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We’re All Mobile Marketers Now

  |  March 4, 2014   |  Comments

Time spent on mobile has eclipsed desktop/laptop use for people in the U.S. and parts of Europe. So if you're running digital marketing programs or posting to Facebook, you're a mobile marketer now.

Time spent on mobile, specifically on smartphones, will eclipse has eclipsed desktop/laptop use for people in the U.S. and parts of Europe. eMarketer is showing that ad spend is shifting as well and mobile will overcome desktop by 2017. They estimate that in 2014, desktop ad spend will grow .41 percent while mobile will grow 56 percent to about $15 billion.

And search and social have quickly become the best ways to reach mobile consumers at scale. Google still takes the lion's share of mobile ad spend, but Facebook's remarkable growth in 2013 has made them a clear leader as well. This becomes abundantly clear as 73 percent of daily Facebook users in Q4 2013 were on mobile.

If you're running digital marketing programs or posting to Facebook, you're a mobile marketer.

As a parent of girls ranging in age from 8 to 13, I'm lucky to see the next generation of digital natives grow up. Here's my theory: Everyone - starting with toddlers playing with iPhones in the stroller while their parents eat lunch, to the wisest of elders - will be mobile-first. This means mobile will be the primary and most-used digital device we own. Wearables and smart devices like watches, glasses, and tennis rackets for example, will join the fun but our phones will be the hub of our digital existence.

How has marketing changed in a world where everyone is a smartphone super user?

Well, let's start by taking a bird's-eye view of the current mobile ecosystem through the lens of digital marketing.


As we see in the diagram above, there are many ways to reach mobile consumers today, but, there are only two places to drive them - to the mobile Web or in to apps. As we dive deeper, we see that with a few exceptions, most "delivery" options enable linking directly into an app or on to the mobile Web. Granted, there are nuances. For example, every social app contains a mobile Web browser, so we drive from app to mobile Web within an app - ugh. And is adding a pass from an email into Passbook an app delivery to app destination tactic or just cool functionality?

Additionally, our delivery options will expand - TV is just beginning to drive to mobile with hashtags and soon the link will be direct - but I don't see destination options changing very much, for now.

Amid this chaos one thing becomes clear: mobile Web marketing is very different from mobile app marketing.

The Mysterious Mobile Web

For digital marketers who have been around for a while, we've lived in the desktop Web world where we used display, search, and email to drive to existing websites or microsites. We spent a lot of time optimizing our websites for conversion and our microsites for engagement. We also tuned our landing experiences for the channel - search traffic is different from display and email traffic and so are the native ad formats driving the traffic.

Luckily, we can treat mobile Web marketing similarly to traditional desktop. We can reach target audiences in a variety of mobile channels (social and search to start) and drive to mobile Web landing pages. We can then tune those pages for audience segments and ad creative and optimize the entire cycle for key actions and conversions. The broad reach-engage-convert model works well here.

Sadly, either ignoring mobile consumers or making our existing landing experiences work in mobile just isn't enough. I love both of these brands and I'm so sorry for picking on them, but I easily found these two examples by scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed.


This is a great sponsored post with a big image and compelling offer but when I tap I'm dropped on a desktop landing page. Thinking through the mobile experience for considering a trip to Disneyland and easily enabling me to claim the offer would be far more compelling and effective.



Marko Muellner

Marko Z Muellner has been a digital marketer for more than 18 years with deep experience in cross-channel, integrated, and multi-touch marketing and communications strategy, creative development, and account management. He has spent his time learning how digital and social media marketing is applied in nonprofits, international digital and PR agencies, start-ups, global sportswear and beer brands, and at a leading Web analytics and optimization company. This experience has brought him to the stage as a featured speaker and to the pages of top-tier publications as a columnist. His social media and digital marketing expertise have been featured in ClickZ, Luxury Daily, the SmartBlog on Social Media, Mobile Marketer, Social Fresh, and InsideFacebook to name a few. He is currently the digital vice president and group director at Edelman in the Portland, Oregon, office and he can be reached on Twitter at @markozm.

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