There’s a good chance you’re reading this on your phone. Like many people, I have become somewhat addicted to my smartphone, multi-tasking my way through the day with Siri, while I watch television, listen to the radio, use my laptop or tablet, commute, shop, you name it. I even use its other functions while I chat on the phone! The latest data indicate I am not alone.
According to Google’s Our Mobile Planet report released in May, smartphones have become so indispensable to our daily lives that 80% never leave home without their phones in hand. And another study found that most Americans would be more willing to give up chocolate, or even coffee for a week than go without their smartphones.
Savvy marketers know our intimate relationship with these devices can provide an ideal way to connect with people, but with 88% of users ignoring in-app ads, and 79% finding them to be “intrusive,” the challenge is to adopt a fresh approach that effectively engages mobile users in a more natural way. Here are a few ideas I have come up with, after seeing how some brands and companies are achieving success:
Connect in the moment. Keep in mind that mobile has become a way to seamlessly connect our physical and digital worlds. It can be a highly effective vehicle if you focus on what would be the most relevant to a person given the context in which they are using their phone. For example, if you are promoting a new movie on a billboard in an airport, bus shelter, or train station, smartphone users might watch a movie trailer while waiting, customers might be less likely to purchase their tickets at that time. If, however, you are advertising on a Friday evening radio show or weekend newspaper edition, while they are deciding what to do this weekend, include a special offer, such as a free popcorn or soda if they find the nearest theater and click-through to get their tickets on the spot.
Leverage location. There has been a great deal of buzz about the blend of mobile with social and local. Location matters. Use geo-targeting functionality to customize content based on a caller's location, providing helpful content or relevant deals.
Make it shareable. Create content that people can easily share via their networks and incentivize them for doing so. For that movie offer, consider offering an extra ticket for inviting 10 friends via Facebook or Twitter.
Make it simple. We're impatient – a couple extra clicks or seconds to wait for a text response or for a mobile web page to load is often all it takes for someone to abandon engaging with a campaign they finding interesting. Remove extensive navigation or barriers for them to see your content or read about your offer. For example, it is anticipated that 1.5 billion camera phones will be in market by year’s end. Marketers should not require a camera to access a site –there are faster, simpler ways to do that. Instead, imagery should be integral to the experience, such as submitting a photo to enter a contest.
Inspire people to action. Call-to-action (CTA) to be exact. CTAs aren’t just the latest buzzword –they are the key to unlock the marketing potential of a mobile phone. Provide valuable offers and compelling content. Be clear, concise, and compelling. Get creative. You can reach people with a mobile CTA in-show, on wallscape, even a coffee cup.
Have a little fun. Leverage the camera function, and other mobile capabilities to deliver immersive experiences and, by all means, make it enjoyable. Our data indicate that consumers are ready to play games, enter sweepstakes and even do scavenger hunts. While mobile users are increasingly using their phones as a lifestyle and work management tools, they are also spending an increasingly considerable amount of time with leisure activities, including entertainment.
Connect across media. Many brands are finding the most effective way to reach consumers on the go is through traditional media channels. The majority of mobile phone users are now “connected viewers”—meaning they use their phones while watching television, so broadcasters are finding new ways to get people engaging programs. Check out the “Breaking Bad” timed story synced to coincide with airings of the show, with content that enhances the live viewing experience, which has driven both buzz and ratings for the hit show.
MTV's WatchWith app pushes content from a user's social network blended with “best-of” conversations happening online, enabling the viewer to watch the show at their convenience, with friends, while commenting on the content. MTV also offers Live and Local, a location-based music event app that connects users to concerts they may be interested in based on their phone playlists, access venue information, purchase tickets, and add the events into their mobile calendars. Optimize the experience based on new smartphone functionality. Make people's lives easier and they will engage with you more often.
Use meaningful metrics. Get beyond counting click-throughs and your number of likes. Measure the depth of interactions, awareness and engagement. Ultimately, your mobile return on investment should connect with sales generated and the achievement of other key business goals.
Get back to basics. Don’t forget about my mom and dad, who are part of the nearly half the marketplace still using basic mobile phones. Broaden the reach of your campaigns by offering device-targeted experiences, with simple voice or text only experiences that work on all phones. These days, my parents go to the movies more often than I do. I just watch the trailers on my smartphone while on-the-go.