Separating Mobile Leaders From The Laggards

Let’s give a round of applause to brands like Best Buy, Patagonia, and Kohl’s, which are really getting mobile right.

As outlined in by L2’s latest Intelligence report, these guys are matching strong investments in content and commerce with aggressive mobile marketing initiatives.

They’re regularly incorporating deep links in mobile search results, deploying strong mobile creative, and executing sophisticated content features effectively on mobile sites and apps.

Their store locators not only guide customers to brick-and-mortar locations, but also promote omnichannel services -- thus successfully using mobile as a conduit to support e-commerce and in-store shoppers alike.

To benchmark mobile strategies holistically, L2 plots brands on a two-dimensional grid based on the performance of their mobile content (including mobile sites and apps), and their marketing investments (including email, search, and display).

Based on their performance across 324 data points, brands are then deemed to be leaders, content-first brands, marketing-first brands, or laggards.



This year, Glossier, Sephora, and Gap ranked as content-first brands, because they prioritize mobile content over mobile marketing. They let shoppers access a range of features on mobile, including product videos, account functionality, and store locators. Additionally, they adapt existing content for a mobile environment, and deploy innovative new features designed specifically for mobile.

New Balance, Nine West and Pier One Imports set themselves apart as marketing-first brands by investing in mobile search and a variety of paid media formats to fuel conversion. By L2’s reckoning, they also understand the intricacies of geo-targeting as a means for retargeting.

Showing other brands how not to approach mobile, Sears, Acer, and Prada made the laggards list this year.

Laggards achieved below-average performance in content and marketing. As a group, they have not devised a sound mobile branding strategy, and are missing key features on their site and apps. They also fail to optimize search and email, neglect to tailor their content to specific mobile audiences, and seldom link to their mobile properties from marketing channels.

Yet just because your brand isn’t on the laggard list doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. No mobile marketing strategy is perfect. For example, while 98% of brands still use a site header, half sacrifice site navigation by failing to anchor it persistently, L2 finds.

Additionally, many mobile apps still fail to provide value beyond push notifications with features like loyalty integration, mobile wallets, and TouchID.

Across the board, display ads on mobile still lack the sophistication of their desktop counterparts, while too many brands still rely on top-of-funnel advertising tactics rather than driving conversions directly.

Want to make the leaderboard -- and avoid the laggard list -- next year?

First, understand that features like store locators, search bars, and live chat will no longer set you apart. It’s now necessary to enhance these features with mobile-specific functionality.

Successful apps differentiate themselves from mobile sites with frequent revisions and updates, compelling omnichannel features, and seamless loyalty integration, L2 advises.

As the research firm declares, expediency is now the ultimate currency on mobile platforms. On mobile sites and apps, brands must invest in single-page checkout to maximize conversions. On email, subject lines should be short enough to display in full on mobile screens.

Also, don’t neglect to tailor your email, search, and display marketing to target specific mobile user segments. Creatives should include deep links to a brand’s full range of mobile properties, including apps.

Got it? Well, we’ll see who heeds these suggestions this time next year.

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