This is the fourth article in a 10-part content series on Unified Marketing, which will bring to light collaborative marketing principles and successful strategies in areas including marketing, branding, PR, social media, mobile and other digital practices.
Emerging media is, by its very nature, the domain of evangelicals. That’s the kind of personality it takes to move something from the lonely, jagged fringe of the digital edge to the hearts and minds (and budgets) of marketers.
The problem is that there are all kinds of evangelicals. The curious nerds who don’t care about business models or return on investment. The visionaries who recognize trends where others see mayhem and chaff. The charismatic pundits who distill the complexities of new technologies into stuff that regular people get. And the charlatans who use tricks, sleight of hand, and twisted truths to sell you digital snake oil.
The mobile marketing noob is destined to run into all of them at some point and to be confronted with several falsehoods masquerading as undeniable truths in a space that has none. Here are a few of my favorite myths exposed:
1. “The mobile Web is the same, except smaller.”
Most CMS platforms are easily extensible to mobile; the devices feature rich browsers and fast processors, and they run on high-speed data networks.
This myth is espoused by almost everyone in the mobile space, including, ironically enough, Apple—the manufacturer of the most transformative mobile device in history.
Here is Apple’s website on an iPhone (a simulator, to be exact). Notice the clear navigation, enticing call to enter the site, and effective use of limited real estate.
What’s that? You noticed none of them? Neither did I.
Either Apple is trying to promote the pinch-and-zoom features of iOS, or it’s beholden to the idea that just because your existing site probably does
work on a mobile device, your work is done. It isn’t. Not even close.
About 1.5 people read The New York Times
daily. If they do so on a mobile device, this is what they see.
It’s almost illegible, has way too many links, features an oversized, mobile-unfriendly advertisement (clicking through the Cartier ad resulted in an error message—the video would not play in portrait mode), and is generally a bit of an eyesore.
Ikea’s mobile website is another prime example of why this concept of “it’s the same, but smaller” is patently false.
How much brand equity—not to mention lost revenue—does Ikea suffer when mobile users can’t find what they want easily, have to click past things that don’t work on mobile devices (Flash), and have to pinch and zoom just to read text?
2. “Your mobile audience is distracted.”
This one is hilarious. Here are some statistics on what people do while watching TV:
Here are some statistics on what people do when they are supposed to be driving:
• 39.13 percent of people on the road are eating;
• Another 30.1 percent are talking;
• 8.1 percent of people are texting;
• 2.95 percent are either applying makeup, or shaving;
• 2.33 percent are reading a book;
• 2.09 percent are engaged in an activity they’d rather not tell researchers.
Life doesn’t distract us from our phones; our phones distract us from life.
3. “Data networks are slow and unreliable, so I can afford to blame my crappy, underfunded mobile design on carriers.”
This one is easy. On average, mobile users are three seconds more patient than desktop users. That’s the amount of time they will give your website before they bail. This harsh truth has enabled organizations to feel justified releasing mobile websites that look like this:
Another reality trumps it: Among the top four carriers in the United States (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile), the average mobile subscriber uses Wifi for around 60 percent of data consumption.
The icing on this slice of pie is that mobile processors are getting faster, too, which means that fast devices on fast networks are accessing content that was built for slow devices on slow networks.
Don’t let this happen to you.
4. “Mobile apps are much more powerful than mobile websites.”
Historically, this has been true: Bad code hurts mobile websites more than mobile apps, only native development allowed for access to essential hardware features, networks were
slow and unreliable, and a lack of mobile Web standards led to chaos.
For companies such as Slate and ABC, that still is
true. They don’t even want you to attempt to access their mobile site.
Too many companies don’t even try on the mobile Web, because they assume you can only do the cool stuff through mobile applications. This isn’t the case anymore.
Though it’s true there are a couple of differences (access to the camera, and the degree to which you can access a smartphone’s accelerometer and gyroscope), the reality is that the advent of HTML5 and the ubiquity of fast mobile processors and fast networks means that the biggest difference between apps and mobile sites—speed—has become a non-issue.
Bottom line: If your mobile app is far superior to your mobile website, fire whoever does your mobile website.
5. “If I optimize for iPhone, I’m good everywhere else.”
I hear this one all the time. The reason is that when most companies look at their mobile access logs, this is what they see:
In case you can’t make that out, the iPad and iPhone are Nos. 1 and 2. I bet it’s pretty close for your company, too. But scratch a bit deeper and you’ll realize that the other smartphone operating systems combine for the other 50 to 60 percent of mobile traffic.
The iPhone is the No. 1 smartphone. But there are more Android phones out there, and iOS’s global market share is roughly half of Android’s. Half
There are more half-truths and dubious “facts” in the mobile world, but these are some of the most egregious. To read about a marketer who is getting it right, download this case study on La Quinta Inns & Suites
to see how they have embraced mobile from the ground up, and to look at their patent-pending revolution on mobile booking.
Definition 6 is a Unified Marketing Agency that creates brand experiences that unite brands and people in motion. Through imagination, innovation and insight, we execute ideas that deliver continued value across all brand interactions. For more information, please visit http://www.definition6.com.