of converting them to customers.
3. Price quality appropriately. Mobile traffic can often be high volume and low quality, but like traditional online lead-gen, there is always a right price. Consider paying more for a full-form, or much less for a short-form lead-gen program with dedicated call-center verification. Be especially careful on pay-per-click campaigns since the “fat finger effect” leads many smartphone users to accidentally click on a banner ad.
Performance marketers are particularly adept at taking advantage of the immense opportunities offered by mobile marketing. Our entrepreneurial style needs to be applied to deliver real results and profits, as the mobile space is experiencing far less ROI certainty than traditional online advertising.
Digital marketers have a responsibility to make mobile marketing work for both advertisers and consumers. Frankly, we don’t have a choice in an increasingly portable world.