By every yardstick, including smartphones purchased, megabytes of data used, and sales generated, mobile is making historic advancements. A study by Flurry said that smartphone adoption has been 10 times as fast as the consumer reception to the personal computer.
During the 2014 holiday shopping season, wireless devices were the conduit to meaningful dollars for retailers and other businesses. In fact, smartphones and tablets accounted for more than a third of online sales on Christmas Day as well as 57 percent of all online traffic.
Sales made from Amazon’s smartphone app doubled year over year. An impossible-to-ignore 60 percent of Amazon customers shopped on a mobile device.
Still, we were left with the impression that, while marketers were in the game, they weren’t all in.
I wrote extensively about the state of mobile marketing in my new The Art of Mobile Persuasion book. I’ll share several insights from my interviews, but first let me point to a new Forrester Research report that says that mobile maturity is rare among marketers.
An alarming (my word, not Forrester’s) 44 percent are still shrinking desktop experiences for smaller screens, 42 percent put mobile first, and only 14 percent are truly transforming the customer experience.
“The best mobile experiences provide their users with immediate value from the moment they download and open the application,” Deanna Laufer, analyst at Forrester Research and lead author on the report called The Best of Mobile User Experience 2015. “These leaders prioritize relevant functionality and perform reliably throughout the experience.
“The laggards? They hassle customers with unnecessary content and disappoint – or crash – in moments of need.”
Forrester’s attributes of leading mobile experiences include delivering clear value, optimizing efficiency and simplifying presentation.
The research company recommends that marketers serious about improving their mobile experience develop a strategic focus, maintain dedicated mobile resources, keep design and development teams small and schedule regular product releases.
Most marketers still do not understand how mobile fits into the customer journey across devices and channels, according to Forrester.
When customers encounter a poor mobile app, 47 percent will use a different app with similar functionality, 35 percent will delete it and 15 percent will not use it.
“The majority of smartphone and tablet owners – 68 percent –have attempted to make a purchase on their device,” Ms. Laufer said. “But two-thirds have failed to complete a transaction because of obstacles encountered during checkout.
“No wonder conversion rates on smartphones linger below 1 percent,” she said. “Although retailers report that their site conversion rates are only a few points higher at 2.7 percent, that difference equates to an extra $80 billion for retailers in 2015.”
Google’s Jason Spero has a more half-full view.
“I see acceleration,” Spero, Google’s Vice President of Performance Media, told me in an interview for The Art of Mobile Persuasion. “Here’s how I would tell you this. I’m thinking of the names in my narratives. In 2011, my narrative was called ‘Why Mobile?’ In 2012, my overarching starting place was ‘It’s Not Too Late To Be Early.’ In 2013, the narrative was ‘Moving From Why To How.’ People getting out of why the heck should I do this to what the heck do I do?
“In 2014, I don’t know that I had a name for it. But I started to see marketers feeling urgency. If I were to name it, I would say, ‘Growing Urgency or Broad Urgency.’ In 2015, I think we’re reaching an understanding of all the different actions that people are taking on these devices.”
And that, Spero said, is finally getting brands mobilized in a serious way.
“Marketers everywhere are waking up and feeling urgency around the understanding that for some of their consumers, this is the only place that they engage in, especially younger people and in developing markets,” Spero told me.
“For many of their consumers, the consumer is choosing to do much of the engage- ment on the mobile device.
“If I were to name 2015, I’d say it’s “We’ve Achieved Urgency’ around delivering on consumers’ mobile expectations.”
Del Monte’s Mac Tillman, Director, Media Strategy and Planning, believes that the new age of mobile and digital calls for smarts, good instincts and better measurement.
“We know mobile is important in the pre-shop experience, in the store, and in the post-shop experience,” Tillman told me. “We also know that if you don’t get it right, what was supposed to be a solution becomes an annoyance. ‘You’re getting in the way of me and my objective.’ You need to understand what the consumer wants from you.
“For instance, Del Monte has what we call the Healthy Explorer. They look to cook. What defines them is experimental cooking. On mobile, they are looking for recipes. They know the ingredients of chili that they’ve made in the past, but we can offer them a great chili recipe where they can take it up a notch with a can of corn to add texture and sweetness. Then you can deliver an offer. If you provide an offer out of context, it’s transactional just like the person who is giving out coupons in the front of the store.”
But mobile measurement limitations have been a barrier for some.
“You can measure advertising, consumer purchases, Sunday FSIs (free standing inserts),” Tillman said. “Digital doesn’t have a long history of analytics. We struggle in the red zone—from the 20-yard line to the goal line. We’re doing different things in different platforms.
“In the new emerging media, if it feels right and lines up with the brands and the company, and you can keep the risk low, you can get out and learn,” he said. “Brands need to have ideas as well as products.
“All of us are trying to figure it out—how to be part of a consumer’s life and not to be intrusive. That’s the biggest challenge we face. There’s complexity in marketing because it’s driven by many channels. We need more content—you can’t just use a 30-second commercial everywhere. On mobile, you have to think if a consumer wants a 15-second commercial even for a product that they like.
“But managing increased complexities has made us better marketers.”
Better? Perhaps. Mature? Not so fast.
(article first appeared here - http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2015/10/25/are-we-in-the-mobile-immaturity-phase/)