Mobile first: When marketers realise mobile is the new normal

By @chelean on
Glued to Mobile Devices
Pedestrians using their mobile phone walk past an electronic board displaying various stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo October 17, 2014. Reuters/Yuya Shino

Mobile Internet usage will substantially move faster than Internet usage. And indeed, the growing trend on mobile has proved that this is the case.

Mary Meeker, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, predicted this almost five years ago. The same prediction was headlined in CNN Money’s 2014 article which placed emphasis to the rise in mobile apps use in the US.

They are correct. The growing trend on mobile has been particularly prevalent over the last decade as figures from Statista showed a dramatic increase in smartphone ownership. From a 1.5 billion mark in 2014, numbers are predicted to continue to hit the 2.6 billion mark until 2019. Pew Research saw a similar trend, where an increase from 45 percent to 54 percent of internet and smartphone use was recorded from 2013 to 2015.

The message is clear: As the world rapidly migrates to increased mobile usage and Internet use, marketers were directed to develop their brands and services toward this emerging platform.

“With consumers opting for mobile devices instead of computers for many online activities, marketers need to hone in on their targets in the traditional as well as the mobile ad space,” said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director at BIGinsight, told Screenmedia Daily.

Apparently, Yahoo-owned mobile analytics Flurry has been reporting continued growth in mobile usage in the past seven years. In 2015, the company recorded 58 percent overall app usages in almost 2.1 billion smart devices.

When Facebook released its 2016 Q1 results, the global shift in mobile use was confirmed when the company recorded more than half of its 1.7 billion users visited the site exclusively through their smartphones. The numbers increased from 581 million in 2015 to almost 894 million monthly active users.

Last year, Google confirmed the growing trend on mobile use when it released an official statement saying more searches now are made on mobile than desktop. Furthermore, various industries thst have taken the mobile-first approach recorded an increase in mobile viewership such as automotive, hotels and mortgages.

In response to the growing importance of mobile-first approach, brands revamped their services and function to fit well in the digital landscape. First up is redefining the design philosophy as explained by the Digital Clarity Group (DCG). According to DCG, while many organisations supported mobile web browsing, it was not responsive enough for mobile users. In this note, developers were urged to design from small screens up, adding content, images and features in a “progressive enhancement” approach.

A tech blog discussed how brands emerged successful after adapting more responsive designs. Companies like Lucky 21, American MLB and NBA adopted flexible branding schemes that responded well to small screens such as those in mobile devices. By, adapting to responsive designs, brands have maximised their brand recognition.

Next, brands dealt on user engagement strategy. From the same DCG source, mobile engagement is defined as a contrast to the “browse-now-act-later” scheme of the Internet. The development of mobile engagement aims to address needs and desires in an immediate and relevant approach.

One thing mobile brands discovered is that personalised mobile experience increases mobile engagement. As discussed in a tech blog, customers are pleased when brands are able to answer their specific needs and wants.

Personalisation has been essentially effective for mobile business and financial news app, Born2Invest. The mobile app which launched barely a year ago, with its push notification feature, now enjoys more than 80,000 monthly active users in just a short time. Ranked third in the business news category on Google Play, Born2Invest delivers carefully curated 80-word news summaries about various categories such as business, travel, real estate and even science.

Even if surveys and studies reveal that the mobile tipping point has been reached, there is only one way for mobile to go, and that is forward. According to the Smithsonian mag, mobile will essentially become part of us, literally. The same technology is reported in a CNET article saying that the mobile phone of the future will be implanted in your head.

Another defining future for mobile is the onset of “open-source” technology that could promote democracy and connect people globally, according to the same Smithsonian mag source. When people become part of the technology itself, they fear it less thus, push the boundaries of interconnection.