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Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Marketing to smartphone users? Think mobile behavior before mobile technology

More than 50 percent of American adults now own smartphones. How will you position your brand for this huge mobile audience? The mobile age is here now, where the Internet is always on, in hand, purse, or pocket.

But before you rush out to get a mobile website up, first consider your target audiences—how do they use their smartphones? What will they expect when they visit your website on their smartphone?

Mobile behavior is in and out

Smartphones allow us to stay connected with friends and family, track news headlines, follow social media, and research products without being tied to a chair. Mobile is just that: it happens while we’re on the go. As a result, mobile experiences tend to be short, when we have a moment free while running errands, waiting for appointments, or even heating up dinner.

Mobile behavior is stop and go

In 2011, a joint report by Google and IPSOS OTX MediaCT surveyed 5,000 adults (ages 18 to 64) about their mobile behaviors. Findings included:

  • 89% of owners use their smartphone throughout the day
  • The top five places people use their smartphones are at home (93 %), on-the-go (87%), in a store (77%), in a restaurant (73%) and at work (72%)
  • 59% use their smartphones while waiting in line
  • 89% use smartphones to find information when there is a sense of urgency

Millennials live on their smartphones

Internet access plays a prominent role in smartphone use and mobile behavior. A 2012 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 68 percent of smartphone users access the internet during a typical day, and for 25 percent overall, the smartphone is their primary way online.

However, for smartphone users between 18 and 30 years of age, 81 percent access the Internet daily on their phone and 42 percent say they get online primarily by using their phone.

Smartphone Mobile Marketing: Think mobile behavior.

Social media thrives on mobile

What sites or apps are most popular with smartphone users? Google and Facebook lead the way. A study by comScore (Mobile Metrix 2.0) found that Google Sites had close to 94 million unique mobile visitors (97% of the mobile audience) during March 2012. In second place was Facebook, with 78 million visitors (80.4%), followed by Yahoo! at 66.2 million (68.2%), and Amazon at 44 million (45.4).

Smartphone users also watch a lot of video

According to Cisco, mobile video accounted for 52 percent of web traffic at the end of 2011. The technology giant estimates mobile video will make up over 70 percent of total mobile data traffic by 2016.

Clearly, there is a significant chunk of adults using mobile to reach online content. That amount will increase as overall smartphone ownership increases.

Mobile behavior is “just in time”

Mobile behavior should influence your marketing: Not the tech.Mobile audiences want to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Another 2012 report by the Pew Research Center found 86 percent of smartphone users had used their phones to complete “just in time” activities during the earlier 30 days—set up a meeting, solve an unexpected problem, check on a sports score, or decide to visit a business.

Compared to a tablet or laptop, it’s more cumbersome to navigate deep into a website using a smartphone. Users prefer information in small chunks they can easily manipulate, respond to, or share.

It’s time to make mobile a vital point of choice

Now is the time to make your marketing and website mobile. Don’t wait. You’ll miss audiences using their smartphones to look for what you offer. You can create a mobile-friendly website that’s easy to view on a small screen. Or you can create a mobile-specific website designed with a simpler interface. It’s usually a stripped down version of the standard website. Here are a few tips to take your marketing mobile:

  • Simplicity and relevance is the rule of the day.
  • It’s a small screen and fingers are large, give buttons space.
  • Make top-level “just in time” information easy to find.
  • Video plays well on mobile.

Make it simple and easy to use

The upside to mobile is that people are actively engaged, looking for content. The downside is they expect results, fast. Not only do you have to make your website design and content mobile friendly, you must also consider what else your target audience will be doing at the same time. Mobile behavior is different from online behavior from a desktop or laptop computer.

If you’re appealing to local customers, put your most essential brand message front and center, and make it a snap to find your address, email, and a phone number.

Digital coupons or special offers also entice users who are in a hurry. Deliver the content that is most relevant and your website will truly be mobile-friendly and brand optimized.

It’s about taking action

Remember, you want your audience to take action when they visit your mobile site—to call you, find directions, buy something, or learn more about you. Put yourself in their shoes and keep things obvious and simple, but persuasive. That way your site will truly be mobile-friendly. And you’ll be appealing to mobile behavior–people looking for quick answers and quick action.

Here are a few resources you might find useful:

Get more response

The more you understand your audiences and deliver the content they’re looking for–where and when they’re looking, the more response you can expect. Ready to go mobile? Let’s talk. Give us a call toll-free at 866.363.4433 or drop us an email.

About the author

Scott Thompson

As account director, writer, and video producer, Scott Thompson is Creative Company's “Inspector Gadget” of brand tactics and client satisfaction. In a varied career spanning two decades, Scott’s previous roles have included assistant professor, journalist, magazine editor, designer, photographer and video director. And storytelling is the thread that connects all of his pursuits. Scott’s productions engage audiences and lead them to take action. His energetic writing leaps off a page, website, or smart phone and invites audiences to hear and learn more. His expertise in brand optimization—combined with his multimedia skills—provides clients with many tactics to capture attention and response.

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