Why Mobile Matters More Than Ever

Why Mobile Matters More Than Ever

Quick: What’s one thing everyone reading this article has in common (other than this article?) We all have a smartphone. Furthermore, I’m fairly certain we’ve all used a smartphone today, either to check email or go on the Internet or both. You might even be reading this on a smartphone. Smartphones and mobile devices have become so prevalent that you can’t walk down the street or into a restaurant without seeing one in use.

We know this as consumers. We live it every day at work and at home, with our colleagues and our families. But are we acting on this knowledge as marketers?

Proof that mobile is the new normal
The mobile shopping statistics of Thanksgiving Day 2014 should have skyrocketed mobile to the top of every marketer’s priority list, if it wasn’t there already. Only consider the Thanksgiving and Black Friday numbers:

  • Three out of five people shopping online on Thanksgiving Day were doing so on mobile devices.(source)
  • On Thanksgiving Day, mobile devices accounted for 2 million visits, 30,000 orders and $4 million in revenue. (source)
  • Compared to Thanksgiving Day 2013, the mobile market share of all online revenue increased 55%. (source)
  • On Black Friday 2014, 47% of online traffic came from mobile devices, up 24.2% from the same day last year. (source)

Yet less than half of the major retailers were mobile first in their marketing. According to Chad White, “On or around Black Friday, only 47% of major retailers sent promotional emails that used either mobile-aware or responsive design.”That’s right: Less than half of marketers were ready for this mobile shopping spree.

Mobile is a contender all year long
Obviously 2015 is the year marketers need to get going on mobile and responsive design. Although Thanksgiving Day is now a huge shopping day for online retailers, consumers shop all year long—and marketers email them all year long.

Much of that shopping--and marketing--is done on smart phones and tablets. With open rates around 50% for mobile devices and climbing ever higher, we can know with certainty that people are spending more time with their smaller screens. It’s time to recognize that such a mobile preference exists January through December, not just around the Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Not being mobile ready at the start of the holiday shopping season is bad enough. Not being ready at all is worse.

Responsive design makes mobile happen
Mobile marketing means taking mobile into account and assuming a significant percentage of your audience will probably consume your content on a phone or tablet. And as you move your marketing towards mobile, responsive design becomes more important to your strategy. Although responsive design is not required to deliver an email to a mobile device, it can lead to a better user experience, which can lead to more engagement and conversions as a result--especially when responsive design is used for landing pages and websites too.

Although about half of all emails are opened on mobile devices now, that does not necessarily equate to a proportionate number of click throughs and conversions. A study by MailChimp proves that opens don’t always equal engagement when it comes to mobile email marketing.

MailChimp looked at over 395 million emails, comparing behavior between smart phones, tablets and desktops. They found that 72% of the clicks happened on desktops, 19% on mobile, and a measly 9% on tablets. Desktop users were also far more likely to click on multiple links within an email. Open rates might be high on mobile devices, but click throughs are far from it.

However, MailChimp also discovered that responsive design had a dramatic impact on the click-through rate on mobile devices: Responsive design increased unique clicks on mobile devices by 15%. It also improved click-through rates on desktops and tablets.

As consumers, we’ve become a mobile society and we’re never looking back. Rather, we will spend ever more time with our smaller screens, and expect brands to accommodate us in this new space.

As marketers, it’s time to catch up.