The information age is arguably the most robust yet mind provoking period in time. While it has lead to an enormous amount of technological advancements, it has also forced many of us to spend valuable time deciphering between what is useless information (and ignore it) and information that will add value to our personal and professional lives. We are, and continue to live in, a period of information overload!
As marketers, the challenges continue to increase as a result. As technology advances, we need to be mindful of how best to advertise through new portals and simultaneously pay special attention to the content [and amount of info] that is being delivered. From e-newsletters, promotions, to business updates, marketers must add value to all distribution efforts in order to create and retain a credible, loyal customer and prospect base.
To better understand how to optimize our marketing efforts, it is important to understand the trends affiliated with the times, especially in the evolving interactive marketing industry. One of the biggest movements influencing content creation and distribution revolves around mobile devices.
…Why? Mobile is about to explode!
Understanding marketing on mobile devices is critical for a few reasons. Firstly, the increase in popularity of mobile usage is leading to an enormous growth in mobile advertising. In fact, according to BIA/Kelsey's US Mobile Advertising Report, search alone went from $59 million in 2009 to $163 million in 2010; and forecast to practically double in 2011!
Advertisers who leveraged mobile-targeted campaigns in 2009 benefited by seeing higher click through rates on their ads at a lower cost per click (CPC) than campaigns targeting desktop / laptop users using the same keywords. While this is still possible to achieve in today's mobile advertising market, it is more challenging. The influx of advertisers entering the space and high adoption rates of new mobile devices (i.e. Netbooks and ipads) can be leveraged to fine tune your campaign targeting and help generate more revenue.
According to Email Insider, the distinction between emails and mobile emails is disappearing. As a result, email design will start to be more heavily influenced by mobile devices (iPhones, Android-powered smartphones, and iPads) and the amount of content included within campaigns will be impacted as well. Emails (their content and images) must now be transferrable to the small screen.
When creating email designs, optimize how it appears on small screens by keeping the following in mind:
– Email widths need to narrow (width about 600 pixels)
– Font sizes need to increase so they're more legible on small screens.
– The space between links and the size of buttons need to increase to allow large fingers to hit links accurately. That will also mean navigation bars with fewer links in them.
Certain email providers also now offer capabilities that allow viewers to access the message through a link to their web browser. You often witness this in emails that show a link at the top of the email message that states, “Please click here to view this message in your browser”. Alternatively, some companies opt to create text versions in addition to HTML versions of newsletters/campaigns. This option requires more backend work by website developers as they are required to create multiple versions of the promotion.
Email versions of newsletters are a great example of how these situations are played out. Typically, email newsletters are created in HTML format and include multiple images and/or call to actions (contact us form, promotion, etc..). Most newer small screen devices (including Android, iPhone, and iPad) will display these emails correctly. However, some older versions of phones (and older BlackBerry devices) do not render correctly. Having a link at the top of the email as discussed previously (“Please click here to view this message in your browser”) may help to solve this challenge for this marginal group of viewers.
Another priority for the New Year should be creating a mobile version of your website. Not only does the amount of content need to change on your website, but the types of information you provide needs to as well. On-the-go users typically aren't shopping or making purchases from their mobile devices, rather are looking for business locations, phone numbers, and/or hours of operation.
Make your mobile website user-friendly and concise by including only the most relevant and necessary information/services. Visible click-to-call buttons and automatically linking Google Maps with your business location are simple ways to improve the user experience. The good news is, mobile website design doesn't require a significant investment of time or money, and so it is economically feasible for even the smallest of businesses.
Embrace the trends!
Business leaders must continue to amend our delivery methods and content to adjust to the advancement in technology. By doing so, the user experience will enhance and ultimately increase interest in the content being delivered.