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Why are marketers forgetting to optimize their mobile campaigns?

PF Changs

Too many marketers are hopping on the mobile bandwagon without fully considering the consumer experience they are delivering after the call to action.

Currently, many brands and marketers are running mobile campaigns that lead consumers to unoptimized landing pages, making them pinch-and-zoom to view the content. This shows that companies are clearly not testing their initiatives and simply just putting them out there.

“They are trying to fill the gap between mobile use – 23 percent daily – and marketing spend – 1 percent – without adopting a mobile-first strategy,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston. 

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“Putting a QR code on a print ad is easy, for example, but the results are usually disastrous if the consumer experience is not tailored to the device being used to access the message,” he said.

“For one thing, the press loves pointing out such blunders and, with social media allowing instant, linked feedback to occur, consumers react negatively to these dead end mobile attempts and the word spreads fast.”

Trials and errors
Although the majority of marketers have it right with mobile, a small percentage still do not.

Many simply just roll out a mobile campaign in hopes of getting a good ROI. However, if the finished product is not optimized for mobile devices, then they have clearly missed the mark.

Earlier this month, P.F. Chang’s ran a mobile ad campaign within Pandora. Although the company had great intentions with the initiative, it fell short in many ways.

For one, the mobile banner ad led consumers to a non-optimized page. Have marketers not learned that mobile content has to be optimized for handsets?

The mobile ad enticed consumers to find the nearest P.F. Chang’s locations, however that option could not be seen in the non-optimized landing page.

P.F. Chang’s should have created a mobile landing page that used the consumer’s device and its GPS technology to help them find the nearest location.

Additionally, White Castle recently ran a mobile advertising campaign that offered consumers the ability to order food via their mobile device.

The campaign would have been successful had the landing page not taken users to the company’s regular Web site.

“While it is still possible to convert a sale or capture an opt-in on a standard site, it makes little sense to subject a consumer to pinch-and-zoom fatigue and hope they will suffer through to the end of a conversion funnel designed for a PC,” Mr. Kerr said.

“According to Google 57 percent of consumers won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site and 40 percent have turned to a direct competitor after a bad mobile experience,” he said.

“At the very least, marketers should build a mobile-optimized landing page and focus on delivering the campaign using mobile-specific benefits like location proximity.

“A better bet is to build a mobile commerce enabled site, specifically for mobile users.”

Mr. Kerr suggests that marketers build a mobile campaign around experiences and real world product interactions, ensure the site they land on mobile-optimized and connect it to a mobile commerce transaction whenever possible.

To optimize or not to optimize
According to Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism, it is nice, but not necessary for a marketer's mobile ad campaign to be fully-optimized.

“Obviously this improves the user engagement and conversion, but the costs of optimization need to be weighed against the size and objectives of the campaign to see whether optimization makes economic as well as just aesthetic sense,” Mr. Buckingham said.

“Non-optimized sites doesn't necessary means non-converting consumers,” he said. “Some consumers may actually engage more with a non-optimized site as it forces them to scroll around the campaign to get the message,” he said. “This effort may lead to greater campaign message retention.”

Marketers should design the campaign around the target consumer.

Making sure that the user experience is seamless is critical for a mobile campaign’s success.

“If consumers are primarily on Apple devices, optimization may not be necessary as scrolling and page load speed is relatively quick and smooth,” Mr. Buckingham said.

“If your consumers are primarily not on Apple devices, more optimization may be needed as the devices tend to be more diverse and may not have the greatest speed or capabilities,” he said. “Test everything, and compare the results.

“Ensure designers are building the campaigns with mobile in mind, for example, not using Flash based videos in the campaigns and keeping the right balance between multimedia and messaging since rich media campaigns may be slow to load over mobile connections.”

According to Tom Limongello, vice president of product marketing at Crisp Media, New York, it is very important for marketers to optimize their goals. 

"It's not important to have an exhaustive product list on mobile, it's more important to feature the product that's most likely of interest on that day and at that time," Mr. Limongello said. 

"If you are a QSR or CPG make sure you are featuring at least one product and wrapping it in interactive features," he said. "You can skimp out on full menus, pictures of your landscaping or how great of a corporate citizen you've been.

"Landing pages are important for evergreen CRM, but there's no reason that an advertiser couldn't just leverage the capabilities of a rich media ad unit to handle all of the goals of the campaign. Generally rich media panels are more effective than larger microsites at rendering fast on mobile connections and simplifying the user experience for conversion."

The executive also said that marketers should focus on using rich features such as animations, transitions, navigation and video for only making one interaction really pleasing. 

"Doing too much on mobile is a recipe for missing your campaign goals," Mr. Limongello said. 

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

Associate Editor Rimma Kats covers media, television, research and social networks. Reach her at rimma@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Advertising, PF Changs, White Castle, Simon Buckingham, Wilson Kerr, mobile site, mobile campaigns, mobile marketing, mobile

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Comments on "Why are marketers forgetting to optimize their mobile campaigns?"

  1. David Engel says:

    May 4, 2012 at 11:37am

    We're doing mobile measured media, and I see a lot of campaigns that lead users to desktop websites. It's really too bad. Seems like the majority of them are small & mid size advertisers who are doing a desktop campaign that got mobile "thrown in" as a line item on the contract. They obviously didn't realize that a mobile ad buy should be handled with care -- not tacked on as a line item.
  2. Jim Morrone says:

    April 30, 2012 at 8:38am

    When will Mobile Marketer have a mobile-optimized site so I don't have to "pinch & zoom" to read these articles? :-)

    Seriously, good article and I'm amazed at how many businesses in my market just throw a QR code on everything that just point to their full site.

    There is no excuse for large brands with a marketing team to "forget". The average small business owner doing it on their own isn't going to fully understand the entire scope of what needs to be done. They nee better education on how everything ties together.