Mobile Marketing Bootcamp: 8 Takeaways

Mobile Marketing Bootcamp: 8 Takeaways

The impact of mobile is growing and with it are new opportunities for retailers to grow their business and reach new and larger audiences. Most consumers own at least one mobile device, whether it be a smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc., and more than likely they’re using it to shop. Because of this, marketers must adapt and find new ways to target their audiences.

Below is a list of 8 mobile marketing takeaways from NetElixir’s Mobile Marketing Bootcamp that any marketer or business owner can use to help embrace the growing trend of mobile marketing.

1. Mobile is More than Just a Channel

Mobile isn’t just a channel, it’s an extension of the connected customer. There are 4 basic channels: desktop, android, iPhone, and tablet, and mobile isn’t its own separate channel like some people believe. Mobile is the adjective that describes an alloy of connected hardware, places, and things as well as their associated context. Mobile gives people 24/7 access to information across multiple devices and throughout multiple locations, and because of this, it’s growing faster than ever as a way to communicate and more. 

Mobile helps people know, go, do, and buy more. People are using mobile to search for information, to search for places near them, to search for ideas of things to do, and most importantly, to search for information on products they’re thinking about buying. Entrepreneurs and marketers need to take this into account. Because people are so connected to mobile, mobile should be integrated within all aspects of your retail experience (including mobile in-store, with promotions, in advertising, in e-commerce, and more). 

2. Mobile Should be Used to Target Customers and Generate Leads

In addition to mobile being an extension of the 4 traditional channels, mobile is also still heavily involved at the top of the funnel. This means that mobile should be used to both target customers and generate leads in order to convert the leads into customers. In order to do this, you need to understand some things about customer behavior, especially when it comes to mobile vs. desktop. NetElixir’s research shows surprising differences in mobile vs. desktop customers. 

For example, in apparel, the average length for a keyword search on mobile was 2.1 vs. 2.9 on desktop. This shows that people are searching for broader terms when using mobile, and so this is something that retailers should take into account. Furthermore, in apparel, 19% of purchases happen in 24 hours on mobile compared to 69% on desktop. It seems that consumers are using mobile to search and research products, but that they turn to desktop when looking to make an actual conversion. Buying times also differ from desktop to mobile as do the types of products that sell on both devices.

The takeaway for retailers is that you should be incorporating mobile-specific shopping campaigns. You can’t expect the same strategies you use for a desktop to be effective for your mobile customers, because the research shows they won’t be. You should be targeting different products to promote and sell on your desktop website vs. your mobile site, and you may want to incorporate different bid strategies as well depending on which customer you’re trying to target and what your overall goals are. One thing you can do to aid in this area is to collect data on your customers and then use Journey Analytics to analyze their behavior and motivations. Journey Analytics is “a practice that combines qualitative and quantitative data to analyze behavior and motivation across touchpoints and overtime in order to optimize customer interactions and predict future behaviors.” Utilizing this practice will not only produce insightful and accurate results, but it will also save marketers time and money spent trying to analyze and then integrate the data into their marketing strategy on their own.

3. Mobile Purchases are More Valuable Than Desktop

One takeaway you might receive from Journey Analytics is that mobile purchases tend to be more valuable than those made from a desktop device. Mobile is growing much faster than desktop. A few stats we uncovered: 

  • On average, mobile is showing a 4% growth per month, which averages 42% throughout the course of a year. 
  • A desktop is only averaging a 2% increase over a year.  
  • Additionally, the average purchase order size dropped by 3% on desktop, and yet mobile saw a 10% increase.  

So while more purchases may be made on a desktop currently, we can surely expect this to change in the coming months and retailers’ marketing strategies should reflect this.  

NetElixir used the food delivery service FreshDirect to demonstrate this point. FreshDirect delivers farm-fresh food to the doors of over 1 million customers, and they owe a large part of their success to the fact that they’ve recognized the importance of mobile in their business plan and marketing strategy. Their data has shown that mobile orders increased across all days of the year since they implemented a FreshDirect mobile app. This is because the mobile customer is less cost-conscious and more time conscious; they’re opting to pay a higher premium to receive what they want and need “now”.

When it comes to FreshDirect specifically, customers seem to be using both desktop websites and mobile for shopping experiences, depending on what they’re trying to accomplish. The data has shown that they start a purchase on desktop but then add to it using mobile. It seems that customers depend mostly on mobile for reorders. FreshDirect also found that they attract more new visitors with their desktop website and more returning visitors with their mobile app. It’s information like this about customer behavior and desktop vs. mobile that has really allowed Fresh Direct to grow as a business. They’ve taken the time to learn about their customers so that they can tailor their marketing strategies to their target audience in order to generate more leads and conversions.

4. Search Engines are Betting Big on Mobile-First…and You Should Too

Another thing you can do in addition to knowing the behavior of your target audience is to read up on and understand what a “mobile-first” index is. In the next couple of years, Google announced it will be prioritizing mobile content over desktop content as it transitions to mobile-first, and it’s imperative that marketers and business owners are prepared for this. Google has recognized that the majority of searches are performed on mobile devices, and they want their index and search results to reflect that, so they’ve started prioritizing mobile content when determining rankings. We can assume that while this is currently a gradual transition, it’s most likely going to become a permanent change down the road.

One way you can be prepared for mobile-first is to make sure your mobile app is created with a responsive design. Responsive sites should prioritize content that is snackable, intuitive, and easy to read on smaller screens.  Furthermore, you’ll want to avoid Flash elements as most users can’t optimally view these on their phones. Instead, stick with HTML 5 or Java in order to incorporate those extra elements that make your site stand out. Try not to incorporate a lot of popups (or any) because users will become frustrated and will leave your site, thereby increasing your bounce rate and decreasing your rankings. 

Note: Finally, make sure your site has been designed with a user’s finger in mind. People need to be able to scroll, tap, and open pages with ease using only their fingers. As long as your mobile site is responsive you should be in good shape for Google’s switch, and you’ll be rewarded instead of punished when it comes to your SEO rankings.

5. Mobile Website Performance is More Important than Ever

In case it hasn’t been clear up to this point, retailers should be focusing on their mobile website performance. The core principles of great user experience are speed and intuitive design and functionality. Smartphones are performance constrained due to the fact that they’re dependent on cellular networks and not broadband, and so speed can be a tricky element to get a handle on. Couple that with the high expectations of users (consumers don’t have time to wait and don’t want to wait) and you have some lofty goals to achieve.  

Once again, NetElixir came up with some alarming statistics about mobile speed:  

  • 46% of consumers say slow loading websites are what they dislike most when browsing the mobile web. Each 1-second delay in load time can result in a ~2.1% decrease in cart size.  
  • Mobile pages that load 1s faster see up to a 27% increase in CVR (increase in revenue).
  • As we stated above, speed also reduces a site’s bounce rate significantly. Because of this and more, you should be aiming for a loading time of under 3 seconds.  

A few ways to drastically improve speed include optimizing images, minifying resources, loading scripts asynchronously, and minimizing redirects.  You can also manipulate the user’s perception of speed based on which images you choose to show above the fold vs. below the fold (aka the content that appears immediately while a site is loading without requiring the user to scroll).

Both users and Google are happy when valuable content shows up above the fold, so this is a good place to put your main content and any CTAs you plan to use. This also gives the users the perception that your site is loading faster than it really is.

6. Requests and Page Weights Matter 

In addition to a website’s speed index, some metrics that matter include requests and page weight. Requests refer to how many resources are loaded by the page. You want to aim for under 75 requests for optimal web performance. Page weight is the size of all the data on the page. It’s good to shoot for pages under 1MB on mobile. Both of these things have a significant impact on your site’s loading time and performance speed and will directly impact your rate of conversions and customer bounce rate.

Extra Tip: Mobile design is just as important as speed, if not more. We discussed responsive design above and this should definitely be the format you follow when considering the layout and functionality of your website or app. That being said, the design of mobile apps should not be drastically different from the desktop website layout. Your site design is a direct reflection of your brand and should be consistent throughout all your marketing products, from websites to mobile apps to emails and newsletters. A customer should not visit your desktop site and then switch over to mobile and think that they accidentally landed on a site for another store. Try to keep all fonts, colors, images, etc. consistent from one device to the next.

7. Mobile and Local Have High Cross-Over Potential

An important mobile bootcamp takeaway is that there is a high potential for crossover between mobile and local searches, and the more retailers recognize this and adapt to it the better off they’ll be. There has been a dramatic increase of “near me” searches in the past year. A few statistics: 

  • 76% of consumers who conduct a local search visit a store within a day. 
  • There’s been an incredible growth in in-store mobile searches. Department and electronics stores saw a 30% increase and home improvement stores saw an increase of 40%. 
  • Mobile searches help people make decisions, and as discussed in the bootcamp, consumers are 57% more likely to actually visit a store if they’ve searched for it on mobile. Retailers should anticipate this and come up with a marketing strategy to target local audiences.

One suggestion would be to serve hyper-local ads to connect the dots between mobile “near me” searches and in-store visits. This works well for companies like Sears who drive local traffic by targeting consumers with local inventory ads. There are several different ways to target audiences with hyper-local advertising: by utilizing a basic radius, through retargeting, and with contextual targeting. If you choose to use a basic radius, you can just create a zone around a GPS coordinate and then target anyone who passes through that zone. This is particularly helpful if you know where your target audience likes to hang out. It’s also good to set up a zone around where your physical store location exists in order to drive foot traffic. You can use a traditional retargeting strategy to contact users who have left cookies after visiting websites (where again it’s helpful to understand mobile user behavior), or you can make an attempt at contextual targeting which uses characteristics about the physical location where the mobile user exists. 

You can use features such as the type of location, demographics like gender and ethnicity, or socioeconomic status of the people who live in that area, but however you choose to do it, it’s a good idea to incorporate some type of local marketing strategy in order to capitalize on all those people who are probably doing a local search of your business and could potentially show up in person to make a purchase.

8. Retail Stores Are Still relevant but Are Being Influenced by Mobile

In the same way that there is potential for crossover between local searches and mobile, retail stores are also being influenced by mobile. Some may think that the rise of mobile means that brick and mortar stores are a thing of the past, but as of right now this doesn’t seem to be the case. Currently, 93% of retail sales happen in stores, and 64% of in-store purchases in the US are influenced by digital. We stated before that in-store searches, also known as “showrooming”, increased exponentially in department, electronics, and home improvement stores last year. This means that while consumers are certainly still dependent on mobile to get information, they’re using it as a guide to lead them to retail stores where they make the actual conversion. Mobile is aiding retail sales as opposed to replacing them entirely.

Consumers who use a variety of methods of shopping are known as “omni-channel” consumers, and they should absolutely be targeted with specific marketing strategies. Furthermore, the impact of omni-channel shoppers should be measured using a tool like Google Analytics so you can determine whether your targeted efforts are making a difference. Fashion brand Petit Bateau embraced omni-channel shoppers and saw increases in their ROI and in-store conversions (as you can see in the screenshot below).

Another example is fashion retail giant Macy’s who saw 8x more value in targeting omni-channel customers as opposed to separate channel customers.  Makeup retailer Sephora used Google’s local inventory ads to target omni-channel clients who were looking for specific products and they saw an 8:1 ratio for their return on advertising for every $1 spent on the local ads.  In general, retailers should be capitalizing on this opportunity to bid more aggressively on searches within their stores to secure omni-channel purchases.

The Takeaway 

Hopefully, you’ve learned something from these 8 mobile bootcamp takeaways and are more prepared to better understand the mobile customer as well as incorporate mobile strategies into your company’s marketing plan. Mobile is the way of the future and will only continue to have a large impact on both in-store and online sales in the days to come. Smart business owners will recognize this and begin thinking now of ways to embrace mobile-first strategies in order to increase conversions and run a successful company.

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