So you’re looking at mobile for your next media campaign. A great move, since smartphones and tablets have rapidly become our first screen for entertainment and discovery. With higher cut-through than conventional online ads, mobile offers brilliant opportunities for marketers to target and track with razor sharp accuracy.
Before you run your first mobile campaign you’ll need a campaign site. Even if you have an existing mobile site it’s worth taking the time to develop separate landing pages that are focused on the specific objectives targeted for your campaigns. If you don’t have the capabilities or the budget for separate campaign sites there are some mobile media providers who will package these in for free or at a reduced price as part of your media buy.
Here are some key tips to ensure your next mobile campaign site is a success:
- Instant on. Consumers are getting more demanding and impatient about the speed of accessing content and mobile is no exception. The ‘need for speed’ is your first consideration when building a smartphone or tablet campaign site. It should load quickly, and focus on the functionality the user will want to use first. People are more patient with richer content but every second counts.
- Understand the customer journey. How are people arriving at my site? Have they clicked through from a sponsored search term or a mobile display banner? Some people will be looking for a quick outcome while others may want to dig down and learn more. You need to make sure the content is presented in a clear flow, which takes them on a journey of discovery. But don’t forget that it needs to lead somewhere meaningful, and ideally reward them with an outcome.
- Focus on outcomes. Design your mobile campaign sites so immediate actions can be made from the first screen. Click-to-calls, app download and store locations should all be clearly visible from the home screen. Where possible no more than three clicks to a completion. With every extra click there’s potential for drop off.
- Big is the new small. Good mobile design is not about taking your desktop browser-sized landing page and just shrinking it down. In many cases you will actually need to scale up the relative size of your images and buttons so they stand out and become touch friendly. Mobiles are navigated by fingers and thumbs with swipes and drags, and your design needs to reflect this. If you can’t press a button with your thumb, that button is too small.
- Work within existing systems. Take financial services as an example, these campaigns often need to direct customers to complex information that’s available elsewhere. In some cases the best approach may be to consider how the customer can be funnelled into existing acquisition channels, rather than investing time and resources in replicating the flow for mobile. For example, use mobile to collect customer email addresses, then send a follow-up email with detailed information and a link to the conventional website.
- Be location aware. Location-based functionality is key to increasing the relevance of the content to the user. The more relevant you are, the better the outcome. Contact info, store locations, proximity mapping and even content can all be made location aware. And this means less steps for the user, so less drop off.
- Consider all screens. The best mobile campaign sites provide a consistent user experience that customers have come to expect across all screens from PC to tablet to mobile. All these different screens have unique attributes. But your smartphone and tablets sites should never, ever be just a dumbed down version of your PC presence. Mobile can replicate all the functionality of the PC screen, from video and rich animation to product purchase. Give customers a seamless experience and they will reward you for it.
- Mobile switcher code. If you don’t have a responsive site template, switcher code implementation is an important consideration. This allows your conventional site to detect whether it’s being accessed on a mobile screen and redirect them to the mobile version. For some mobile campaigns your creative can target individual devices so switcher code is not necessary, though this can make assessing the performance of your media buys a little more complicated. If you do decide switcher code is appropriate, try to give users a choice whether to switch or not, and remember their preferences. And always keep a link back to the full version.
- Test and optimise. You will need to do this across as many relevant smartphones and tablet devices as you can. Flash should absolutely be avoided. Ostracised by Apple and made obsolete by HTML5, it’s dead technology. Simple HTML with linear layout is the easiest way to achieve compatibility across devices. Or if you have the capabilities, HTML5 allows more complex layouts and functionality. Optimising for feature phones is not essential, but if you can afford it, it means no handset is left behind.
- Track and evolve. The most important step of any site build from my perspective is the implementation of tracking. Visits, events, dwell time are all key. More robust tracking solutions will be able to give you stats on completed calls, completed video views, application downloads etc. Over a number of short-term campaigns you can evolve your mobile campaigns sites by analysing campaign metrics and optimising your sites in response.
Ultimately, you need to be confident about mobile as a platform. It’s not a secondary platform or just a ‘smaller screen’. It’s now your primary interface for greeting and interacting with consumers. Have clear goals. Consider the purpose of your landing page. Don’t create pointless ‘brochure-ware’ just for the sake of having a mobile campaign. Give customers a good reason to click through to your landing page, reward them with an outcome, and you’ll be rewarded with results.