Mobile First? Building a Marketing Strategy


Since the rise of the WAP mobile standard in the 1990s, every year, some mobile analyst has declared that this year would finally be THE year for mobile. But each year, though we got closer, mobile failed to deliver an experience that drove end users en masse to their mobile devices first. Now in 2015, following nearly 20 years of advancements in mobile hardware and software, we enjoy a rich, comprehensive and satisfying experience on mobile devices.

This fact was proven by mobile data from IBM in Q4 2014 that showed mobile drove more than half of all e-commerce shopping traffic. That’s why, if you’re marketing a consumer-focused business in 2015, you need to think of a mobile marketing strategy. Here are some critical pointers to consider in order to ensure that you have the most effective mobile marketing strategy:

1. Find your best audience: With over a million Android and iOS apps in the respective app stores, and hundreds added daily, finding the right users for your business can be like finding a needle in a haystack. But today, mobile marketers have access to the technology which enables them to find the right users based on devices used, usage patterns, interest as well as geographic and psychographic parameters. The algorithms used by mobile marketers enable analyzing millions of relevant usage data points in order to uncover the specific patterns for finding your best, most profitable users.

So what does your ‘best audience’ look like? If your business is selling jewelry, your ‘best audience’ might include users who have placed jewelry in their mobile shopping cart over the last two months and read at least five articles about fashion in the last month. And if your business is selling travel-related services, then your ‘best audience’ should include users who have booked a hotel room or airline ticket via their phone in the last 90 days and use their phone for other travel-related functionality, like booking a car service or restaurant during the last two weeks.

Though mobile user acquisition is most definitely a numbers game, one mistake many new mobile marketers make is settling for inexpensive users. Like with all things in life, you get what you pay for. Therefore, it’s important to test all sources of users, instead of settling for less expensive traffic. Even paying a penny per install for users who will never convert is still money wasted.

And pay attention to your traffic! A source that delivered your best, most profitable users three months ago might no longer be delivering the best users this month. That’s why it’s necessary to continuously test and optimize your user acquisition campaigns against current revenue metrics.

2. Share your data (with your tech vendors): As noted above, continuous optimization is necessary for successful and cost-effective mobile customer acquisition campaigns. And to ensure that your efforts are truly being optimized it’s important to share all relevant data with your tech vendor partners. Only with access to all of your campaign and client usage data will your tech vendors be able to correlate revenue generated per customer across all campaigns to determine which campaigns / devices / sources delivered the users with the greatest lifetime value.

For example, a campaign from six months ago might have delivered customers who ordered online within a week of downloading your app but with no additional purchases, while another campaign from three months ago might have delivered customers with small initial purchases which then grew each subsequent month. Therefore, it’s necessary to look at user performance across time in order to determine which efforts generate the users with the greatest lifetime value.

3. Be patient: We sometimes forget that app-centric mobile marketing as we know it has been around less than a decade – since the roll out of the iPhone in 2007. And it took a number of years for iPhones and then tablets to become mainstream devices.

Though mobile devices have had a number of ‘mobile firsts’ in the last six months, it will still take time before mainstream users become accustomed to using their mobile phones for tasks like banking or managing their home appliances. Therefore, we need to provide mainstream users with comprehensive support and understand that it will take a few more years before they change their offline and web-based behaviors and become totally proficient in mastering their mobile first world.


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