This is a guest post by Cristina Elena Ungureanu.
Why should you go mobile? What is it there to gain by making your website or blog mobile friendly? What do we mean by “mobile”? These are only a few of the big questions I will be answering below, summarized in 6 downfalls of not adopting a mobile presence for your publishing business (no matter the size).
Being there for your reader, delivering the piece of information that he needs in the blink of an eye, guiding him on the spot, is what converts him from a weak lead into a subscriber or a customer and then into an evangelist. It is how you create a long lasting relationship, how you reach his friends/followers and, at the end of the day, how you capitalize on your audience.
While I am basing my appreciations on the media trends of today, the past 3 years actively working within the mobile environment helped me gain a much needed experience. Those two put together influenced me to come up with this list of things you are losing by not going mobile.
1. Pole position
You may not know this, but mobile devices are well on their way to becoming the primary means of accessing the Internet. In Q3 of 2013, nearly a quarter of online activity took place on mobile devices. We are looking at a 78% increase from 2012. Considering these rates, analysts predict that by 2015 mobile devices will surpass desktop and laptop computers in online usage.
According to an eMarketer.com statistics (gathered from US adults), for the first time in history, digital content consumption was, in 2013, above TV viewing time. The average time spent on digital content is more than 5 hours per day, with almost 2 and a half hours per day spent on non-voice mobile activities.
What are you losing if you are a publisher and your websites are not optimized for mobile, to be more exact? You are losing exposure, readers, viewers, subscribers and interaction from the fastest growing area of media consumption in the world.
Having a mobile presence (web app, responsive design, or any other) should be viewed as a long term investment and a great opportunity for you to stay in touch with your readers, on whichever channels they choose to access.
The migration of your readers has begun, what’s your next move?
2. Your readers’ loyalty
People treat their mobile phones better than their significant others: they’re their confidants, wallets, diaries, best friend and so much more. This behavior offers publishers a huge opportunity: to use the smartphone as a tool to convert readers into loyals.
A great example is the Financial Times HTML5 mobile web application which hit 1 million registered users in only 3 months after the launch. In addition to that, they were so successful in dodging Apple App Store Tax (30% on the subscriptions) that other bigger publishers followed: New York Times, The Atlantic Wire and even Amazon with their Kindle Cloud Reader.
Smaller publishers are adopting the FT model as well: Journalism.co.uk is a niche publisher which allows its readers to authenticate with Facebook or Twitter and share, like, comment and tweet different pieces of content from within the mobile web app itself. In addition, this lets other followers/friends to easily access the app directly within the browser, without needing to go through an app store and install it.
Delivering premium content via mobile is what makes you stand out from the crowd and can be your way of having a jump start at this relationship. It can easily separate you from your competition and rise you in the eyes of your readers, considering you are doing it right! Whether you choose to give an additional piece of information or a picture or show a mobile-exclusive interview, mobile dedicated content says “I want YOU to benefit from this!”
3. Making money on advertising
The mobile engagement nowadays is huge, therefore you can so easily benefit from a new and exciting marketing tool and also experience new leads and turn them into paid readers. Mobile advertising is growing at a rapid pace and presents many new opportunities for reaching target audiences (from QR Codes to discounts for check-ins to exclusive material). If your organization advertises on Google AdWords or other ad networks there is a good chance your ads may also be appearing in mobile listings (depending on your account settings). However, with mobile advertising you will want to ensure that your ads lead to mobile-optimized landing pages, rather than your regular desktop site, for optimal results and maximum ROI.
Consider the ascending curve of exposure that interstitial ads have right now. First of all, let’s get one thing straight – there isn’t an optimal banner size or type for everyone. One size does not fit all! However, because mobile phones have small screens, mobile banner ads might simply not get the message across to your audience effectively. This is one case for an interstitial banner. But rather than the size of the banner, it is more relevant to put it in the right place.
For example, an interstitial placed inside a game, between levels, is a pretty good idea – considering that the player is more receptive to ads in that state of mind. On the other side, placing that type of ad inside an article is not considered user-friendly, in fact, it is rather frowned upon.
Only 20% of the population is mobile-less. Google reported an increase of 400%in mobile searches compared to last year. Over 50% of internet searches are done using mobile devices. And why is that? Why do people search so much on mobile devices?
The answer to this question is easy: it’s at hand. As a matter of fact, 77% of mobile searches are done at home or at work, while only 17% take place on the go. This means that mobiles are well on their way to dethrone any other home computer your audience may have.
In December 2011 Google has announced the introduction of Googlebot-Mobile that crawls with a smartphone user-agent in addition to its previous feature phone user-agents. Also, in 2012, Google has another announcement where it introduced crawling for AJAX applications (Yes, even mobile web applications can be optimized for Google search!).
These actions were taken in order to increase the coverage of smartphone content and to provide a better search engine optimization for publishers and a great search experience for mobile users.
5. Stronger impulse for paying
The main idea is simple: being on the go, with only a mobile device at hand, your lead doesn’t have much time to rethink, compare information or search for different resources. If you combine your already-existing marketing techniques with a unique and exciting mobile experience for your visitors, you are well on the way of getting a satisfied new/returning reader and a plus in your bank account. And if you play your cards right (pay attention to what he wants, deliver with a smile and a kind word) you may transform him in someone who spreads the word amongst his friends, thus gaining more strong leads. It’s a win-win situation.
6. Brand identity
Since most media consumption is moving to mobile devices, not providing a mobile solution to your subscribers will have a negative impact on your brand, thus decreasing awareness and loosing reader interest. It’s the same as your presence on social networks – if you are not there, people start asking why and draw poor conclusions.
Always remember that actions speak louder than words - a mobile identity immediately helps you stand out and presents a positive and contemporary brand identity for you. A mobile web app, a responsive design for your website or a native application makes a positive statement before you've said anything.
It is not about what you stand to lose, but what you stand to gain
Yes, there might be some additional development cost in order to build your mobile presence, but the winnings are so much greater both on the short and on the long term. In no time, you will reach the only logical conclusion: going mobile is the best thing for your business.
Like anywhere, there may be ups and downs, advantages and disadvantages but all in all, before investing time and money into going mobile think about this: how much more are you gaining? How much time will you have to be ahead of the curve? People will start understanding the mobile environment sooner rather than later and you won’t have this leverage for much time. So embrace the mobile experience, embrace the new things before they get old and you find yourself trying to reinvent the wheel.
About the author
Cristina Elena Ungureanu is the Marketing Magic Maker of Appticles.com, a startup that helps small and medium publishers to better reach and target their mobile audience by packaging their existing content into cross-platform mobile web applications (HTML5). She is passionate about photography and tweets from @ecungureanu.