Facebook recently announced that it is sending more traffic to mobile apps than ever before. On its developer blog
, the social media giant outlined the following:
Facebook sent more than 160 million visitors in April to mobile apps (up from 60 million in late February).
- These mobile visitors were responsible for more than 1.1 billion visits to mobile apps in the same time frame (up from 320 million in late February).
- Seven of the top 10 grossing iPhone apps and six of the top 10 grossing Android apps are integrated with Facebook.
Meanwhile, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index
predicts that global traffic on mobile devices will increase 18-fold by 2016, while connection speeds will increase nine-fold in that time. Smartphone use tripled in 2011, and the average smartphone in 2016 is expected to generate 2.6GB of data per month.
All this points to one simple fact for marketing copywriters: Knowing how to write for mobile could keep you gainfully employed in coming years.
The differences, while often subtle, are important to understand for those who write marketing copy.
Write with a sense of immediacy
Think about the experience of using a mobile device. Typically, you’re killing time. Maybe you’re waiting for your name to be called at the doctor’s office or packed into a train for your daily commute. On top of that, whatever you’re looking at competes with email and text messages, as Words With Friends or Draw Something requests constantly pop up.
More than ever, you have to write with the understanding that you have competition. This means you’ll need to be more clever, wittier, and relevant while keeping it concise. Forget paragraphs. This goes for your Facebook posts as well.
Don’t bury the lead
Because you have such little time to capture a mobile user’s attention, your most important information should come first. If you bury the crux of your marketing message in the third sentence, forget about sparking any action from the mobile space. Front load any messaging with exactly what it is you want to say or the action you want people to take. Save the secondary information for your other mediums.
Master Twitter marketing
If you understand the writing formula that makes a tweet successful, you have a jump on writing for mobile. Twitter has trained writers to think in terms of characters—and that’s a good thing. For mobile, you may not get 140 characters to snare someone. Think more in terms of 80 to 100 characters (also ideal for Facebook posts).
There’s also been a great deal of discussion recently about staying positive
in the social space with your copy—especially on Twitter. The same applies to mobile. Positivity is more effective than negativity. Unless it’s part of your brand strategy, ditch the snark. You can be clever and witty without being a jerk.
Understand that small screen = lost copy
It sounds obvious, but make sure your copy is readable. Of course, this has more to do with design than with what you actually say. But also consider that mobile content is more difficult to comprehend than desktop content, according to research at the University of Alberta
. It’s necessary to get the font size right so it’s actually readable. Stick to mobile-safe fonts and sizes. A list of them can be found here
Also—and as a former journalist I hate to even type these words—dumb it down. Don’t communicate below your audience, but at the same time you don’t want to make them work for it.
In a word (three, actually): simplify, simplify, simplify.