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:
- Target specific types of users. Like all marketing, a video campaign should be highly targeted.
- Distribute beyond YouTube. Use alternative streaming sites, such as Vimeo or industry-specific sites. Make sure the video is properly indexed!
- 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.
- 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?