7 Keys To Navigating The Paid Mobile Ecosystem
With a slew of tech and tools filling the marketplace, how do you find mobile success? Columnist Craig Weinberg helps you get on the right path to meeting your mobile goals.
I’ve got good news and bad news (or no news at all if you’ve been paying attention!). The good news: Mobile success is more attainable than ever. The bad news: With all the tech and tools stuffing the market these days, you need a digital sherpa (or three or four) to figure out how to get there.
Back in the day, before the masses moved into mobile, you’d set up a buy with a network (or a few) and/or a few publishers directly, sign the IO, agree to some basic targeting for baby banners directing to your WAP site, stick on some patchwork measurement solution, hope for the best…and watch things break or fail.
But with 80% of U.S. internet users now on a smartphone and estimates that 2 billion people worldwide will be on one by 2016, with time on the devices growing by 76% year over year — well, today’s market is bursting with solutions. Check out the advertising flowchart from Luma Partners’ latest mobile Lumascape. Just a tad more complicated and hard to read, right?
Buckle your seatbelts — mobile can be conquered, but you’ve got to anticipate, plan and learn by doing to succeed. Here are seven critical ways to dig in.
1. Evaluate Your Brand’s Mobile Assets
First, determine what it is you’ve got to work with and where you’ll be directing people. Do you have a mobile-optimized site? (Note: Mobile-responsive, where your desktop site is automatically resized to fit the screen, is not mobile-optimized. Mobile has different goals and must reflect the user’s device mentality and shorter attention span.)
If you don’t have a mobile-optimized site, don’t fear. You can always direct traffic to another owned site or profile such as your Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter page.
2. Think Of Retaining A Mobile Specialty Shop
Large, all-you-can-eat digital agencies are great, but more often than not, these larger operations do not have deep mobile talent that knows your brand inside and out. Think about bringing on a mobile-specific or performance media shop.
More and more, mobile budgets are geared toward performance, and whether you’re looking for branding, conversion or general acquisition, you’re going to use the same ad tech tools to reach your goals. Why not hedge your risk as much as possible and allow your valuable marketing dollars to be spent by mobile experts?
3. Talk, Talk And Listen, Listen
Utilize your industry friends, referrals, Google searches, and meetings with mobile networks and their sales folks. Leverage your position as a brand/client, and use your agency to talk to as many knowledgeable mobile experts as you can.
You’ll learn a tremendous amount. You may not even need to leave your office to do so — and you might get a few nice lunches out of it!
4. Don’t Spend Before You Can Track
One constant complaint I’ve heard in my 10+ years in mobile is the difficulty of effective tracking.
At 3Q (my employer), as anxious as we are to dive into mobile with our clients, we are taking a step back to ensure that their tracking is configured, tested, and receiving/delivering the right signals before we launch a mobile campaign. Tracking is one of those tricky details that can derail even the coolest mobile executions.
If you don’t have visibility into your performance, how can you prove that mobile’s working? Most likely, you’ll pivot from your original goals anyway, and that’s OK!
You won’t be able to prove your mobile use case, and you certainly can’t pivot to respond to your audience’s behavior, unless you can see and track what’s happening.
5. Don’t Think You’re Starting With Nothing!
You know your audience. You have lots of data in your CRM, email, social, desktop and business intelligence sources. That data tells a very compelling story that will help you understand how your customers behave on mobile.
Look at your Google Analytics, see what percentage of your traffic comes from mobile, and speak with your customers and ask them how they use similar mobile services. You’ll have pages of notes before you even start planning your complementary paid media.
6. Begin To Think Of Mobile As A Revenue Source And A Service, Not As A Separate Channel
We are all guilty of thinking of mobile as separate from our “main” business. This thinking is common; even we at 3Q have to remind ourselves to get out of this rut.
When we consider that most humans use their phones in virtually the same way, we remind ourselves that we, too, are mobile consumers. Accordingly, we should think about mobile as one facet — albeit a unique one — of our overall business strategy.
Ask yourself: What is my mobile business strategy? This transcends media, development, app or site and will help you frame your business goals, which helps establish your mobile service offering, not just your mobile marketing strategy.
7. Remember What You’re Working Toward
Since mobile is both new and complicated, it’s best to slim down your goals and narrow your expectations — in a good way. The more goals you have, the more tracking and back-end technical work you’ll need to do.
List your top five goals and drop the bottom four. I’m not kidding! Do you want purchases? Then drop your registration barrier and make it as easy as possible for your customers to buy, buy, buy.
Want registrations? Then make your customer journey lead directly and simply to that registration page — and make the registration as easy as possible.
Want social likes? I think you get it now: By uncomplicating and focusing your goals, you’ll free yourself to focus on only meeting that goal, and everything else that pops up in mobile will be an easily ignored distraction.
Above all else, remember (again): Mobile is its own beast, not an extension of your other digital campaigns. Keep that in mind, follow the above tips, and you’ll begin to see your way through the jumble with significant performance breakthroughs. Good luck!