Mobile Marketing: The Complete Guide for 2019

March 28, 2019

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Mobile marketing has been changing the digital marketing game for over a decade now. In 2019, the vast majority of your current and target customers are using mobile devices to engage with and discover new brands every day.

It’s an exciting time because of the marketing opportunities available via mobile devices. However, there is a lot of ground to cover when it comes to tackling the challenges of mobile marketing.

This guide is about more than just exploring the reasons why mobile marketing is important and how to excel at it. Use this blog as a tool to help you make important decisions about your website’s mobile design/development and marketing tactics.

We decided to break down this guide into 4 sections:

Part I: How to Create a Mobile-First Marketing Strategy

Part II: How to Improve Your SEO Efforts for Your Mobile Website 

Part III: How to Use Data to Improve Your Mobile Marketing

Part IV: How to Implement a Winning Mobile Advertising Strategy

#1 – How to Create a Mobile-First Marketing Strategy

First, we want to talk about a few non-negotiable requirements for creating a mobile-focused strategy that results in measurable success. These points are applicable to having a thriving mobile strategy, and a successful marketing strategy overall. 

Take a Consumer-First Approach

Take the time to know your target audience of mobile customers and pick the method of mobile marketing communication that will be the most effective for your goals. Your objective for each interaction will change depending on the type of prospective customer you are targeting, and what stage he or she is within the sales funnel.

For example, creating an SMS (texting) campaign for the segment of your targets that is particularly interested and ready to act is a great idea. Texting can be super effective, but only if you’re smart about it. It’s invasive if you send even a harmless, vague sales-related text message to someone who didn’t want to hear from your business (or doesn’t know about you at all).

SMS Marketing Example Image - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Start your text message interactions with a double opt-in.

– Disclose who you are and explain your offer immediately to spark interest.

 If it’s a limited time offer, create a sense of urgency in the message and mention location.

Include a specific call to action that they can actually follow.

– Explain how often your recipient should expect to receive these messages .

Focus On Maximizing Conversions

Tracking your return on investment is obligatory when it comes to making the most of your mobile marketing budget. It’s a fast-paced niche of marketing, and your tactics need to be tested and optimized often. How? Establish Key Performance Metrics (KPIs).

Identify key performance metrics that will help you decide how your mobile marketing campaigns are performing according to your goals. Metrics and measurement will allow you to defend your dollars spent.

First, reflect on your mobile marketing goals, then:

Ask yourself if you want to increase conversions from email campaigns.

 Decide whether or not improving traffic to certain sales or services web pages is a top priority.

Figure out if your main goal is improving your lead qualification process.

To track lead acquisition, is to place CTA (call to action) button or link in an accessible place in your emails and social media bios.

Create a mobile-optimized landing page and if you include any forms, be sure they’re brief and mobile-friendly. The user experience of going from landing page to check out needs to be seamless.

Mobile Friendly Landing Page Example - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Let’s take a look at an example. The skincare startup, Curology, uses mobile through Instagram ads (and a vibrant Instagram feed) to educate, inform, and target potential customers about the company.

In such a competitive space, Curology’s focus on customized skin care helps it stand out. However, the brand’s marketing strategy wouldn’t be as effective without its focus on maximizing conversions through mobile channels.

The mobile-first/social media-centric focus of Curology’s marketing is especially key because of its millennial target audience. For example, one of the brand’s straightforward mobile landing pages (pictured above) easily guides visitors to begin the process of starting a free trial.

Adjust Your Advertising & Paid Social for Mobile

Google Ads and paid social ads are key pieces of a holistic mobile digital marketing strategy. You don’t have to spend a vast amount of money to make an impact.

Make sure you keep your advertising bids to a minimum at the beginning, and realize that your campaign might not even get enough views to qualify for limited bids. More importantly, every single ad you run (whether it’s text-based or image-based), should be completely mobile responsive. If this means designing a different version of the ad for mobile, then so be it.

Facebook Mobile Ad Example - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

You have to be proactive and smart about your content choice, audience targeting approach (and frequency of targeting), budget, and optimization. Luckily, In 2019, mobile-optimizing your Google PPC (pay per click) and Facebook ads is easier than it was in the past.

There are plenty of free or paid tools available to help you optimize your ads for a mobile screen. To make sure your Facebook ads are suitable for mobile devices, get familiar with Facebook’s Ads Manager tools by taking their free e-learning courses such as Blueprint.

Your ads’ visibility and ability to captivate users on their mobile devices will influence their overall visibility. You should always try to tailor mobile paid campaigns in a way that helps them work together and complement each other to achieve maximum effectiveness.

Decide If You Need an App to Support Your Mobile Marketing Efforts

You don’t necessarily need an app for your business. Whether or not you need an app depends on your type of business and how you measure success. However, in some cases not having an app could have a negative impact on your brand’s credibility (especially in certain industries such as retail).

With a mobile app, you can drive engagement, extend your product/service, and support your ecommerce efforts. If your goal is to increase sales, you need an ecommerce focused app that can facilitate transactions.

If your main goal is lead generation, your app need to give some kind of incentive (such as valuable, interesting content) in exchange for users’ contact information.

The retail clothing company Urban Outfitters has an app that not only facilitates transactions but also promotes the store’s rewards program (which requires a user to provide his/her email).

Mobile App Ecommerce Marketing Example - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

The content of your push notifications and in-app notifications (such as reminders, CTAs, etc.) should be well written and reflect your brand’s voice. Push notifications have the great potential of helping you retain mobile app users and increase time spent using your app.

Key tip: Be aware of app store optimization (ASO). Similar to SEO, ASO is about improving an app’s visibility in the search results within an app store (in which you’re competing with thousands of other apps for attention).

This article by Search Engine Journal highlights some important best practices to keep in mind. If you go through the trouble of creating an app to help your mobile marketing, you want people to be able to find it easily. You want to give your app the best possible chance for success.

The infographic below highlights some key ranking factors in the two main app stores (Apple and Google).

App Store Optimization Infographic - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

#2 – How to Improve Your SEO Efforts for Your Mobile Website

To improve your search engine result page (SERP) ranking for mobile and desktop users, you need to start by covering the SEO basics.

You can try every “hack” to make your site more visible to mobile users, but it won’t help if Google’s search bots aren’t crawling the mobile version of your site correctly. In our Chainlink blog feed, you’ll find a number of articles outlining best practices when it comes to SEO.

Now, we’ve put together our essential mobile SEO advice in an organized way, made some updates, and shared it with you below.

Using the GSC to Improve Your Mobile Site

The Google Search Console (GSC) is an ideal place to ensure all versions of your website are optimized. Google’s Mobile-First Index is living proof that best practices for mobile SEO are foundational. Over the past couple of years, Google started ranking websites’ positions in search results solely based on the mobile version of the page.

Even if you’re searching from a desktop computer or laptop, the rankings you see on Google SERPs are the same as mobile rankings.

Here are a few tools offered through GSC that are extremely helpful:

1) Mobile Friendly Test Tool

Google provides a free way for you to learn about and check your website’s mobile usability. Check out Google’s explanation of the tool and try it for yourself to identify issues and come up with a game plan to tackle them. Check out the tool for yourself.

Google Mobile Friendly Test Tool - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

2) URL Inspection Tool

Google’s URL Inspection tool in Search Console shows you exactly how Google’s search bots render your content. You can use the tool to ensure that the search bots can crawl both the standard and mobile versions of your site (your JavaScript, CSS, image files, etc.) You can identify and fix a number of indexing issues on your site using this tool.

Google URL Inspection Tool - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

3) Google Search Console’s Performance Report

The Performance Report is a great way to get a quick comparison of how your Desktop versus your Mobile versions of your website are doing according to Google. When you compare by device over a period of time, you’ll get a snapshot of performance data such as total clicks, total impressions, and average CTR.

Google Search Console Performance Report Example - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Optimizing Your Mobile Site’s User Experience

When mobile device users like the mobile version of your website, Google search bots will favor your website more, too. The goal is for users to appreciate the practicality and visuals of your mobile site while search engine bots recognize positive ranking signals. Below are a couple of ways to help achieve both:

1) Make Your Content Easily Legible and Organized

Creating a mobile responsive website is 100% necessary if you want mobile users to take your business seriously. Your bounce rate will soar if your mobile site isn’t responsive and visually appealing, because in 2019 more websites than ever before are aware of the importance.

You might even decrease your business’s overall credibility if your content isn’t easy to read on smartphones. In the same way people judge a business based on its email blasts, consumers are less forgiving about poorly designed mobile sites.

Mobile Website Not Responsive Example Image - Chainlink Relationship Marketing
Mobile Website Responsive Example Images - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Note the blatant difference between these two competing local businesses’ mobile websites above.

The menu is nearly impossible to read for one of them, whereas the other one lists its menu items in a mobile-friendly format. If you were quickly trying to choose between these two similar restaurants, it’s clear which one you might pick.

2) Know Your Mobile Users’ Search Intent

The mobile version of your website needs a well designed interface, but it’s not enough to make sure customers find your site.

Knowing your prospective customers’ search intent is the first step to figuring out how you’re going to best meet their needs. The goal is for mobile users to find what they need to find and do what they want to do intuitively on your website.

For the past few years Google has been reporting that consumers on mobile devices are usually more likely to make a purchase than desktop users. Paying closer attention to mobile users’ intent through data collection and analysis is worth it. You might even need a member of your team to dedicate the majority of their time to this effort.

Responsive Different iPhone Screen Sizes - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Key tip: Google advises that you double check responsiveness across differently sized mobile devices.

Different phone models and iPads/tablets have varying displays. We encourage testing your site on multiple devices and screen sizes after every change you make to the site (no matter how minimal). 

3) How to Improve Your Mobile Local SEO Efforts

Optimize mobile for local SEO. Making sure you’re optimizing your local SEO for mobile is also incredibly important, especially if you’re a small business. Remember that local search results do not appear the same as typical Google search results.

Thankfully, it’s not complicated to improve your local SEO for mobile. If you produce content tailored to your local audience, it will automatically start to improve your local rankings. Be sure to thoughtfully consider your local targets and building local links as well.

Here are a few more quick tips to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success in terms of mobile local SEO:

 Be sure that your Google My Business page is set up properly/fully optimized. Include quality images (or relevant business logos and graphics).

Make sure your contact information and your About Us section is up to date on your website and across your social media accounts.

 Brainstorm ways to gain more positive Google and Yelp reviews (i.e. reach out to past customers) and then display them somewhere on your website.

Google My Business Mobile Example Image - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

#3- How to Use Data to Improve Your Mobile Marketing

Marketing in the age of overwhelming amounts of data is empowering but also poses some challenges. Google uses localization and personalization to influence how and where websites appear in search results, and how behavior, proximity and optimization influence these factors.

How can you use the data available to you about your site’s performance on mobile devices? Let’s talk about the use of localized data to improve websites, especially it terms of mobile ecommerce (often abbreviated to “m-commerce”) websites.

Using Localized Data to Improve Your

Mobile Marketing Strategy

One major advantage of mobile marketing is the availability of localized mobile device usage data. When you know a target’s location and their consumer behavior data, you have a better chance of success at nudging them towards following through with a purchase.

1) More In-Depth Insights About Your Target Audience

Mobile marketing paves the way for deeper insights into your target consumer’s behavior. Data about your targets’ locations when making purchases is particularly useful. Location-based data can improve the accuracy of your mobile marketing attribution and overall insights.

When we say marketing attribution, we mean assigning value to marketing touch points to identify what ultimately drove a customer to make a purchase. The infographic below from Smart Insights shows a few examples of common mobile marketing touchpoints.

Mobile Marketing Touchpoints Attribution - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

2) More Conversions Due to Location-Based Data

You can figure out how a location-based ad viewed by a customer on his/her mobile device influenced that individual to take action. Ultimately, you can determine how an individual target’s exposure to an ad proves its effectiveness, and connect the dots to create more successful mobile marketing campaigns in the future.

If your conversion rate is lacking, it might be time to start spending more of your marketing budget on mobile advertising.

3) More Meaningful Engagement With Your Targets

 You can engage more meaningfully with your targets when you try advanced mobile marketing tactics such as geofencing, geotargeting, and even geoconquesting.

Let’s go over each of these terms and how marketing messaging and ads tailored to a certain area can increase overall engagement with your company/brand.

– Geofencing

This tactic is when marketers/advertisers send specifically targeted messages to targets on their smartphones. In order for a geofence to work, targets need to opt-in (otherwise it would be extremely invasive and creepy).

A prime example is the geofence for Macy’s. When you are nearby or inside the department store, you’ll often notice you’re receiving more ads and notifications about promotions from the department store giant. In fact, Macy’s high tech mobile app has beacon technology enabled by a user’s location in a Macy’s store.

For one particular Black Friday promotional effort called “Walk In & Win”, shoppers at hundreds of Macy’s stores (who had the Macy’s app on their smartphones) received push notifications for discounts and prizes triggered by their proximity to “beacons” placed throughout the stores.

Location Based Mobile Marketing Macy's Example - Chainlink Relationship Marketing
– Geotargeting

This tactic is similar to geofencing, but it uses historical rather than real time data to decide when and who to serve an ad or deliver content. How is a mobile app allowed historical location data of a user?

When the user downloads the app, a notification pops (similar to the one below) up asking permission to collect a user’s location data. A large percentage of people mindlessly allow it, and once enabled, the app knows the user’s GPS coordinates.

App Notification Location Tracking Example Geotargeting - Chainlink Relationship Marketing
– Geoconquesting

This tactic is about targeting your customers with a discount or a captivating ad when they are in or near a competitor’s location. Rival brands have been known to do this to each other often, making last minute attempts to divert targets’ attention away from the competition.

One example a company effectively using geoconquesting push notifications is Burger King. The fast food chain targets customers in the vicinity of competitors like McDonalds with special deals and coupons. This tactic is sure to divert people’s attention away from Burger King’s competitor, at least momentarily.

Burger King has also made clever deals for mobile app users in the past. Last year they offered their signature Whopper for the price of a penny when customers placed their order via their app within a few hundred feet of any McDonald’s location (the “Whopper Detour”).

Mobile Marketing Geoconquesting Example Burger King - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

Note: Location-based mobile marketing technology is becoming more advanced. For example, technology such as near-field communication (NFC) or augmented reality to trigger ad delivery, alerts, or content to a smartphone that is recognized as being a certain distance from a specific location.

Proximity marketing and privacy and location-based marketing are constantly evolving, which is exciting but also requires marketers to approach mobile marketing strategically.

Increase Your M-Commerce Site’s User Engagement

 To increase mobile users’ engagement with your ecommerce website, you have to create a positive and memorable customer experience. Consider your target consumer’s state of mind at the time they visit your website, and use that insight to shape your mobile user’s experience on the site.

Since the average person’s smartphone is essentially an extension of his/her hand, mobile marketers have the power to have a more direct effect on someone’s consumer behavior and buying habits.

1) Users appreciate a mobile site that loads fast

 Prospective and current customers alike are more impatient than ever before, and they want your mobile site to load quickly. Especially since customers viewing your mobile site are usually on the move while using their smartphones to find your site, it makes sense that they want a website to match their fast pace.

2) Users appreciate a streamlined mobile checkout process

Limit the number of steps required to make a purchase, and integrate trusted and secure payment services (i.e. PayPal).

If a customer has to click through a ton of mobile web pages, and each of them takes time to load, they might lose their patience and not follow through. As pointed out by the online publication, Smashing Magazine, Sephora has an extremely straightforward checkout process (both through their app and on the mobile version of their website).

Mobile Checkout Example Sephora - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

#4- How to Implement a Winning Mobile Advertising Strategy

 Mobile advertising is taking over the PPC/digital advertising world. For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to focus on Google’s suite of digital advertising products, which were completely rebranded and revamped in 2018. We wrote an introductory overview to Google Ads for Mobile that you can check out here.

Mobile Marketer recently reported that location-targeted ads will make up the biggest part of mobile ad growth. According to the survey, 35.5% of businesses are using mobile location-conscious ads, and almost 24% are using mobile search.

Planning Your Overall Mobile Marketing Strategy

 How do you want your mobile ads to fit into your overall mobile marketing strategy? Assuming that you have defined your mobile ad campaign goals and your target demographic, the next step is choosing your ad types.

Let’s talk about some of the main different kinds of mobile ads and how they could prove useful:

1) Banner Ads

Mobile banner ads can be useful for certain cases, but only if they are visually appealing, highly relevant, and of course mobile responsive.  For example, the mobile banner ads below (from Barney’s New York) work well because they are designed for mobile and appear while a user is scrolling through a style related article on Fashionista.com.

Banner Ad Mobile Example Fashionista - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

2) Video Ads

Before you choose to launch a mobile video ad campaign, be sure it’s a good fit for your company’s goals (and budget). The cost to create a high quality video clip and target the correct demographic might not be worth the price.

However, if you’re confident that you’ll impress a segment of your target audience with video ads, go for it. If you’re ambivalent about the response you’ll get from mobile users, hold off.

Consider your own experience as a mobile device user who has been forced to watch the first 10 seconds of an irrelevant video ad multiple times before being able to view the web content you were actually seeking out.

3) Interactive Ads

If you can afford to invest in the strategic creation of interactive ads, it’s a smart move. The pay-off of re-imagining the typical mobile ad is that the interactivity means brands “spend more valuable time” with their target customers digitally. 

Today, more businesses than ever before are embracing the gamification of mobile advertising. Creating interactive rich media ads could help your mobile ad engagement skyrocket, so it’s worth a try. As pointed out by MobileAds.com, Pizza Hut in Indonesia succeeded by creating an interactive ad a couple of years ago that was culturally and seasonally relevant to their audience. Click this image below to check it out.

Interactive Rich Media Mobile Ad Example - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

4) In-App Ads:

Some experts would argue that it’s an overall better choice to advertise within an app than a mobile web browser regardless of the context of the situation. When you think about it, capturing consumers’ attention and encouraging them to view and interact with their ads is easier within an app.

5) Native Ads

Embedded in your social media feed or seemingly a part of the news article you’re reading on your phone, native ads can be deceiving, but it’s a large part of their success on mobile devices.

Native Ad Example - Chainlink Relationship Marketing

6) Pop-Up Ads

Be careful about pop-up ads, because as with any other pop-up advertising effort, you can be penalized if the ads interfere with user experience. Since mobile device screens are usually small, pop-ups can seem particularly intrusive if they’re not done the right way. However, don’t let these facts completely discourage you because pop-ups still prove to be effective in a variety of cases.

Remember: Only you know what type of ad will work best for your unique situation each time you choose to launch an ad campaign. The way to win at strategic mobile advertising (and waste the least amount of money possible) is to think ahead and test out your tactics before committing to an entire marketing program that could have major parts that are bound to fail.

Mobile Advertising to Grow Your M-Commerce Business

You know your customers best, and you have to use that knowledge to better advertise to them on their mobile devices. Mobile Marketer shared that a recent survey found only 13% of businesses said they weren’t currently using mobile advertising, but still intended to do so in 2019.

Mobile devices give marketers a unique advantage in reaching consumers. Consider the possibilities for using location-based data in creative ways to target consumers more effectively. You know your customers best, and you have to use what you know about them to better advertise to them on their mobile devices.

Some marketers might not think that an online business even requires an m-commerce strategy that is separate from its general ecommerce strategy. However, it’s worth specializing your marketing tactics for mobile devices to make the most of the unique and powerful data and technology (also, a lot of the actionable tips we mentioned are not that difficult and don’t take that much time).

Wrapping It All Up…

Effective marketing via mobile devices requires research, planning, writing/designing the right marketing assets, optimizing your marketing and sales funnels, and more.

Are you still skeptical about why you should focus on mobile marketing as its own dedicated effort? Rest assured that all the time you invest in working specifically on your mobile marketing strategy is worth it.

Chainlink Can Help

Trends continue to show how mobile traffic is outpacing desktop traffic. By staying on top of the latest mobile marketing strategy innovations, your company can begin to generate new leads, increase conversion rates, and help your business thrive.

Our team here at Chainlink has the skill set and experience to guide your steps as you move forward with mobile search engine marketing, paid social, advertising and more. Want to talk about how our services can help you achieve your goals? Please drop us a line! We can’t wait to chat.

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