Content marketers take notice: Mobile device usage is on the rise and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
There’s no denying that the revolution has begun and optimizing content for mobile users is more important than ever. Content marketers need to employ smart strategies to optimize content and create consistent user experiences over a variety of platforms.
Mobile leads the tech race
In the second quarter of 2016, display advertisers saw a decline in consumers’ use of desktops, with a dramatic increase in smartphone usage. According to Marin Software, clicks, spending and conversions fell to 12.3 percent among desktop users, while smartphone use grew to 14.6 percent.
Experts forecast that consumers will buy more than 400 million wearable devices by 2020, which considerably increases the number of people relying on mobile tech for productivity, shopping and entertainment needs.
Desktops aren’t going anywhere, though
Despite rising numbers of mobile users desktops aren’t disappearing, which means that content marketers can’t forget about this important platform. Although display advertising numbers show significant year-over-year growth among mobile users, other shares such as search and social advertising are stabilizing.
In the second quarter of 2016, search and social advertising on mobile and desktop approached a nearly even 50-50 split. This indicates the gap between desktop and mobile users is closing at a slower rate. Savvy content marketers know that desktop searches are another important piece of the puzzle when it comes to connecting with consumers.
Strategy: Integrate responsive design
So, what does this mean for content? Marketers need to employ careful, thoughtful strategies to reach the widest audiences. With the exception poor quality, is there anything worse than content designed for a desktop that’s crammed onto a mobile display?
User experience works in tandem with stellar content to reach consumers. Without a responsive design, that original quality could be rendered nearly unreadable on a mobile device. BuzzFeed has a solid example of a mobile website designed intuitively to encourage easy navigation through all of their great content.
Additionally, usability should be taken into account. In many cases, information found via mobile devices offers a quick snapshot of data points easily accessible on a laptop or a desktop, but it may not translate efficiently across multiple devices. In these cases, the mobile version should adapt to give readers the same information in a format that’s easy to digest on a small screen.
Slides and short text descriptions are popular options, as BuzzFeed has found many times over. Adapting content to mobile apps is another tactic for brands that have a large enough following and an audience on multiple device types.
Strategy: Optimize content
Using responsive design isn’t always enough. The need to prioritize cross-channel, cross-device approaches becomes increasingly important to optimize content for both platforms. Many content leaders use the “create once, publish everywhere,” or COPE method to make the content process smooth and efficient no matter what type of interface marketers use.
Experts create content in structured chunks with relevant metadata. With that type of formatting, the content can be reused in any number of ways, over a variety of platforms.
Strategy: Create a consistent experience
Companies may need to craft different experiences across multiple platforms with the overreaching goal of consistent content delivery. Sometimes this works, and other times it’s a miss. Testing audience behaviors on each platform allows for greater insight into how users want to consume the content. A prime example of varying designs is Wells Fargo, which has different navigational features on its main webpage, mobile website and app.
Consider the prioritization of the content and the architecture of the layout to create a consistent content experience for every user. While not exactly alike, Wells Fargo maintains a unified color scheme and uses designs that work for each platform.
With the tech landscape shifting rapidly, staying on top of trends isn’t always a simple task. Preparing for the mobile revolution already underway will take brands in the right direction as the tides continue to turn in favor of devices that make on-the-go productivity and mobile entertainment easier than ever.