How the Rise of Mobile Affects Your Marketing Budget

Phil Garbrecht

Mobile technology has grown significantly over the last decade. There’s been a long-running joke that the average cell phone packs more processing power than the first rocket to land on the moon. The growing capabilities and accessibility of smartphones have led many consumers to ditch their desktops in favor of comparable devices that can fit in their pockets.

Your business must adapt its mobile marketing strategy and budget to keep up with the increasing number of mobile-only consumers. In this post, we dig into what’s causing the mobile-only trend and how you can engage with your audience in the post-PC era.

Why are people going mobile-only?

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans who own a smartphone grew from 35% in 2011 to 81% in 2019. Meanwhile, computer ownership has hovered around the ~70% range over the same period, Statista reports. The Pew Research Center also found that roughly one in five Americans have now transitioned to mobile-only and the number of mobile-only Americans has generally increased year-over-year since 2013.

Two key reasons for the rise of mobile-only users:

1. Google’s mobile-first shift

In 2010, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt predicted the world would soon become mobile-first as sales for smartphones nearly surpassed those for PCs. Schmidt wasn’t far off. Mashable reports that smartphones outsold PCs for the first time in 2011, and tablets achieved the same feat in 2015.

To coincide with the growing market share of mobile devices, Google released an algorithm update in 2015 that prioritized the mobile landing page experience in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Businesses had to transition from being mobile-friendly to mobile-first in order to stay competitive.

2. Usage

Following the mobile-first shift from Google, mobile usage increased significantly while people spent less time on desktops. A Global Web Index report found that consumers are increasingly relying on their smartphones to access the web, which has led to dwindling importance for computers.

Via Global Web Index

With greater accessibility and better user experiences, consumers began spending larger amounts of time on smaller screens. According to PC Mag, the average daily time spent on computers (now 2.1 hours) has decreased each year since 2011, while the average daily time spent on mobile (now 3.3 hours) has increased since 2008.

How much of my overall marketing budget should be spent on mobile?

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau's annual revenue report, U.S. digital ad spend reached $107.5 billion in 2018, with mobile accounting for $69.9 billion of the record-setting figure. This marks a 40% year-over-year increase for mobile ad spend and there are no signs of it slowing down. In fact, eMarketer predicts that mobile ad spend will reach $113 billion in 2020 and surpass all traditional media combined.

Total marketing budgets will vary by organization and industry, but the amount you spend on mobile should increase year-over-year for the foreseeable future while your desktop spend continues to decline. The aforementioned IAB report showcases the inverse relationship between mobile and desktop ad spend in the chart below.

Via Interactive Advertising Bureau

Determine how much you should spend on mobile by using Google Analytics to see what devices your audience uses the most. Click on the "Mobile Overview" within the "Audience" section. This will reveal how many users are visiting your site through desktop, mobile, and tablet.

Compare your current user device statistics with data from the previous year to determine how quickly your audience is moving to mobile and use the percent change to adjust your marketing budget for the upcoming year.

How should marketers allocate their budgets within mobile marketing?

How you decide to allocate marketing funds will depend on the unique characteristics of your industry and audience, but a mobile-focused strategy should include the following three areas:

1. Social media

Social media should be the cornerstone of your mobile marketing strategy, as BroadbandSearch found the average time spent on social networking sites has increased by 62.5% since 2012 with mobile accounting for 79% of overall usage.

Via BroadbandSearch

Start building your social media strategy by finding the platforms your audience uses most and examining how they interact with your business. Khoros Intelligence can help you dive into this data by delivering key insights through our easy-to-use platform.

Once you know which platforms to focus on, use the data you find to create content that appeals to your audience and adjust your response process to increase customer satisfaction.

2. Paid search & search engine optimization (SEO)

Paid search and SEO are essential for any marketing strategy because they allow you to show customers exactly what they’re looking for right when they need it, but these areas are even more important for mobile because the sales funnel is typically much shorter.

According to Mobify, consumers on mobile are more likely to skip stages and enter mid-funnel. People often turn to mobile because they have an immediate need, whereas desktop use is better suited for conducting research over a long time period. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile and determine how much to allocate for paid search and SEO by looking at the competitive landscape.

Check bid prices for keywords your audience is searching for, and audit your competition to see how difficult it would be to outrank them organically through SEO. Understand that paid search will offer immediate results, whereas SEO is more of a long-term strategy.

3. SMS

Contrary to popular opinion, a study by Digital Marketing Magazine found that 75% of consumers want to receive promotional content through text messages. Additionally, SMS has a whopping 98% open rate, which towers above the 20% rate for email.

Before starting, make sure to have consumers opt-in to receive messages and give them a clear way to opt out, as CAN-SPAM laws require these practices for all businesses.

The key to SMS marketing is knowing how often to send messages without annoying customers. The study above found 83% of people want to receive a maximum of two messages per month while fewer than two percent want to receive more than five.

Space your offers out to highlight upcoming offers and sales correlated with holidays. Keep messages under 160 characters, including the opt-out instructions, as anything more will be sent as a separate chunk.

Make your marketing strategy mobile-first

Khoros can help you transform your marketing strategy to reflect the mobile shift. Engage with audiences across their favorite social media platforms through carefully curated content designed to nourish customer relationships.

Get a demo of Khoros’ best-in-class customer engagement software and let us help you find the right solution for your unique business needs.

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