How to Make Sense of Mobile

Smartphones seem to be everywhere. And on almost every smartphone, you’ll find games, virtual gadgets, and useful tools — all a finger swipe away. Some mobile apps have taken on near-cult status — popular mobile game Angry Birds sports a plush toy collection and a rumored TV/movie deal. Smartphone numbers are expected to jump from 500 million to 2 billion by 2015, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). To put that in perspective, in just three years, almost 1 out of every three people on earth will be carrying a smartphone. Heck, you might even be browsing this post using your snappy mobile device, because as part of our recent re-design of the website, we optimized this content for popular mobile browsers.

Here are three big questions we typically ask our clients on mobile:

1. How are your current web visitors using smartphones today to access your site?
To drill down deeper on this, you should ask: What content are your mobile visitors viewing? What specific mobile devices are they using? How have these trends grown or changed over time on your website? Forget global trends for a moment – you can see exactly how your real visitors are using mobile devices to learn about you today, and you can use that data to help you determine your best strategy.

2. What unique content can you offer mobile users?
The answer to this question varies based on your audience and their needs, as well as your owngoals and objectives.  Quick rule of thumb: always know why you’re making content available to mobile users. More is not always better. In fact, jamming all of your content onto a 3.5-inch diagonal screen is probably not a good idea. Take advantage of the opportunity to package and promote a limited selection of specific content – like case studies, promotions or calls-to-action. Respect the fact that mobile visitors are looking at your content on a small screen.

3. How will you measure success?
Having a mobile web presence is nifty, but how will you know if it’s helping you achieve your goals? What will you measure? Conversions? Increased lead generation? Increase in overall sessions from mobile users? There are a number of possibilities for measuring success, including the creation of unique “calls to action” that are specific to your mobile audience. The most important thing is that you define success upfront so that you can know what it looks like when you start to achieve it.

While not comprehensive, these questions are a good guide to help  assess opportunities and challenges for your initial mobile web presence, and I hope you found them useful.

Our Work: 40 Days of Water Mobile Drink Tracker

You may also be interested in reading a recent case study that highlights CiV Digital’s work on the 40 Days of Water Challenge for our friends at Blood:Water Mission.  For the campaign, we developed a mobile site for live posting and tracking of drinks for 40 Days of Water participants.

This project had a heavy mobile component, as it was important to make the Drink Tracker accessible by iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry devices without requiring specific mobile apps for each device. You can read about how we did that here.

Read Case Study: 40 Days of Water Challenge »

D.J. Smith is CEO of CiV Digital. He has been building and designing web products for over 15 years.

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  • Will Marlow

    DJ – On the same topic as point #2, I think it was you who pointed out that bandwidth is another important consideration. Smartphones are great, but even the best phones will get less bandwidth than people may be used to getting on their laptop or office computer, so this means if you want visitors to have a *fast* and *responsive* experience when navigating your site from a smartphone, you don’t want to just dump all your website content onto their phone’s browser. Optimize for the small screen and less bandwidth…Enjoyed the post!

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