As we reach mid-2021, nearly 40% of our clients’ over 58 million website sessions has come from mobile devices. During the peak of the pandemic, mobile usage dropped as people stayed home and spent more time on their desktops, but it’s clear that trend is over. As we head back out into the world our mobile devices often become our primary gateway to the internet. In this article we’ll focus on three concepts that can help you make the most of your mobile user activity:

  • Understanding the nuances of your mobile user activity
  • Enhancing your mobile ad strategy
  • Is it time for an app?

Aligning your content (and expectations) with mobile user traffic

Mobile users don’t behave in the same way as desktop users, and you shouldn’t expect the same results. Imagine that you’re sitting at your desk daydreaming about your next vacation – so you grab your phone and type “beach vacation spots.” You then bounce around from site to site, do a few more searches and eventually turn back to the task you were originally focused on. This effort got your thinking started, and you’ll remember some of what you initially found when you really dive into travel planning later – but you did not (nor did you intend to) book a flight, hotel, etc. On the flip side, there are now an array of marketing departments looking at traffic within their analytics data, wondering why their bounce rates are going up (remember we’re seeing more mobile usage now) and are now scrambling to make their site more engaging.

The first step to addressing this issue is to segment in your analytics data to identify mobile vs. desktop session activity. In this example you can see that mobile visitors were 20x more likely to contact via phone, where as desktop users were 3x more likely to fill out a form. (This data is from a site that gets nearly 70% mobile traffic). Once you’ve started to look at the visitors via these segments you’ll be able to get a better understanding of how they differ in engagement and begin to make plans to measure and build plans to improve the impact.

Enhancing your mobile ad strategy

In the last section, we focused on the web visitors you already have; the next step is to focus on how you’re attracting people. Again, using the analytics data you can see how visitors are getting to your site and identify what they do when they get there, but you also need to think about what attracted them in the first place. It’s common for ad messaging to be consistent across device platforms, but imagine how much more impactful it can be if you address the needs of the prospect based on their device. Let’s jump back to the travel example from before – most of the interactions in that experience were based on search activity. The first thing you’ll want to do is take a look at your paid search ads. For “beach vacations” ads that lead with “Book your vacation to Aruba” aren’t going to get a lot of response from someone just trying to find out where they might want to visit as compared to an ad that leads with “Check out Aruba’s beaches.” Of course, aligning keywords and ad copy is a well-known best practice (and has less to do with the device they are on) so the next step is to review your display and social efforts. With your display ads, make sure your mobile messaging is more top of funnel and that your landing pages align with the messaging. Any calls to action for mobile visitors should be easy for the user to complete (for example: provide an email to receive a travel guide) instead of asking for a lot of details from the visitors. Most of your social traffic will be mobile as well, so apply the same rules for mobile. Most importantly, don’t forget the opportunities remarketing provide. Remarketing ads are designed to re-engage prospects who’ve already been to your site – so be sure to use messaging that includes a second step action – don’t run the same ad that originally attracted them.

Is it time for a mobile app?

Depending on which source you read, the average smartphone user has 80 or so apps on their phone, but only uses 8-10 of them in the average day and fewer than 30 apps in the average month – yet there are somewhere in the range of 3-4 million apps available in each of the Apple App Store/Google Play Store. A simple guideline to deciding to build an app is asking the question: Will this app provide ongoing long-term value/benefit to the user they can’t get elsewhere? If you truly believe you meet these criteria, go ahead and start the process (and be sure to utilize the new Google Analytics 4 that allows for both mobile and app tracking). However, if you’re like most businesses and the answer is no, it’s time to focus on how your site looks and acts for a mobile visitor. As basic as this sounds, the first step is to simply visit your site on your smartphone (and ask a friend who has a different type to take a look as well). Take a look at the content (and focus specifically on your top entry pages for mobile visitors) – if it’s a bad experience, it’s time to work on your website. It’s also a good idea to take a look at Google PageSpeed Insights as speed and user experience are part of Google’s Core Web Vitals score that are now being factored into their search ranking algorithm.

Where to go from here

We spent a lot of years “waiting for the year of mobile”  (for a throwback – check out our “Where” may be more important than “Who” – published in 2012) – while that ship has sailed – there’s still a lot that marketers need to be thinking about when it comes to their mobile audiences. So whether you’re a B2B marketer with 30% – 40% mobile traffic – or a retail consumer marketer with 60% – 80% mobile traffic, now’s the time to take a fresh look. If you’re one of our current clients, expect to hear more about the mobile topic in the months to come. For new/prospective clients, we’d love to help you take a look at the impact mobile is having on your digital presence. Contact us or book a meeting directly with Peter Platt to arrange an initial discussion.

About the Author: Peter Platt

Peter is a 30-year veteran of the agency business and has been involved in Internet marketing since the early 1990s. He was also one of the first 100 people certified in the Google AdWords program in 2004. Peter’s experience brings together a unique combination of business development, account management, technology and strategic planning skills. Peter provides an active voice to the internet marketing community, blogging and writing for iMedia, presenting at an array of conferences (including MediaPost & iMedia) as well as providing specific sessions on social, search and other forms of internet marketing.