The Importance of Mobile Marketing

What are some important differences between mobile search and desktop search that marketers should understand and consider?

Mobile users account for a large amount of traffic throughout the web. In May of 2013 (2 years ago!) mobile accounted for 15% of global internet traffic. That’s huge, especially considering that the trendline that accompanied that statistic continues upwards. Today in June 2015, I think we could guess that mobile accounts for almost 30% of global internet traffic. Though the graph below compares mobile traffic data in terms of exabytes per month instead of percent of internet traffic on mobile devices, you can still see how the trend will continue. The graph is from this article published in February 2015.)

Mobile is growing, and there is no way anybody can say otherwise. Personally, I can often be seen sitting on the couch with my laptop on the coffee table in front of me with a paper half written, and my smart phone or tablet in my hand browsing Facebook which happens to be the most popular mobile application in the United States. Applications on smart phones account for 85% of internet time spent on phones in 2013.

One company who has done a fantastic job creating an application that users frequently use is Starbucks Coffee. By integrating their app and rewards program, Starbucks keeps users engaged, and continuously thinking about their product. While writing this post on my laptop computer, I looked up Starbucks in hopes of finding their website. I have never gone on it, even though I love getting an iced tea there once or twice a week. I do however, go on their app multiple times a week. It keeps me engaged, and incentives me to make conversions (buy a drink!) more frequently.

Most recently, Starbucks started allowing customers to pre-order drinks using their app. For example, find what you want, place order, pay though the app, and then pick it up as you normally would at the counter as if you had stood in line and ordered it. It’s a really cool idea, especially since I (and other users I’m sure) are deterred occasionally by the long line in the morning or on a sunny afternoon.

After a few weeks of the new pre-order option being available, Starbucks offered 6 Reward points (Stars!) if you try pre-ordering a drink (in addition to the 1 you get just for buying a drink!). Usually, you get 1 Star per drink ordered, and every 12 you get a free drink. This majorly incentivized me to try pre-ordering so I could earn 1/2 a free drink. Additionally, in order to stay in the rewards program, Starbucks requires that you earn 30 Stars per year. In other words, you have to spend about $120 at Starbucks yearly ($4 x 30 drinks per year). By just pre-ordering 1 drink, I am able to get 7  steps closer to staying in the program, and get 1/2 way to a free drink. Of course I tried it! I am positive this campaign allowed Starbucks to get more users interested in pre-ordering drinks. Without their mobile app, non of this would have been possible.

There is a difference between the types of people who use Android Phones and who use iPhone. The average user age for both platforms is 40, but the average income is $85,000 for iOS users, and $61,000 for Android. It is interesting to see that app usage is higher on iPhones, though users have fewer apps than Android users. Additionally, it seems that most iPhone users are generally white collar, while more Android users are typically blue collar. All of these details (average income, type of worker, app usage) effect how each phone is used. 

Android and iPhone users use their phones in different ways: iPhone users consume media (news, weather, social media) more than Android users, and Android users spend more time on search and email. Additionally, search and news have greater reach on desktop than on mobile. It is not surprising to me that maps, instant messaging, and radio are used more on mobile. Marketers need to keep in mind the difference between mobile search and desktop search while perfecting their site online.

There are two ways a site can be seen on a mobile device: responsive and separate sites. When choosing between a responsive and separate site, it is important to consider if you want the content on your site to be the same of different on mobile.What goals do you have for your mobile site? Sell things? Get your name out there? You need to decide, and make your choice on content based on that choice. From there, decide on the technology: should you use a responsive or separate site for mobile?

A responsive site will realize if a user is on a mobile device, and load so that the site looks good on a smaller screen. Responsive sites will have the same content on both the desktop and mobile version. Separate sites are self-explanatory: different content that will look different on a mobile device. In general, it sounds like responsive sites are better, but it is a personal (company?) choice based on the content, and the technology of the site.

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