It’s apparent to everyone in digital marketing that all businesses need a mobile strategy, yet a number of brands are still dragging their feet.

In a talk at Econsultancy’s Future of Digital Marketing event, addictive founder Simon Andrews looked at where brands should be focusing their mobile efforts this year.

Noting that 80% of brands still don’t have a mobile optimised site, Andrews said that the opportunity was now too big to ignore. “You are losing money by not doing it properly now – if you’re not doing it then someone else is”.

He said that on average 18% of the population in a given market uses 3G, and predicted that within the next eight years nearly all consumer behaviour would be driven by mobile.

The key areas that need to be mobile optimised are:

Website

As mentioned, only 20% of brands have a mobile site, which means they are likely to see huge bounces rates, diminished time on page and are unlikely to sell anything via mobile.

It’s a no-brainer, your site has to work on mobile devices or your business will suffer.

Andrews said that even among those with mobile sites, often they have poor content or are difficult to use.

He gave the example of NetDoctor which, after realising that more than half of its mobile traffic came from Google, made sure its mobile site had exactly the same content as the desktop site.

Users expect to see all the same ailments as they would on desktop, so we built it using the same backend.

While NetDoctor assumed conversions would be low on smartphones, it saw the value of mobile as a customer acquisition tool and instead revamped its call centre so mobile customers could still make a purchase.

Andrews said that a mobile optimsied site may also impact search rankings.

Google says mobile sites will perform better in AdWords and rankings. So eventually you may drop down the search rankings if your site isn’t optimised.

Search

Andrews said that the three most valuable keywords in mobile search, as on desktop, are mortgages, insurance and loans.

We searched for these on mobile and found that people are paying top dollar for these keywords then sending people to a site that didn’t work on mobile.

This is clearly a missed opportunity. Similarly, there is a lot of innovation going on with mobile search – such as showing stock levels for nearby stores in the SERPS – which brands need to be aware of to offer a better user experience. 

As inventory is typically cheaper on mobile than on desktop, there is room for brands to trial new campaigns for lower cost.

Email

Mobile allows consumers to check their email constantly, yet a lot of email marketing isn’t optimised for smartphones.

Research from digital agency Steel found that 36% of consumers read email on mobileFurthermore, data included in an infographic from Return Path shows that 41% of Europeans would either close or delete an email not optimised for mobile.

However, stats from our Email Marketing Census 2012 found that with 39% of companies said their mobile email strategy was “non-existent”, and 37% said their strategy was “basic”.

A huge number of brands are wasting a lot of effort and missing out on conversions simply because they haven’t optimised their emails for mobile.

Social

Social media is one of the primary functions of smartphones, with more than half of Facebook and Twitter users logging on through mobile. Facebook was even forced to issue a profit warning after admitting it had failed to come up with a successful mobile ad strategy.

Therefore, brands need to make sure they factor mobile into their social strategy.

If you’re putting links on Twitter that don’t work on mobile, then you’re losing traffic.

Similarly, many Facebook apps are built in Flash, which obviously won’t work on iPhone. Andrews said brands need to think about what they need to do to get their social experience to work on mobile.

Display

Display advertising on mobile is still relatively new, but Andrews suggested that all companies that are buying display on desktop should be doing the same on mobile. There is a great deal of inventory but low demand so costs tend to be lower.

The average cost for mobile is around 70cents, whereas desktop will cost more than $3. You should be trialling campaigns and learning from it, as if you’re not then someone else is.

Ad strategy

With the increasing use of apps like Blippar and Zeebox that connect TV and print to mobile, Andrews predicted that in future most traditional ad formats would become a digital experience.

Zeebox was downloaded 22,000 times during a single episode of Dancing On Ice, and was worth £15m to Sky as they can now sell ads through it to connect traditional and digital marketing.

AR and connected TV apps are becomingly increasingly popular and brands need to be aware of the opportunities.

HTML5

Andrews said HTML5 will become ever more vital as it changes the way businesses can build their websites. Brands also need to be looking at how they build their mobile and Facebook apps as HTML5 can save costs by using the same code across each device.

You can build responsive, flexible websites, and make the same site work on any device as it renders differently depending on whether the user has a desktop, tablet or smartphone.