Over the last decade or so, marketers have spread resources and budgets around to better straddle the divide between desktop digital marketing and campaigns focused solely on mobile. It’s typically a wise choice to attempt to cover as many bases as possible, however, mobile inched ahead of desktop last year and now comprises more than half of all traffic on the web.
As mobile usage continues to increase, becoming people’s primary tool to access the online world, marketers must adopt a mobile-first strategy. What are the biggest distinctions between mobile and desktop marketing? Here, 13 contributors to Forbes Communications Council weigh in on the differences to help marketing professionals better understand the unique qualities of each and refine their approach.
Forbes Communications Council members discuss the differences between desktop and mobile marketing.
1. User Behavior In Context
With mobile marketing, it is important to understand the behavior you are trying to drive and how to get the recipient there as quickly as possible. Design is key, as well as your offer and call to action. The more you can understand the context, such as how location might impact behavior, the more you can tailor the offer and increase conversion. – Laurie Hood, Mobilewalla
2. Phases Of The Buyer’s Journey
Aligning communication channels with the buyer’s journey is imperative. That journey will help inform the channels through which you communicate. Mobile is a channel largely used in the discovery phase, and it requires graphic and video content to really hook the prospect to want to learn more. Digital marketers can then deliver comprehensive content via their desktop to aid decision making. – Megan Ruszkowski, CoreSite
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3. The Logged-In Experience
The user’s ability to enter a logged-in experience in a matter of seconds with just a simple fingerprint or face recognition makes mobile marketing inherently personal. This opens up a world of possibilities for mobile marketing campaigns to promote the benefits of the logged-in experience. In essence, mobile marketing can increase customer engagement and not solely focus on transactions. – Josh Francia, Blueshift
4. User Intent And Accessibility
Mobile users have a different intent. Combine that with accessibility and tools, and your messaging must change. Mobile marketing should be local marketing; make it personal and relevant. The mobile consumer could be at your doorstep in 30 minutes if given the right offer. They have access to maps, a camera and social media. Get them engaged with your business! – Cynthia Sener, Chatmeter
5. Opportunity For Instant Dialogue
The biggest difference to consider between mobile and desktop marketing is that mobile consumers are engaging with your message while they also have a camera and microphone in their hand, which creates the opportunity for instant dialogue. Think about giving them a chance to be a part of the marketing in that moment, encouraging them to contribute to a hashtag. – Ken Gibbs, Amazon Prime Video
6. Content Type And Length
The No. 1 aspect is the type and length of content. The content should have purposeful design, factoring in user behaviors and preferences for each channel. For example, long-form content is much more suited to desktop. Finally, marketers need to look at all channels (mobile, desktop, SMS, app, etc.) holistically throughout the customer journey and determine the best content for each touch point. – Kate Farmer Rojas, Notion, a Comcast Company
7. Speed And Ease Of Use
Look at mobile as its own channel, as opposed to just recreating a scaled-down version of your desktop design. Make calls to action much easier to act upon in your UX design, whether that’s a button click, like/share on social, form fill or another type with a more impactful message in a more limited time frame. Better speed and ease of use can improve experience as well as drive more conversions. – Kenneth Kinney, Ai Media Group, Inc.
8. Geolocation Targeting
In mobile marketing, the geolocation of individuals can play a key part in delivering targeted content to them. In desktop marketing, that may not always be possible, hence also not very successful. In many digital transformation initiatives, the geolocation of the user has played a key role in determining what content they receive at that given moment in time. – Dinesh Chandrasekhar, Cloudera
9. Attention Spans
When it comes to mobile marketing, you have to consider the consumer’s attention span. Most of the time, when consumers are on mobile devices, you are competing for their attention. Incoming calls, text messages and infinite scrolling are outside “noise” and must be considered when creating messaging. Messaging should be short, concise and to the point. Visuals should reinforce the messages. – Sara McKinniss, FST Logistics, Inc.
10. Content Shareability
Research shows that consumers tweet and share at a much greater rate when using their mobile devices; therefore, marketers should create content that is easily shareable. Video is also more impactful because consumers will watch it in full screen, eliminating potential distractions. – Mary York, York Public Relations
11. Responsive Web Design
With the continually increasing usage of mobile devices, it’s critical that marketers develop a mobile-first experience with responsive web pages that resize automatically on phones or tablets. This means that the user interface should be designed and tested with mobile devices in mind. Check to ensure that images fit on the screen, forms are easy to use and buttons are clearly labeled. – Vincent Phamvan, Vyten
12. Website Load Time
Speed is key when capturing the mobile customer. Run the Google Lighthouse performance audit on your website, and make sure the audit is set to measure mobile performance (Device = Mobile). You shouldn’t necessarily expect scores in the 90s, but if your website has a performance score less than 65%, then you have some work to do on the site itself. Don’t ignore it; fix it. – Esther Bonardi, Yardi Systems
13. Proper Timing
Time of day matters. People use their mobile devices at all hours, whereas desktops are more likely used during business hours. Different times equate to different mindsets. If you’re trying to reach someone with a consumer good or service, your optimal timing will be different than if you’re selling a B2B offering. Learn your audience’s daily patterns to reach them at the right time. – Ellen Sluder
Communications, PR, public affairs & media relations executives from Forbes Communications Council share firsthand insights.