How many times have you picked up your phone today to check email, send a text message, browse the internet, make a purchase, or to simply learn something new? The answer: More than you realize. Recent studies suggest people pick up their phones more than 150 times a day. Among Catalyst's client base of Fortune 1000 brands, two-thirds of all paid social ad clicks and one-half of all paid search clicks in Q2 of 2016 were on phones or tablets.
Welcome to the new reality. For brands to succeed in 2017, CMOs must adopt a mobile-first strategy to court consumers at the right time with the right message.
According to a study published by eMarketer in April: “Mobile is affecting traditional paths to purchase. Mobile commerce is growing faster than either ecommerce or retail and is transforming the way shoppers approach all three. Desktop may still have 84% of the U.S. ecommerce sale share, according to comScore, but 61% of all time spent with retail sites is now on mobile.”
Smartphones are now the consumer’s adviser, personal assist, and digital wallet. Looking to the future, the mobile path to purchase in 2017 will be more secure, frictionless, and omnipresent.
This shift in consumer behavior toward a mobile-centric world represents a significant opportunity for CMOs. Opportunistic executives can take advantage of emerging mobile technologies and targeting options to engage consumers and improve conversion rates in an ever-increasingly competitive landscape. CMOs looking to capitalize on these new opportunities should consider the following three key areas where early adoption can lead to mobile success in the coming year.
Improved Speed Of Content Delivery
In recent years, Google has placed greater emphasis on speed—how fast content is rendered on mobile devices—rewarding mobile-friendly websites with higher search visibility and lower CPCs. Google even distinguishes these listings from others with a mobile-friendly designation, which contributes to increased click-through rates and returning site visitors.
Building on the concept of mobile friendliness, Google’s open standards project, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages Project), was launched to streamline content delivery using a non-template-based system to augment any existing web page, regardless of the web technologies in use. Primarily aimed at publishers, AMP redefined the delivery of news content in search. With a click, news articles load lightning fast on any mobile device.
The value of AMP to organic search is certainly clear. How does this relate, though, to paid search initiatives? Page speed is factored into paid search quality scores, especially for mobile-specific ads.
Advertisers who are early adopters of the AMP open standard will benefit from higher quality scores, which generate cost efficiencies while providing consumers an immediacy of content. That, in turn, contributes to higher engagement and conversion rates. Although considered a technology implementation, CMOs would be remiss by not making the adoption of AMP a priority in 2017.
The Rise Of Geo, Local, And Hyperlocal
The use of mobile devices is transforming how people find local businesses and products. From a May 2016 study conducted by Google, 76% of people who search on their mobile devices for something nearby visit the business within a day. Twenty-eight percent of these searches result in a purchase.
The number of “near me” searches have increased 147% year over year, and that number continues to climb. In response, Google has announced new ad units for local results, which will be further integrated into Apple Maps, providing brands new opportunities to capitalize on local-intent qualifiers in search. Tactical implementations will eventually include geo-conquesting—targeting ads around competitor locations.
Location and beacon technologies have matured in the past year. However, activation requires consumers to have a brand’s beacon-enabled app installed, thus lowering adoption rates. Google’s recent launch of Nearby extends the boundaries of current beacon technologies by making the experience more frictionless and will be an interesting development to watch in 2017. Only available on Andriod devices, Nearby will send a push notification to users alerting them of an app’s availability based on their location.
For retailers, showrooming—in which consumers use their mobile devices to comparison shop while in a retail store—is a growing concern. Recent studies from Google say 82% of smartphone users consult their phones while in store to inform their purchases. Nearby is a fascinating implementation that can help address this behavior with a friendly app reminder.
Emerging App Advertising Opportunities
The net benefit of mobile apps versus mobile websites centers on convenience, speed to browse, better user experiences, and ease of shopping. With apps, consumers are more likely to have payment and shipping details saved, contributing to higher conversion rates than web-based activity.
As of June, there were approximately 2 million apps available in the iOS App Store, with 1,000 new apps added daily. Unfortunately, due to the proliferation of the app ecosystem, app stores are now cluttered, limiting discovery opportunities for brands.
As a result, both Apple and Google have launched paid search equivalents (CPC, auction) within their respective app stores to enable brands to promote app downloads. With a range of audience targeting capabilities already being offered, expect 2017 to bring further targeting and performance measurement enhancements to the mobile apps landscape.
As 2016 comes to a close, search innovation is squarely centered on mobile. From Google and Apple to Microsoft and Facebook, 2017 will foster growth in search inventory, expanded targeting capabilities, and maturing technological advancements that mirror mobile consumer behavior.
Learn to leverage insights to anticipate the moments in which users consult their phones during the consumer journey. To be successful with your mobile strategy in 2017, ensure your message is relevant to the consumers’ needs and seize the opportunity to provide a mobile experience that is fast and frictionless.