Over the past decade, consumers have dramatically changed the way they view content. With a smartphone in everybody’s pocket, statistics show that mobile searches have now surpassed desktop-based inquiries. Mobile is the new normal.
This switch in technologies has effectively changed user expectations. They want fast, accurate and reliable information at the touch of their screens, with 91% claiming they will exit the app or site if the brand fails to satisfy their immediate needs. Content creators need to recognise this need and incorporate mobile-friendly content to create the optimum user experience.
By ignoring this exponentially growing demographic, content marketers are cutting out a large percentage of their potential consumers. No matter how perfectly crafted your content is, a slowly loading page and faulty redirects could lower your site’s SEO and Google ranking.
Is your site misconfigured for smartphone users? Does it comply with Google’s Optimization Guidelines? Read on for inside information and top tips to help you get started.
The impact of Mobile-First Indexing
Over time, Google’s search algorithms have learned to penalise sites that rely on keyword-stuffed content by lowering their Google ranking. In another sweeping change Google has recognised the prominence of mobile devices, and is rewarding mobile-friendly sites through technologies such as Mobile-First Indexing.
Expected to launch in 2018, Google will be prioritizing mobile results in their Google Ranking algorithms. But what does this mean for content marketers? Gary Illyes, webmaster analyst at SMX Advanced, highlights the importance of consistency. He commented that marketers still have lots of time to make the necessary changes to their sites, claiming that if they have responsive designs or dynamic serving sites where the primary content is equivalent across desktop and mobile platforms, “then you’re pretty much good to go”. This means that even if your mobile content is hidden behind “read more” links to make your content more digestible to the mobile user, Google will still prioritize your content in the Mobile-First Index.
If you haven’t considered how your content appears on mobile formats, make this your number one priority — especially if you’re communicating with consumers over social media platforms.
In Asia alone, more than 1.4 billion consumers now use social media on a monthly basis, with 95% of the demographic accessing these channels via mobile devices – one of the highest ratios in the world. If you’re not mobile-friendly, you could effectively be driving away a large portion of your potential consumers.
Create a Mobile-First content strategy
Google has been quick to introduce algorithms that harness Big Data to give users fast and reliable answers. Now that their focus is turning towards mobile users, smart content creators need to establish a Mobile-First content marketing strategy built around audiences’ initial engagement with their mobile site.
Recent statistics suggest that a shocking 90% of smart-phone users are brand-neutral when they begin a search, giving content marketers ample opportunity to wow consumers with their copy. However, many fail to meet the mark due to poor user experience on mobile devices.
The first stage of mobile content marketing is to assess your website traffic with a thorough audit of your site data. Once you understand where your users are coming from, what they click on the most, and what part of the site they spend the longest amount of time on, then you can start to create content that is structured clearly and consistently, no matter what device your audiences are using.
American-owned travel fare site, Booking.com, showcases their mobile content in a way that attracts audiences. The text is accessible, easy to navigate and structured in a way that answers all the questions consumers may have when finding the right accommodation.
If your content moves successfully across different interfaces and touchpoints, you’re half way there. The next part is a little techier…
Optimise Layouts through Responsive Web Design
Giving consumers what they need – when they need it – is essential, and this includes a great mobile user-experience. Your content should be easily accessible and visible, without forcing readers to pinch their screens, side scroll or zoom to read your information. Smart content marketers are tackling this interface problem through responsive web design.
Responsive web design adjusts the size of content and images to the screen size of each visitor. Content is automatically reformatted, allowing content marketers to keep the same content across different platforms – desktops, tablets, and smartphones. This can have multiple benefits for your business. Responsive web design can also cut costs on web content management, as you only need to monitor, update and re-edit one site.
Google recommends responsive web design because of its structured nature. Responsive websites are rich with snippets and schema markups that are easily traceable by Google’s search algorithms, boosting your website ranking and ultimately ROI. Responsive design also presents your website in a layout optimised for the viewing device, which speeds up page loading time. Responsive designs are all accessed through a single URL, allowing mobile users to share your content without long, cumbersome URLs.
Consider SMS Marketing
According to Google and Nielsen studies, more than 40% of all mobile search inquiries have local intent. Therefore, combining your mobile-first content strategy with an SMS marketing campaign, could trigger an increase in open rates, higher conversions and more consumer responses. By targeting the right people at the right time, brands have a way to connect with consumers on a more personal level.
With nearly half of the world’s population owning a mobile phone, leading technologist and international speaker Oisin Lunny believes smartphones have become the most popular method of written communication in history. He comments, “There’s never been a time before, that 6 billion people have had access to the same written communications channel globally. It’s incredible. SMS has evolved into this global hotline for 6 billion people, with an unprecedented open rate of 98 percent.”
With statistics like that, content marketers should consider the possibilities of an effective SMS marketing campaign. Consumers don’t need to scan a QR codes, have a data connection or install an app to see your message, because SMS reaches users instantly through the cellular network.
Send your consumers useful messages and updates that are going to be of interest to your consumers, such as surveys to receive rewards, or promotions and exclusive deals for loyal users.
“The beauty of SMS,” Oisin claims, “is that it is a two-way conversation rather than a one-way broadcast. As a consumer, if you do opt in and start a relationship with a brand via SMS, it’s going to be highly valuable. Smart brands will be sending you communications that are important to you. This technology streamlines how we juggle our many interactions in this data-rich, time-poor, mobile-first world.”
An example of an effective SMS marketing campaign is Canadian retail group, Hudson Bay. They use the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) tactic to encourage consumer engagement and boost conversions, by giving exclusive information about their 1 day deals before the average consumer.
In an increasingly mobile-first world, content marketers need to think outside the box more than ever before to attract the consumers they want. Bridging the gap between epic desktop content and epic mobile content shouldn’t be daunting… see it as another opportunity to express your passion for your brand and connect with like-minded consumers.
If you’re a bit more tech minded, learn to examine your website usage reports to find out more about your consumers and how they access your site. It also wouldn’t hurt to look into responsive web design, as well as refining your SEO for Google’s Mobile-First indexing. But most of all, ensure your content is well structured in reconfigurable chunks, with crisp, short copy that entices readers to discover your brand.