Mobile marketing is coming into its own.
With the 2013 mobile e-commerce market valued at $43 billion and mobile traffic making up nearly 50% of site visits in the first quarter of 2014, the savviest retailers — e-commerce, brick-and-mortar and omni-channel alike — are investing in building out dedicated mobile marketing teams and capabilities.
These numbers come from the Custora E-Commerce Pulse Mobile Report, soon to be published by Custora (disclosure: my employer).
These metrics and others hint at the size of the opportunity for marketing teams that are able to harness the power of mobile marketing. Marketers are now evaluating the way they communicate with customers across multiple digital advertising channels on phone and tablet, in addition to desktop.
So what can the data on mobile behavior tell us about how to design a great mobile marketing strategy?
1. Email Optimization For Mobile Is A Must
- Stat: On mobile phones, email drove 26.7% of e-commerce sales in 2013, and tablet generated 23.1% — compared to only 20.9% on desktop.
- What It Means For Marketers: Despite the challenges of displaying email correctly on mobile devices and deep-linking into mobile apps, email has emerged has a dominant response channel within the mobile ecosystem. Investing in ways to make it even easier for users to read and engage with email content on mobile devices is likely to pay off.
2. Get Used To Being Direct
- Stat: Direct traffic (including app visits) is the most significant source of sales for mobile phone, with a third (32.9%) of sales coming from shoppers converting directly. In contrast, organic search drove 16% of phone sales compared to 23.5% of desktop sales.
- What It Means For Marketers: With many mobile users bypassing search and going straight to the source (especially on phones, where mobile apps are available), it’s crucial to ensure that all landing pages are optimized for mobile web — and that the checkout process is entirely frictionless across all device types.
3. Keep An Eye On SEM
- Stat: While SEM has taken the tablet world by storm, driving a whopping 24.8% of e-commerce conversions in 2013, the paid search channel is still largely under-penetrated on mobile phone — driving only 13.3% of conversions, compared to 18% for desktop.
- What It Means For Marketers: The relatively small share of sales coming from SEM on mobile phone reflects some of the inherent challenges of the device format — a smaller screen means a smaller number of ads displayed for any given search — which may in turn deter retailers from utilizing this ad channel on mobile phones. But if tablet is any indication, there’s plenty of growth opportunity left for mobile SEM. And with relatively low CPCs on mobile phone relative to desktop, forward-looking marketers will be exploring how they want to take advantage of this channel in the coming quarters.
4. Remember That Social Is Still A Small Piece Of The Order Pie
- Stat: While social on mobile phone accounts for a greater share of orders than on desktop or tablet, overall the share of sales for the social channel is still quite low across the board: 0.6% for mobile phone, compared to 0.3% for desktop and 0.2% for tablet.
- What It Means For Marketers: Despite the fact that most social activity takes place on mobile devices (according to recent stats published in The Wall Street Journal, 68% of Facebook time and 86% of Twitter time is spent on mobile), social media — earned, owned and paid alike — still accounts for a small share of mobile orders. Mobile marketers looking to get the most out of their social budgets should keep in mind that the channel still functions largely as an upper-funnel touchpoint generating awareness and engagement rather than as a direct response vehicle — and choose the metrics to track and optimize against accordingly.
With the mobile e-commerce market poised to hit $50 billion in sales in 2014, it’s more important than ever for retailers to continue to invest in building out mobile marketing capabilities. By leveraging insights about user behavior — and taking advantage of technological advances in mobile devices and ad formats — mobile marketers can help ensure a single, seamless brand experience across platforms.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.