Following Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ announcement earlier this year, creating a customer-friendly mobile experience has been at the forefront of many marketers’ minds. 

It was one of several key issues discussed at Digital Cream 2015, an exclusive invitation-only roundtable event where senior client-side marketers can learn from each other about the latest best practice, what’s working and what’s not.

Below are some of the key insights that came from this roundtable and are featured in our Mobile Experience Trends Briefing, sponsored by Adobe.

Mobile is increasingly the ‘default gateway’ for consumers

Many marketers at the event agreed that the mobile space is more competitive than ever, with consumers having very little tolerance for poor, or even average, experiences.  

The general feeling, however, was that many organisations are still struggling to make sense of the channel, with investment in mobile strategy being largely driven by knee-jerk reactions from senior management to Google’s algorithm updates

In order to remain competitive, marketers need to have a complete view of the customer and understand where mobile fits in that journey.

Delivering personalised, relevant customer interactions requires significant investment, however, so those responsible for mobile development must gain buy-in from senior management to get the funding they need. 

In addition to achieving buy-in and investment, it is equally important to involve all areas of the business to ensure the strategy reflects the needs of the customer and not just the desires of senior management.

Optimising for mobile: responsive vs. adaptive vs. apps

Many delegates had either recently launched or were in the process of launching a mobile site. Design was therefore a hot discussion point, particularly around the differences between responsive and adaptive

Of the two, responsive was generally considered more cost-effective and “easier to analyse” because you only need to create one site (whereas adaptive requires the creation of multiple sites for different screen sizes). The majority had taken the responsive route. 

Adaptive design was, however, considered to give greater control of layout and presentation of content, and participants felt “all mobile websites look the same” thanks to the prevalence of responsive.

In an ideal world where time and money were no object, the delegates would happily consider adaptive design.

There was a mixed attitude towards apps. Some delegates felt there was no need for them now thanks to the quality of responsive and adaptive websites. Others argued that a well-designed app could create a compelling, differentiated brand experience. 

The impact of wearables

Although the Apple Watch was by no means the first product of its kind, its arrival has reignited the debate around wearables.

Apple is expected to revolutionise this category as it did with smartphones in 2007, encouraging greater market competition from rival Android models that will push down prices.

There was a lot of talk around the potential for future wearable apps. The Apple Watch, for example, has a greater number of sensors than its rivals (such as a heart rate monitor), and as these sensors improve with future models there is potential for delivering more personalised experiences. 

Participants commented that while there may be some benefits to waiting and seeing how other brands perform in the wearables field, you’re more likely to connect with consumers if you’re first to market. They referred to brands that were successful early movers on social media as a comparison. 

Some delegates were particularly interested in how wearables could be applied to the Internet of Things to deliver more relevant services to customers. Google’s NEST thermostat app, which enables users to create personalised schedules for their homes, was mentioned as an example. 

For the full report please download the Mobile Experience Trends Briefing, which is FREE to download for all registered Econsultancy users.