Commentary

Mobile Marketers Must Better Optimize On-The-Go Users

If you’ve been in digital marketing the past several years, chances are you’ve heard a dialogue similar to this at one time or another:

Executive: How is our mobile advertising going?

Team:  Not great. Conversion rates are bad, and we’re not even close to ROI (return on investment)-positive.

Executive: What can we do about it?

Team: Continue to improve the mobile user experience, of course!

No argument here. Marketers still have a lot of work to do in improving the mobile user experience. For many, this means optimizing the mechanics of the experience: e.g. mobile site optimization, making ads legible, etc.  But the mechanics alone don’t improve ROI. Even if your standard, desktop-friendly value proposition is delivered to perfection, chances are it’s just not the right time for that mobile user to purchase your product or service.

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There goes your ROI, right? Not necessarily.

Savvy digital marketers should take a cue from more traditional advertising channels and employ the situational aspect of “mobile user experience.” Mobile devices, after all, are primarily used while on-the-go: in line waiting for coffee, at the bus stop, or anywhere else not in front of a desktop, for instance.

The “R” in ROI doesn’t have to be limited to that moment on that device. Consider shifting the key conversion event to something more likely to be achieved for “on-the-go” mobile users – for example, an email submission, which is much easier to optimize than a purchase and consequently allows you to be more competitive in the advertising bidding marketplace.

Once this information is obtained, using more tried and true marketing tactics, such as email campaigns, provide multiple opportunities to message your products or services and do so at times that might be better suited for purchasing.

More mature advertising channels have already evolved to take into consideration the situational experience of their audience, whether it’s day-parting for direct-response TV ads, repeating a phone number multiple times during a radio commercial, or even the “simple” concept of showing relevant ads when proactively searching for something on the Internet.

The concept of the mobile device is already evolving, from Google Glass to smart watches. The better digital marketers can optimize for these “on-the-go” situational experiences versus the technical experiences, the better they will be prepared to take advantage of the next mass-scale mobile channel to emerge.
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