Is a Mobile-First Mentality Right for Your Organization?


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Did you use your cellphone today to read email, check the weather, or scan news headlines? If so, you used a mobile site or mobile app, and you're hardly alone.

Nearly half (46%) of all American adults own a smartphone, up 11% from last year, according to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. More people now own a phone that can access the web-an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device, etc.-than carry a more basic cell.

We already know Americans are heavily searching for information online. Increasingly, they are doing those searches on a smartphone, either when they're on-the-go or forgoing a computer even when one is available.

Marketplaces present the opportunity for conversations, and nowhere do we see this more clearly than on the web. Janice (Ginny) Redish, who wrote the seminal text on web writing, Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content That Works, explains, "Every communication is a conversation mediated by technology."

When you're sitting at your desk in the comfort of your home or office, you're engaged in one kind of conversation on your large screen. A mobile device, which offers users a smaller screen size and the ability to manipulate the screen by touch, enables a completely different type of conversation.

No matter what type of content you create-mobile, traditional web, or print-you always begin the content creation process by thinking about your reader.
If the technology is mediating the conversation, respect that conversation. Think of the way you talk on the telephone versus the language and grammar you use when you text. The technology changes the nature, tone, and sometimes the subject matter exchanged.

Your digital marketing plan should include a mobile strategy, which may include a smartphone-friendly mobile site or separate, downloadable apps. In fact, some experts are saying that you should design everything using a mobile-first attitude-meaning, assuming your audiences will only consume your content on mobile devices.

Should you be thinking mobile-first? Good question.

If you are considering your mobile content strategy, here are five things to consider and analyze before deciding if a mobile-first strategy is right for you:

  1. Analytics-What is the primary way users are accessing your site?
  2. Web or app-Are you delivering content through a mobile website or an app?
  3. Engagement-Are you noticing a drop-off when users access your content through a mobile device?
  4. Do they stay engaged with content on a mobile device as long as they do on a desktop?
  5. Conversion-If you are selling something, then you need to look at your conversion rate on mobile versus a desktop.
  6. Social media-Since a lot of social media interaction happens on mobile devices, it makes sense to measure your interaction. See how your audience is interacting with your content in those spaces.


Google's Zero Moment of Truth makes your mobile content strategy even more important. According to Google's research, the average user needs to digest 10 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision. This means your mobile content needs to be well-written, findable, and appealing.

Other important considerations to juggle when thinking about your mobile strategy include design and your technical platform. Google's recommended configuration is responsive design, but you may have a compelling reason to have a separate mobile site. Whatever you decide, ensure you have a compelling strategy behind your decision.

Create the future for your organization because sooner or later you will need your own mobile content strategy playbook.