3 Big Ways Mobile is Changing Marketing

According to comScore, as of January of 2017, mobile had 71% share of total minutes spent online! If you are still informing your online marketing strategy based only on clicks, mentions, likes, views and other traditional KPIs created when we lived in a desktop-first environment, you’re not alone. While these legacy measurement tools are still useful, campaign measurement needs to evolve due to the mobile-first environment we now live in.

These legacy metrics are great at tracking online activity, but fail to track how well your content meets with the actual intent of a mobile search in form and substance. I think we can agree that a desktop search is much different than a mobile search. So, while many marketers in the mortgage industry are doing the right thing by investing dollars in mobile, they are missing the boat on driving growth by doing a better job of understanding their mobile-using prospects. Mobile searches are based on immediacy and convenience and are often the start of the buyer journey.

Leverage Mobile for Corporate Growth

Frequently, your prospects begin researching the home-buying process, mortgage financing, or mortgage lenders may be researching new technology or other business needs on a mobile device. And a search on mobile is all about what you want to know…right now! For practical reasons, it may not even make sense to wait until you’re on a desktop. And why would you? Your phone is right in your pocket.

When these immediate “I need to know” searches occur, termed by Google as “micro-moments,” there is an opportunity to drive growth. These opportunities exist when the searcher’s intent is met with content that meets that immediate need.

So how can you make sure these needs are positively met with the content you provide?

Just because a click or a “like” may have occurred after a search, that doesn’t mean the intent of the search was met. It just means the content was clicked on and the person liked what they read. They are still off to answer the original question they had.

If you want to ensure your content, and brand, engages your audience in a positive way, you need to understand the changes driven by mobile and adapt. And there’s no time like the present!

Here are 3 major ways mobile is driving change in marketing…

1) Marketers need to focus on the intent of a mobile search

A mobile search is different. I think we can all agree on that. People are more conditioned than ever before to seek immediate answers to in-the-moment inquiries anywhere, anytime on their mobile devices. They can type or speak into them using a more conversational voice as if they were simply asking a question of a friend. In fact, 20% of searches in the Google app are voice searches! And with the current quality of searches enhanced by Google’s RankBrain algorithm, people know they can get very specific on what they want to know and feel confident they’ll get high quality answers.

Mobile searches are largely research-oriented and tend to use more general search terms. Brand is not the focus at this stage. Therefore, if you want to capture attention at this critical moment, then you need to review your website analytics and familiarize yourself with search terms used on mobile devices to discover information in your category. Next, determine how well your content met the intent of the searches and develop better aligned content going forward.

For example, a mobile top-of-funnel search could be, “what do I need to apply for a mortgage?” This is a simple query that can be answered by a well-written blog post or short video. As a person’s research becomes more focused and therefore more complex, suggesting he or she is in the phase of comparing different mortgage companies and programs, the search would likely move to a desktop and look more like “Bank XYZ 3% down-payment program.” This search is a clear signal that the person about to make a decision as he or she is in the mindset of doing some important brand or program comparisons.

2) Content type and layout

Depending on the intent of the mobile query, there could be several types of content that can be served up. This could include blog posts, video, landing pages, infographics and more. Some of the most common issues with content viewed on mobile include load time, being presented with a wall of copy that’s hard to read and issues navigating infographics or other images because they aren’t responsive to mobile or were not developed with the mobile screen in mind. These are audience killers.

Think about this. When you conduct a search on your mobile device, a results page appears. You quickly scan that page to decide which result will yield the information closest to the intent of your search, which is typically within the first three organic listings.

If you tap on one and the page takes forever to load due to heavy use of Flash, large images, poor site design, etc., you will give up and bounce back to the results page and select the next best result. The hope is that one of the other listings on the results page offers a better mobile experience – the kind people expect these days.

Here are some quick content tips for mobile that will enhance the user experience:

  • Infographics: An infographic designed for desktop may contain information too small to view on a mobile device. To fix this, you can limit the width to no more than 640 pixels so it is more scalable for mobile and can even be viewed on older devices. You can also try to break it up into smaller pieces that each focus on major points and/or get rid of any unnecessary copy or supporting points.
  • Images: Eye-tracking studies have shown that whether a user is on their mobile device or desktop, they prefer to view images. Given the reduced real estate on a mobile device, stay away from images that do not provide highly relevant information that advances the point being made in the copy. Also, images that may load quickly on your desktop can be slow to load on mobile. Here’s a great article about optimizing images for mobile if you would like to learn more about this.
  • Copy: Mark Twain famously said “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Eliminate any unnecessary words or phrases, keeping your content concise. People will take the time to read long form content on a mobile device as long as what they’re reading is meaningful. Front-load the most important information and make sure you break up the content into small paragraphs so that the reader isn’t presented with a hard-to-read wall of content.
  • Forms: Mobile users are more goal-driven than desktop users. So, when a user encounters a form they must fill out to get to a next step, put yourself in their shoes. Understand that if you make it too long with too many fields, separate fields that don’t need to be separated (like first and last name fields), don’t fit the screen or allow for some values to be pre-filled, you greatly increase the chances of abandonment. Keep forms simple and only ask for the most essential information. You may also consider putting a contact number in the form so people can just tap and call instead of fumbling with the small keypad.

3) Ad design

It’s a given that designing ads for mobile is much different than designing for desktop. You must take into consideration the basic available real estate limitations of a mobile screen along with file sizes, dimensions of various ad components like clickable/tappable areas and much more. In fact, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has published mobile advertising guidelines that speak to many considerations when it comes to designing ads for mobile.

Also, consider the content of the ads you develop. Most advertisers, 66% to be precise, say that about half of their mobile advertising is unsuccessful in achieving their goals. This is according to The Mobile Ad Experience Matters To Your Media ROI, a Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper commissioned by Celtra. The ads simply fail to connect with the mobile consumer due to poor experiences because of poor creative execution.

Poor creative execution in mobile ads result in a variety of problems including:

  • Ads that overtake the screen: For example, full screen pop-ups that require you to find the “x” to remove it.
  • Slow load time: Attention spans are much shorter on mobile. Accordingly, if your ad takes too long to load, you risk losing the viewer. There are many ways to reduce the size of your images while retaining quality.
  • Irrelevancy to the viewer: Ad copy and imagery must both resonate with the viewer. Take the time to get each right by creating a buyer persona as a basis. When developing your personas, keep in mind age, gender, job function and pain points. Here’s a great article on how to create buyer personas if you need help in this area.
  • Forcing people into using ad blockers! Yes, this is exactly what happens when people get fed up with poorly executed ads.

To avoid design issues, be sure to check out the linked resources provided here as they will surely help you.

Mortgage industry marketers have an opportunity to play a positive role and create worthwhile mobile experiences.

With heightened awareness of the changes in marketing being driven by mobile, my hope is that you take a second look at your content and campaigns to evaluate how mobile-ready they really are. Remember, with mobile having 71% share of total online minutes, the payoff could be substantial for your company!