Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To complement the brand new mobile marketing classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to discuss three rules for developing effective mobile content.
Near the end of 2016, Zenith forecast that 75% of online content consumption will be mobile by the end of 2017.
Combine that with the fact that mobile is the fastest-growing channel for digital media consumption, and it’s easy to see that mobile marketing will be defined by content in the near and distant future.
While the rules for generating mobile content are similar to the rules for generating desktop content, they come with some caveats. Executing mobile marketing strategies according to these rules can make the difference between generating mobile content that users scroll right past and content that users stop and click.
If you want to generate mobile content that users stop and click, then it’s essential to know the three Cs of creating content that targets mobile users.
1. Curate for Mobile Traffic
Across many fields, content creation has always been about cultivating information that reaches the right audience. SEO experts will tell you that publishing information with optimum keyword density goes a long way toward curating the kind of content that will attract the most relevant traffic. What they might not tell you is that if your target audience is mobile users, you have some unique considerations to entertain.
First of these considerations is that since 2015, Google has been using a mobile-first ranking index to create search listings based on how individual pages register on mobile devices. This is because the search giant wants its listings to reflect the way the majority of its users find that content via smartphone and tablet.
Second of these considerations is that mobile sites are increasingly more likely have their content rank higher via Google Search and other search engines, especially if they support the following:
- Fewer ads and less text than desktop websites.
- More mobile-optimized content than desktop websites.
- Greater quality content (i.e., more focused keywords) than desktop websites.
The biggest takeaway here is that longtail keywords, or highly technical keywords and key phrases should be the first things to include when creating content tailored for mobile users.
This means that marketing managers need to make surgical decisions about the amount of text, length of content, and quality of engagement they’re asking for on mobile sites, so as to curate content that maximally targets and reaches mobile traffic.
2. Craft for Mobile Engagement
What if I told you that mobile engagement is different than desktop engagement?
Think about the last time you witnessed someone using their phone to perform a search. Their face probably hovered within inches of their device while they used their thumb to scroll rapidly through a short list of results for the answer they were seeking. Now think about the last time you witnessed someone using a desktop to perform a search: their face was probably situated more than a foot away from their monitor while they used a mouse to scroll intermittently through a long list of results for an answer they could compare against many others.
This broadly describes the difference in intimacy between tap behavior and click behavior. Of course, both behaviors measure user engagement: but because tap behavior is literally more hands-on than click behavior, it means the user tends to engage more intimately with content they navigate via fingertip than with mouse.
This intimacy difference in behavior means that mobile users often arrive at a piece of content with a greater sense of urgency than desktop users. So if the rushed mobile user cannot find and engage with what they’re looking for quickly, they are likely to bounce away faster than you can say "tap Here."
All this means that mobile content should be designed with an intuitive funnel in mind. The best mobile content funnels maintain a simple, elegant, scroll-and-tap engagement structure that is small enough to fit the majority of mobile device screens.
3. Cut if Reiterative or Not Mobile-Optimized
Like we discussed in 3 Mobile Marketing Strategies Proven to Convert Customers, it is imperative that your site is mobile-optimized. This is especially true with the new prevalence of Google’s mobile-first ranking index.
It’s also imperative to consider that optimizing your site for mobile should involve prioritizing the most informative and interactive components of your site at the top of the page. Doing so demonstrates to search engines and users that you have a keen eye for organizing the content that routes mobile users to your site, or in other words, that you’re giving people what they want.
What we didn’t tell you last month is what happens if your content isn’t giving people what they want. If that’s the case, Google essentially considers any content that is either reiterative or not mobile optimized to be dead weight when it averages its rankings. Dead weight content can drag down content that is performing well in terms of web traffic, meaning that poorly optimized content can hurt your site’s overall performance in Google’s rankings.
This also means that to optimize your site’s performance among mobile users, you should cut content that is either reiterative or not mobile optimized. Doing so could lead to a boost in your content’s performance sitewide.
The bottom line is this: Mobile traffic behaves and engages with content differently than desktop traffic. The best way to account for these differences when devising a content strategy that targets mobile users is to curate short, concise, graphic content that is specially crafted around simple design principles and unhindered by holes in mobile optimization strategy.