Optimise, Track and Test in a Mobile First World

June 11, 2015

opinion

Certain market sectors now acknowledge that a ‘mobile first’ strategy is essential to their commercial futures. We’ve come a long way since the days when Uber was one of a handful of mobile-first businesses, and household names, such as Argos, are now committed to entirely mobile focused business models.

Many large customer focused enterprises are yet to jump on board however, and an alarming number have still not optimised their core web presence for mobile.

So why is this a concern? The fastest-growing part of the internet market is display advertising, which is forecast to surge 20% this year to £2.7bn. 39% of that is mobile display advertising. Yet, at the same time, a recent IAB study suggests that 10% of the top 250 UK brands are running mobile display campaigns without an optimised site or a mobile application.

Optimisation is clearly the first objective here. When users interact with your ad on a mobile device, they need to have the best possible experience – interacting with rich media that adapts to the screen and works well, or with a mobile optimised landing page. This must be a seamless and user-friendly experience, regardless of whether the ad is independent or part of a larger mobile optimised site or mobile app.

For example, you may have encouraged a user who is interested in your brand to a new page or site. If they need to pinch or tap the screen to clearly read the text or navigate in an overly cumbersome way, your ad becomes counter productive and the bad experience will also be associated with your brand.

Your primary consideration for your mobile presence must be designing this user experience for ease of use, whether this is achieved via a mobile site, a native app or both. The next key steps are testing and tracking to ensure a better understanding of your customer. This involves testing thoroughly to ensure your site works perfectly on all devices and operating systems, and then tracking for data analysis, which accounts for the user journey from desktop to tablet and smartphone.

If you want to make fully effective use of your mobile apps, make sure you don’t keep them in silos, from a data perspective; ideally, you should know your user independently of how he or she is interacting with your service.

Proper optimised design, testing and tracking also applies to your ads, and you should always consider testing a variety of creatives. Once you have your creative assets in place, personalise them and the post-click experience thoroughly, using your own First Party Data wherever you can.

When it comes to tracking, you should use advertising platforms that gather and share data extensively – ensuring all campaign KPIs are tracked per advertising channel and that they gather as much information as possible about the audience.

It is also important that you share back with these advertising platforms in order to optimise; posting back results to advertising channels for optimisation (ideally in real time) and sharing First Party data, will also help them optimise the media buying process – working back to your advantage.

Ultimately however, brands and marketers must track as much as possible, whilst remaining realistic. Tracking and attribution systems can’t capture absolutely everything, and if you could only work with mediums where everything can be precisely measured, broadcast advertising would cease to exist!

What’s clear is that nowadays, with mobile devices having surpassed desktops and laptops as the gateway to the internet, it is essential to optimise for mobile first, and then work back to the “fixed” experience.

Gone are the days when an optimised mobile experience was a ‘nice to have’ afterthought – and for advertisers and end users alike, that is a very positive state of affairs.

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