Don’t Make These Mobile Marketing Mistakes

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Mobile has become the star of marketing media, but letting its dazzle blind you to some marketplace realities could cost you money, sales and opportunities. A September 30 MediaPost report highlighted five common mistakes that can make mobile marketing campaigns go wrong:

Mistake #1: Putting all your eggs in one mobile basket. While mobile traffic for publishers like Buzzfeed, Glamour and CNN is exploding, advertisers aren’t publishers. Moreover, even if mobile turns out to be your first medium, it shouldn’t become your only one. This is because online traffic isn’t a zero-sum game. While not mushrooming as rapidly as mobile, desktop (and laptop) traffic is still growing, too. What’s more, mobile and desktop use aren’t mutually exclusive; they’re complementary. Desktop traffic is daytime traffic, building at 9 AM, peaking at noon and starting to decline at 6 PM. That’s when mobile traffic starts to peak, according to publisher analytics service Chartbeat. So unless you’re prepared to stop doing business during normal business hours, you neglect desktops and laptops at your peril.

Mistake #2: Spending money on mobile apps you don’t need. Just because consumers buy with their smartphones, that doesn’t mean they use apps to do it. In the travel category, for example, a 2014 Google study found that while business travelers make bookings with apps, leisure travelers book through mobile websites. This is because business travelers already know which airlines, hotels and car rental companies they use frequently, while leisure travelers planning, say, an annual vacation, start with search engines, which lead to websites. As a general principle, apps may be great for frequent customers, but you need websites to reach new ones.

Mistake #3: Treating smartphones and tablets alike. They may work the same way, but consumers use them differently. According to Forrester research, consumers use their tablets more like desktops or laptops than handsets. This is why it makes sense to split smartphone and tablet traffic. It’s also why Google’s Enhanced Campaign Tool groups tablet advertising buys with desktop buys, not smartphone buys.

Mistake #4: Assuming mobile purchasing works the same way in all product categories. It doesn’t. While mobile purchasing may dominate retail buying,  PhoCusWright estimates that in 2015, all of 75 percent of travel bookings will be made on desktops. Even within the travel category, while last-minute, short-term bookings made (probably as a matter of necessity) on smartphones is skyrocketing, but but seven-day stays booked 120 days or more in advance still come in mostly from desktops. So you need to analyze the nature of sales against their origins, and market accordingly.

Mistake #5: Not having a clearly defined mobile marketing objective. A majority of marketers – 57 percent, to be specific – don’t, the Forrester study found. Among those who did, many objectives were too vague to be useful – increasing customer engagement, whatever that may mean, or increasing general brand awareness. More than one-fourth (26 percent) said they were using mobile “to appear innovative.” That, says MediaPost, “sounds a bit like wearing glasses to appear intelligent.” A bank’s objective, for example, might be to cut costs by having customers complete transactions with their mobile phones instead of with tellers. A fast-moving consumer goods brand measures ROI across all screens based on incremental sales at the cash register. And a German luxury auto manufacturer monitors when smartphone users request test drives and to what extent it converts test-drivers into car buyers.

In sum, mobile can be a great marketing too. But like most tools, it depends on how well you use it.

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