Mobile Content Marketing: Understanding User Intent

Does your brand have a mobile con­tent strat­e­gy?

Katie Bennett By Katie Bennett from White.net. Join the discussion » 0 comments

On May 5 Google announced that the num­ber of search­es on mobile had final­ly grown larg­er than those on desk­top. The grow­ing use of mobile devices for search­ing and find­ing infor­ma­tion has forced brands and mar­keters to re-eval­u­ate how to bet­ter engage with mobile users.


More peo­ple are using smart­phones and tablets to access the web. That means con­tent, which used to be pre­sent­ed pri­mar­i­ly for desk­top users, must suit mobile users, too.

Although a high pro­por­tion of users search on their mobile devices at home and at work, bounce rates are 9 per­cent high­er on aver­age. So what does that mean?

Either our con­tent just isn’t per­form­ing well on mobile, or per­haps our land­ing pages are so good that users are going from search result page to web page and instant­ly find­ing the infor­ma­tion they need then con­tin­u­ing about their day. Most of us can relate to this – how often have you Googled a film to find the name of an actor, gone straight to IMDb, and then resumed your con­ver­sa­tion?

The appear­ance of Knowl­edge Graph results in Google’s search results should slow­ly reduce the vol­ume of bounces on a site, so if we don’t start to see this mobile bounce rate decline then it will become clear that this is the result of just poor­ly for­mat­ted con­tent.

In order to be proac­tive in our mar­ket­ing we need to deter­mine what kind of con­tent makes sense to users on mobile. To do this we first need to under­stand what the user intent is.

1. Focus On Understanding Mobile Intent

Search­es con­duct­ed on mobile devices and search­es con­duct­ed on desk­top com­put­ers are dif­fer­ent moments at which you can reach and influ­ence con­sumers. This means the con­tent you pro­duce for mobile must be based on a deep­er under­stand­ing of the user and their behav­ior while on those devices.

A high per­cent­age of mobile search­es are aimed at find­ing a quick answer, com­pared with using a desk­top to car­ry out exten­sive research, mean­ing the time between the pri­ma­ry point of intent and action is like­ly to be short­er on a smart­phone.

If your goal is to reach more mobile con­sumers, you have a small­er win­dow of time to engage with them and dri­ve the con­ver­sions you’re look­ing for.

Think about when peo­ple use a smart­phone. Often it’s while they’re on the move or in an infor­mal set­ting.

The amount of time peo­ple will spend on their smart­phone is far less. Phone bat­ter­ies have a ten­den­cy to decline pret­ty quick­ly. Peo­ple are inter­rupt­ed in social sit­u­a­tions. Long mobile brows­ing is rare.

The ele­ment of time also plays into the types of prod­ucts that are researched on devices.

Let’s take cars as an exam­ple. Con­sumers spend an exten­sive amount of time research­ing cars on a desk­top (e.g., man­u­fac­tur­ers, mod­els). But on mobile, con­sumers gen­er­al­ly are seek­ing price com­par­i­son infor­ma­tion. Accord­ing to Placed Inc, 63 per­cent of those shop­ping for a car used their smart­phones to research, com­pare prices and mod­els, and make deci­sions when they are actu­al­ly at the deal­er­ship.

On a desk­top, user intent is rel­a­tive­ly easy to gath­er, inter­pret, and use for effec­tive mar­ket­ing. Under­stand­ing user intent on mobile is more dif­fi­cult. For exam­ple, you don’t know if your user is engaged in the con­tent or is flick­ing through the screens while talk­ing to a friend.

2. Focus On Localized Content

Every day peo­ple con­duct local search­es to find the near­est restau­rant, hair­dress­er, Star­bucks – you name it. But what do con­sumers search for when they want to find things near­by? And what poten­tial does this hold for mar­keters?

Accord­ing to a Google sur­vey, look­ing into local­ized user intent, more con­sumers who used smart­phones to search led to a pur­chase with­in a day com­pared with only 7 per­cent who used non-local search­es.

Hav­ing a web­site that is mobile-friend­ly and local­ly opti­mized is crit­i­cal. Smart­phones allow quick access to local infor­ma­tion. Ensur­ing your site meets those require­ments can only be ben­e­fi­cial.

So how do you dis­cov­er what your con­sumers are search­ing for local­ly? One easy method is to use Google Trends.

Google Trends lets you research local search trends by geo­graph­i­cal area. Sim­ply enter the search terms you’re look­ing to tar­get in your con­tent efforts and choose a geo­graph­i­cal loca­tion to get some valu­able com­pet­i­tive per­for­mance insight.

Let’s look at an exam­ple of “mobile mar­ket­ing” and “online mar­ket­ing” and choose the Unit­ed King­dom.

So if you’re tar­get­ing cus­tomers in North­ern Ire­land, it will be more impact­ful for you to use the term “online mar­ket­ing” with­in your con­tent. Insight such as this can be high­ly advan­ta­geous, as local­ized search terms are less com­pet­i­tive than the glob­al ones.

Con­fig­ur­ing Google Alerts will allow you to receive reg­u­lar updates on trend­ing region­al top­ics, pro­vid­ing some insight into new con­tent top­ics. You can take this a step fur­ther by doing things like scrap­ing Face­book groups about local areas to see the top­ics peo­ple are dis­cussing, or build­ing Twit­ter lists of influ­en­tial accounts in each main area to deter­mine the main trends or phras­es used.

3. Mobile Conversion Points

Down­load­ing a PDF guide or sign­ing up for a newslet­ter are two desired con­ver­sion points for con­tent mar­keters, but mobile devices aren’t nat­u­ral­ly suit­ed for users com­plet­ing these tasks. These actions gen­er­al­ly involve com­plet­ing forms, which can be dif­fi­cult to view or com­plete on small­er device screens.

It’s vital to define real­is­tic con­ver­sion goals as part of your over­all con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy.

On the plus side, on mobile a user rarely signs out of their accounts. If you’re tar­get­ing some­thing on social, then the like­li­hood of users being signed in and able to instant­ly like or engage with your brand is extreme­ly high.

If you must use web forms on mobile, make sure you only ask users infor­ma­tion you absolute­ly require so you don’t waste users’ time. If you want to boost mobile con­ver­sions, keep forms sim­ple or use 1-click check­outs for return­ing cus­tomers. It might be help­ful to use auto-pop­u­lat­ed fields or drop down menus wher­ev­er pos­si­ble com­pared with text fields.

There are ways to offer mobile users a more seam­less expe­ri­ence and reduce the num­ber of peo­ple aban­don­ing the site or their shop­ping cart. For exam­ple, sug­gest­ing the address in Google Maps plu­g­in while users are fill­ing out ship­ping address infor­ma­tion or using a cal­en­dar instead of numer­ic dates for a more visu­al dis­play.

4. Leveraging Video Marketing

If we were five years into the future, would you be read­ing this arti­cle or would you be watch­ing it? As online video con­tin­ues its inim­itable rise, it’s an inter­est­ing ques­tion to pon­der.

The growth in mobile device tech­nol­o­gy, broad­band cov­er­age, and 4G ser­vices (as well as the size of device screens) are just a few of the obvi­ous dri­ving forces behind the pop­u­lar­i­ty of video con­sump­tion.

When it comes to poten­tial reach, YouTube receives more than 1 bil­lion unique vis­i­tors each month. A robust video mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy will help you reach more of those bil­lion vis­i­tors. To get a few ideas on rel­e­vant top­ics for cre­at­ing video con­tent for mobile con­sump­tion, try using the “View YouTube Search” results in Google Trends.

Some tips when lever­ag­ing video con­tent:

  1. Tar­get spe­cif­ic types of users. Like all mar­ket­ing, a video cam­paign should be high­ly tar­get­ed.
  2. Dis­trib­ute beyond YouTube. Use alter­na­tive stream­ing sites, such as Vimeo or indus­try-spe­cif­ic sites. Make sure the video is prop­er­ly indexed!
  3. Keep it short and not too sales focused. The trick for mobile video mar­ket­ing is much the same with most oth­er online mar­ket­ing efforts: find­ing that bal­ance between a fun and high­ly engag­ing video with pro­mot­ing a busi­ness.
  4. Keep the video qual­i­ty high. Where rel­e­vant, invest in a pro­fes­sion­al ser­vice.

You have an over­whelm­ing num­ber of pos­si­bil­i­ties for mobile mar­ket­ing. Your chal­lenge is to choose which method suits your busi­ness and will help con­vert users into cus­tomers.


While mobile usage and local search con­tin­ues to rise, how will you ensure your brand has a sol­id mobile con­tent strat­e­gy?

Katie Bennett

Written by Katie Bennett

Ddigital Marketing Specialist, White.net

Katie works as a digital marketing specialist for White.net, an award winning digital agency based in Oxford. Since leaving University in 2013, she has loved being able to work with different brands, helping them to achieve their goals.


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