Mobile Marketing Trends For Small Businesses In 2018
Mobile is a must-address area of inbound marketing, no matter how big or small your company is, for 2018. The mobile impact is evident, especially when you consider how much consumers are using their mobile devices today. More than ever are they researching, shopping, ingesting social media feeds and performing other daily activities on mobile devices. They spend, on average, five hours a day using their devices.
That statistic alone is enough to demonstrate mobile marketing’s incredible importance. That’s five hours a day that you could be targeting, engaging and interacting with customers, whether they are first-time shoppers or loyal visitors.
These mobile marketing trends will help your small business conquer the ever-changing and increasingly mobile-centric marketing battlefield for 2018!
If you needed any further proof as to the power and importance of mobile in 2018, then consider that Google is making a significant shift in how it indexes web pages to begin treating mobile pages as the primary version of a website. That means if you’ve been neglecting your mobile-friendly website, you better start paying attention to it now because soon it is going to be looked at as your primary site. You should consider taking a mobile-first approach in all of your marketing efforts.
Google announced this shift back in 2016, but the full rollout of their mobile-first indexing process is expected to finish by the end of 2018. The reasoning behind this is simple: people are using mobile devices to search more than desktop. Thus, in the interest of providing the best search experience to users, it makes a lot of sense for Google to begin indexing mobile sites as the primary version.
You can find a lot more information on mobile-first indexing here.
Faster Mobile Page Loads
As Google rolls out its mobile-first indexing, your mobile pages are going to get a lot more traffic. This may seem like sunshine and happy days, but if your mobile site speeds start to lag with this new influx of traffic, you could end up turning users away, rather than pulling them in. If a mobile page doesn’t load within the first five seconds, most users (approximately 90%) will abandon their efforts entirely. How fast your mobile pages load will even help your pages rank higher in Google results pages.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to prepare your mobile pages for the mobile-first future. And, the more effort you put into your mobile site now, before Google makes the change, the better prepared you’ll be. Some quick ways to enhance your page and improve the user experience are:
- Switch to a responsive design for your website; this will help ensure all of the elements carry over into your mobile web pages
- Simplify your mobile page layouts whenever possible by including navigation elements that make it easy to move from page to page
- Collapse long blocks of text or lists when possible to make scrolling easier
If you’re still worried about the speed of your mobile pages, Google has a free PageSpeed Insights tool that will help you get under that five-second mark!
Progressive Web Apps
The “app experience” as we’ve come to know it is changing. Progressive web apps (PWAs) are starting to emerge as a new type of app that marries that app experience with the convenience and ease of browsing the web. Rather than downloading an app, as mobile users have done in the past, PWAs are accessed through a simple URL link, just like a website. This makes it much easier for not-so-app-savvy users to enjoy a brand’s app experience.
PWAs also have some other key advantages that make them a great addition to the mobile marketing world. For example, they require less storage, use less data and power to run, and can even be cheaper and faster to develop, which could open the door for app-deprived companies to enter the world of mobile development finally.
Progressive web apps are another mobile-centric innovation that Google has had its eye on for a while now.
Live Video Content
It’s no secret why video content is so highly sought after by marketers and small businesses looking to gain an edge. Blogs, surveys, photos and other types of content are all essential and necessary strategies, but none of them have the same level of valuable engagement as videos. In fact, videos shared on social media platforms generate 1200% more shares than text-based and image content combined. And, thanks to mobile devices, you can create quality video content right from your phone. Video content and mobile just pair together perfectly.
Social media platforms and apps have taken videos a step further with the ability to live stream directly from a mobile device. Live streamed video content is watched even longer than static, fully produced videos because there’s that sense of urgency that the event is taking place at that precise moment and the content may not be there later.
Live videos are powerful motivators and can be used for a number of purposes, whether you’re looking to inform users, make a direct/indirect sell or just give audiences some fun, light content. They’re getting easier to produce and anyone can learn how to make a video like a professional with inexpensive equipment.
Sophisticated AI And Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) has always had one foot in science fiction and the other in reality. The past few years have created some innovated machine learning devices that have to nudge AI a little closer to the realm of reality. In terms of mobile marketing, AI has the potential to be a hugely transformative force that will change how brands learn about their customers and interact with them.
AI systems can learn consumer behaviors to the point that they can predict when, how and where a future brand-customer interaction or purchases will take place. It might sound a tad creepy or invasive, but the goal isn’t to learn anyone’s deepest secrets, but instead, provide each unique customer with an experience that is personalized. This level of personalization is at the heart of excellent customer experience, and AI may be the tool that makes it possible.
AI technology is also popping up in the form of virtual personal assistants like Siri, Cortana, and others. These are affecting the way that consumers search, which may push some digital marketers to rethink their SEO keywords to include more extended form questions.
Aside from searching and consuming content on digital devices, consumers are also using these gadgets to pay for goods in physical stores. Apps like Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and others are making it possible for shoppers to pay in person, without ever opening their wallet or swiping a card. Wallet apps have gotten much more secure recently, which has helped them gain popularity. Plus, they are much more convenient for the customer because it promises a fast and effortless checkout experience.
If your current point-of-sale system doesn’t allow for the NFC (near field communication) technology necessary to accept mobile payments, you may want to invest in a more digital-friendly machine. This will be even more important as time goes on because the ability to pay with a mobile device is going to become more expected by consumers. Failure to deliver on this expectation could harm your business!
Augmented reality (AR) technology has been simmering on the stovetop of mobile marketing for a couple of years now. Now, this could be the year where it finally boils over into a full-fledged, bonafide strategy that every company will be looking at implementing. The timing of this trend’s impending skyrocket is based on two factors: AR technology is becoming easier to develop, and consumers have more exposure to AR and even VR experiences, which helps them understand the technology (and helps drive the need for more AR/VR experiences).
AR saw massive success with the mega-popular Pokemon Go game, and now that same developer is looking to create an encore success with a Harry Potter AR game. These games and social AR apps will help users become familiar with the technology and what it is capable of. Then, it will be in the hands of mobile marketers to find creative ways to use augmented reality apps for small businesses.
The most laborious task of looking at mobile marketing trends for 2018 as a small business is knowing which tactics are worth investing in the most. As a small business, you have to be a lot more frugal and strategic with how you approach new trends. It’s imperative that you always create the necessary groundwork for tracking your mobile marketing efforts and their ROI. This isn’t always easy as not every mobile marketing tactic is directly related to dollars and cents. So, keep a keen eye to what your data is telling you, so you can better ensure that all of your new 2018 mobile marketing strategies are paying off by contributing to your overall goals (whether they are financial or otherwise).
As always, keep your eyes towards the future, even beyond 2018, to see what’s coming for these trends and others!