Planning for What's Next in Mobile Content

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BEST PRACTICES SERIES

Article ImageForget the car keys, jewelry, wallet, purse, reading glasses, or watch. In 2015, the most indispensable personal item you cannot afford to leave behind on the nightstand when you get up in the morning is obvious: It's your mobile device-your invaluable lifeline linking you to the wider connected world--which serves as a virtual Swiss army knife, modern-day magic wand, and tireless secretary.

To appreciate how pervasive mobile use has become in our lives, consider the results of a Pew Research Center study of American adults published earlier this year. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed own some kind of smartphone (up from 35% in spring 2011), and 79% and 77%, respectively, say their smartphone makes them feel productive and happy. Additionally, respondents indicated they use their smartphones to do the following:

  • Text message-97%
  • Access the internet-89%
  • Send /receive email-88%
  • Engage in social networking-about 74%
  • Watch videos-about 51%

With this increased reliance on smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and various wearables comes increased pressure on industry players to deliver the cyber goods that consumers are clamoring for on their portables.

Marketers and content providers especially need to keep their fingers on the pulse of the latest trends and technologies, lest they be crushed by the stampeding mass that could suddenly break in a different direction at any time. Because let's face it: Today, consumers-not content-are king, and they expect to be treated like royalty, with a rich array of apps, articles, promotions, posts, tweets, texts, videos, and other short-attention-span-geared features at their fingertips.

Monitoring Mobile Movement

As mobile devices have become more sophisticated, so has the type of content users expect to have on them. Mobile users want high-quality and engaging experiences. If you don't give it to them, they can easily find an alternative site, app, or service that will.

Indeed, the mobile content game has radically changed in a short amount of time, and you can't afford to be playing catch-up, says Linda Crowe, VP of digital marketing solutions at Brightcove. "As consumers increasingly look to their mobile device for practically everything, marketers need to make sure their content is optimized with the quick-moving mobile audience in mind. This means giving them the type of content they want-like video-and ensuring that content can be easily viewed on a mobile device," Crowe says.

Bart De Pelsmaeker, CEO of Readz, agrees. "While we've seen a dramatic rise over the last few years in the use of mobile devices to access videos, images, and text, not many companies have made the appropriate adjustments to their content to ensure that it is delivered to their customers in a seamless way on the devices of their choice," says De Pelsmaeker. "Many people search elsewhere when they come across content that isn't optimized for their device, and this behavior is not going to change." Thankfully, mobile content has shifted away from an earlier "website" mentality.

"The prevailing thought was, ‘Just make your website smaller-that is what people want with their mobile devices.' It turns out that premise was wrong, and focused applications that can provide a contextually relevant experience have won the day," says Alex Muller, CEO of GPShopper. "The consumer favors these applications because they are built for the unique environment of the mobile device. They interact with the camera, for instance, to scan bar codes or take pictures of checks."

Furthermore, as devices become more similar to mini-computers than just mobile phones, they are providing capabilities and connection speeds similar to desktops and laptops. "Screen sizes are getting bigger, allowing users to do more for longer periods of time," says David Calabrese, president of STRV. "In addition, having access to cloud-based tools removes the need for traditional devices that require large downloads."

What's more, he says, hardware and storage on devices now match some laptops, and processing is often faster on some of the more powerful devices today than the laptops we purchased just a year or 2 ago.

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