Content marketers have been warned for years to get ready for mobile marketing. Mary Meeker’s 2008 pronouncement that mobile would “overtake fixed Internet access by 2014” came true; we crossed that threshold at full steam to navigate our way through “Mobilegeddon” and beyond.
Google’s 2015 changes to its mobile search algorithm caused collective palpitations over the potential damage it could (and did) do to small businesses. As the changes continue—and best practices regarding new tech adoption and media channel preferences evolve more and more rapidly—it’s high time to re-examine your content marketing strategies.
Are you still giving your target audiences what they want, served up just the way they like it?
Our company’s recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. mobile phone users—representing a bell curve of ages ranging from 14 to 54 and a male/female split of 38 percent to 62 percent—not only gave us valuable new insights, but they also reaffirmed common knowledge.
Survey Says, ‘Mobile!’
We asked respondents about their preferences for internet use. In other words, how, what, where, when, and why do they access it? While the results didn’t come as an enormous surprise, they certainly provided for some intriguing breakdowns across the different demographics.
We’ve culled and analyzed the data, and here are four key ways you can advance your content marketing initiatives using the findings from this survey.
1. Cater to a Mobile-First Audience
Mary Meeker called it. Of 1,000 respondents, 658 reported that their primary method of accessing the Internet was via their mobile phones. That’s almost 70%!
Why? It comes down to convenience. The content they seek is literally in their back pockets. The top three reasons those surveyed would read an article or blog on mobile instead of a desktop were:
- 25.67% — Location or time of day
- 21.29% — The type of content
- 17.86% — Access to Wi-Fi
What does that mean for content marketers? It means mobile marketing is about more than just responsive design. Here’s what else smart mobile marketing entails:
- Localization: If you haven’t already, catch up on mobile-search intent, so you can put a program in place to optimize for local searchability and findability.
- Scannable content: Produce and share content with reader-friendly elements like headlines, subheads, and bullets.
- Simplified conversion points: Examine your sales funnel to see which calls-to-action make sense for on-the-go users. How can you make that conversion easiest for them? Think about shorter forms, fewer data points to capture, and mobile screen gestures like tapping versus typing and swiping versus scrolling.
Naturally, we can look to the consumer packaged goods sector for standout examples of mobile-first strategies. For instance, take Unilever, 2015’s Mobile Marketer of the Year. Already known for its emotional—and viral—“Real Beauty” campaigns for its Dove skin care line, the company took it to the next level last year by introducing emojis for women of all shapes and colors to use in their text messaging.
Unilever also used mobile ads to direct users to its YouTube tutorials on hair care for Tresemmé, another of its brands. And for its brand Magnum, Unilever launched a campaign in Ecuador that combined geo-targeting with consumers’ inherent urge to create and interact. Using mobile banners to alert nearby consumers of the unique opportunity to design their own ice cream bars, Unilever drove foot traffic to a local shop.
2. Create Short, Strong Headlines
What would you guess is most important to your readers: headline, image, or video? These days, it seems like all of the social platforms are adding or improving their video-sharing and live-broadcasting capabilities. So if you guessed video, you wouldn’t be alone.
But you would be wrong, according to our survey.
Overwhelmingly, the headline is still most important to capturing clicks. Sixty-one percent of adults surveyed said it’s what makes them click. Images came second at 23.6 percent, and video came in last as a reason to click, with only 15.4 percent of adult respondents selecting it.
It is worth noting that the younger demographic, ages 14 to 17, is more egalitarian in their click preferences. Among this group, headline and video were almost evenly split at nearly 38 percent and nearly 36 percent, respectively, with image coming in around 28 percent.
No matter the medium, people want to get to the right content to find the information they need and consume it quickly. With this in mind, content marketers must craft compelling, concise information. Use a headline analyzer like the one at CoSchedule to determine if your headline is click-worthy. If not, the tool’s feedback can help you refine until it is.
3. Don’t Worry About the Time of Day
Forget stats you might have heard concerning morning, evening, or commuting time as the most popular times for when people want to view content. Almost half of all respondents like to consume their favorite content whenever and wherever they can.
Mobile marketing is an on-the-go, 24/7 business, so you have to make your content accessible to customers and potential customers on social feeds and mobile apps at all times. The survey results state that the majority or respondents prefer content from social media feeds, which is inherently comprised of shorter content.
But mobile doesn’t mean light, so don’t short-shrift readers. It’s not about their attention spans so much as the screen size. Long-form content does work on smartphones, as long as it follows the principles of great user experience design and great content. Don’t shorten your content; write tighter, more captivating copy.
For example, Quartz, the news outlet for digital natives, has an app for that—an iPhone app to illustrate this concept, to be exact—that is “perfect for the train, elevator, grocery store line, or wherever you have a spare moment to catch up on the news.”
4. Remember Why People Share Content in the First Place
The top three reasons people share content are because it’s humorous (19.92 percent), informational (17.77 percent), or valuable to someone they know (15.85 percent). These survey results remind us that great content must be personalized, meaningful, and relevant to the user.
To be remarkable enough to share, your content has to fulfill people’s needs at an emotional level or provide value for someone they care about. To keep it real, make sure you:
- Keep your focus clear. Don’t try to cover too much ground at a single stretch. Break it into a series, if necessary, to keep your points from getting lost or muddled.
- Keep it actionable. Again, break it up so that takeaways are easy to follow (and doable).
- Keep it timely (even urgent). Tie your content to local or breaking news, upcoming events, holidays, or seasonal changes.
When it comes to content marketing, nothing happens until you get a click—no new leads, no conversions, nor anything approaching demonstrable ROI. Clicks fill the funnel and get those gears going, the levers in motion.
Our survey results offer an up-to-date look at how users across your target audiences are finding, choosing, consuming, reacting to, and sharing content—and, ultimately, how they are converting. Use the perspectives they’ve shared to boost your mobile game with the kind of smart content your audience craves.
What other insights can you draw from these survey findings to inform your content marketing strategy and make your offerings more mobile-responsive?
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