Mobile has become a pervasive medium. We are glued to our devices everywhere we go and throughout the day. Gartner predicts that U.S. consumers will have purchased 188 million smartphones by 2016 and that tablets will comprise half of laptop shipments by 2015. As the demand for laptops and PCs decreases, we see mobile skyrocketing. Now -- more than ever -- it is crucial for brands to harness the power of mobile to reach their target audiences regardless of their location or device usage. Many brands have embraced mobile, but many are making mistakes that impact everything from the user experience, to engagement and the bottom line. Let's take a look at the biggest mistakes brands are making when it comes to mobile marketing:
Mobile must be a good reflection of the brand
The biggest crime that brands are committing is not offering their customers a perfect and fluent brand experience on a mobile device. Common mistakes are not including a mobile-optimized website at all or -- even worse -- trying to recreate the same experience and features as a full website on a mobile site. This over complicates the experience and results in lost revenue since we know that consumers will purchase from a retailer 51 percent of the time if they have a mobile site. Similarly, under-investing in mobile technology and/or experts results in a broken or unimpressive experience.
Apps need focus
Almost every utility or entertainment app we have seen built by a brand for mobile has practically no usage. They are riddled with heavyweight experiences that are too complex and have too many features. To be effective brands should keep their app objective simple. "Less is more" is not a cliché. The most successful apps do one thing and do it right. Take Coca-Cola's Spin The Bottle app. The original app (downloaded more than 870,000 times) was a simple take on the classic spin the bottle game. Once users had the free app they could choose a series of themes -- each with its own soundtrack and background -- and then using the touch screen interface, spin the iconic glass bottle. The app is simple, easy, and to the point. No matter what your idea is or what your brand wants to achieve, think about what specific problem you are solving or unique experience you want to offer consumers and keep it straightforward.
If you build it, they might not come
Building any mobile product (apps, sites, etc.) without having any sort of promotional strategy is also a big mistake. The app marketplace is extremely crowded and it's difficult to get attention. There are over 1 million apps on the iOS app store alone. Some brands are investing millions of dollars into producing applications with no launch strategy, and therefore do not drive the users they were expecting or hoping for. The most effective way to drive usage of mobile applications is through mobile advertising -- it's a no brainer. Advertise directly on the devices where the app or site will be used and/or downloaded.
Mobile translates into non-mobile actions
Albert Einstein famously said "Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted." Some brands that have ventured into mobile marketing and advertising are being too cautious. While it's possible to track ROI on mobile campaigns when the conversion occurs on the mobile device -- such as a hotel room booked through an app, or a pizza ordered through a mobile site -- it's not possible to measure the effect that mobile advertising has on customers' actions in store or on a desktop. But, that does not mean that mobile marketing doesn't have an effect. Models can be put into place to estimate the impact of mobile beyond mobile. The biggest fault is when a brand does not attribute any success, and therefore budget, to mobile for conversions which have happened offline or on a desktop.
Iterating and proper targeting are the keys to engagement
Finally, we feel brands are not quite there yet in terms of analyzing the users' interaction and lifetime value. Once a user has downloaded your app, the starting point of effective interaction is to understand their behavior -- what they do, what they don't, their path, or the success of some of your mobile features. The second step is to go one step beyond the mass notification to segment users and only send the right message to the right person. According to Flurry, only 35 percent of the users who have downloaded an application still use it after 90 days. Understanding and improving user engagement on mobile is really something brands should focus on this year.
Mobile is a virtual panacea for brands -- if it's done right. Brands need to embrace the medium and its unique abilities to engage with their target audiences practically anytime and anywhere. Avoiding the pitfalls outlined above is a great first step in ensuring that their mobile brand presence builds on the existing brand equity and establishes deeper relationships with their target consumers.
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