BY, M A R C I A K A DA N O F F & B I L L G O D W I N
Is Mobile Content Marketing awesome?
And it really should be. Today’s mobile devices – be they smart
phones or tablets – are always with us, always on, and are fully
capable of understanding and predicting context – where you
are in space and time.
Context. Where you are in space and time determines
what content you are most receptive to.
In the US, we talk about “4 screens” as if they are equally valuable:
the computer, mobile phone, tablet, and television1. More and
more we are realizing that this is false. All four screens are not
equally valuable when it comes to the consuming content or
providing content that drives people to take action.
Mobile phones and tablets are more valuable than desktop
computers (or televisions for that matter) when it comes to
delivering the content that matters.
• Delivers a desirable demographic. As of late 2012,
the number of people with smart phones in the US
exceeded the 70% mark2. Smart phone users tend to
be — compared to those who carry feature phones 3
— richer, younger, better educated, better looking, and
more intelligent 4.
For some the 4th screen is a television; for others it’s a dedicated gaming console. We
won’t argue the point. Both these platforms are dying a slow death of attrition.
As of Q3 2013 according to two sources: NPD and ComScore: http://www.insidemobileapps.com/2012/11/15/npd-smartphone-penetration-rises-to-70-percent-in-q3/
Source: Pew Internet Project. This page is upzdated whenever there is new information: http://pewinternet.org/Commentary/2012/February/Pew-Internet-Mobile.aspx
OK. I made up the better looking and more intelligent. But the other attributes are all
real factors as you can see by looking at this analysis of what are called “skews”.
• More intimate. Due to the small and personal nature
of the devices themselves.
• Stronger call to action. While we don’t necessarily know why, all the data we have suggests that click
through rates on mobile ads – a medium that is widely
studied and reports – is some 10x higher than click
through rates on their desktop equivalents. This is after
correcting for what many call the “fat finger” problem
meaning the fact that many people erroneous click on
a smart phone or tablet 5.
Some attribute the higher click through rate to novelty. We
actually think it is because of the small screen which makes the
call-to-action harder to ignore. Also, multi-tasking on a smart
phone or tablet is hard due to the smaller size and limited
operating system of these systems. This makes for fewer distractions.
• More social. Studies show that 55% of social media is
read from a mobile phone or tablet 6.
• More mobile. Duh.
U.S. Mobile Commerce Sales via
Smartphone and Tablet, 2011-2016
M-commerce sales were up 81% in 2012 to $24.66 billion,
and they’ll rise 55.7% to $38.4 billion in 2013, research firm
eMarketer says. 7
retail m-commerce sales
% of retail e-commerce
And the ecommerce data tells us that mobile phones and tablets
are the fastest growing segment when it comes to ecommerce.
In short, mobile phones are proving valuable for the delivery of
hard-hitting, action-oriented content.
While the data presented above is limited to the US, the trends
are not. In Europe, mobile phones have long been in a leadership
position in terms of how people consume content. And in China,
the iPad mini is the fastest growing platform by far.
Given these trends, you would think that the content marketing
industry would be “all over” mobile as the next big thing. On this
you’d be partially right. Content marketing professionals are big
advocates of mobile. But the advice you’ll get “on the ground”
is a bit short on specifics. This eBook attempts to jumpstart the
conversation by giving you the tools you need to figure out what
it takes to be awesome.
We start in Chapter 2 with a discussion of what we call Table
Stakes. What it takes to make your content available on mobile
phones and tablets.
To make it fun and engaging, we encourage you to skim through
this eBook and then interact with the O’Chute Game 8, a fun and
engaging way to evaluate whether your own content marketing
is both awesome and mobile.
Table Stakes. What it Takes
to Deliver Mobile Content.
What Works When It Comes
to Mobile Content
What Doesn’t. Some Big
Earned. Owned. Paid. How to
Put Together a Plan That Makes
Forms. Who Ever Said This Was
Going to Be Easy.
HTML5 and the Mobile Search
Mobile Analytics & Testing.
What You Need to Know.
Ready, Set, Awesome
What You Need to
OK, you’ve put together a dynamite mobile content marketing
program. Everything is going along swimmingly – as they say
in Britain. Now it’s time to figure out whether your program is
meeting its objectives and/or can be fine-tuned to get you to
bigger or better results. After all, awesome mobile content
marketing only happens if you get awesome results.
Often times the first questions you want to ask and answer
are around customer acquisition:
• Am I visible in search?
• What search terms are people using to find me on
• Are these different search terms than people use to find
my site on the desktop web?
• Are people clicking through on content I placed in
Facebook or Twitter?
• Which site is a better source of referral traffic?
The Black Box Problem
Sadly, these questions are almost impossible to answer with
any precision on mobile. A stunning 86% of search traffic on the
Apple iPhone and iPad is encrypted. And encrypted traffic is a
black box. You don’t know the search terms that were used and
you can’t get referral information. (Referral information tells you
that someone came to your site from another site.). Instead, all
data shows up in a single line item in Google Analytics: “Referrer
This is maddening (to say the least).
So our message here is use caution when interpreting data from
Google Analytics or any other source that is supposed to tell you
what is going on with your mobile traffic. Almost all these charts
and graphs capture only about 15% of what is going on – and
may not be representative at all.
This happened with the launch of iOS 6. http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/11188apple-s-ios-6-update-means-86-of-google-referral-traffic-is-encrypted
Inside Your Mobile Application
If you have a mobile application, you are able to break out of
the black box a bit so long as you insert a piece of tracking code
inside your application.
It pays to use someone else’s tracking product. This isn’t an area
where it makes sense to “build” so much as “buy” … especially
as there are a lot of free or nearly free products on the market.
Products we like and recommend include: Flurry, Apsalar, and
Localytics. These products can be used alone, in combination
with each other, or with Google Analytics.
These products cannot get around the black box problem –
exactly – but they do allow you to ask and answer questions
that can help you understand your engagement, retention, and
ultimately your ability to monetize your application, such as:
• How many people are using my application more than 1x?
• How many people are using my application more than 3x?
• Is there a particular profile of people who are using
more than 3x?
Downloads Don’t Matter
According to Localytics, many people download and even pay
for mobile applications and never bother to launch them even
once. And among those who launch their applications 1x, 26%
will never launch them again.
Without loyalty, you cannot hope to monetize your application.
(The mobile app industry is pretty wimpy about loyalty – by the
way - defining loyalty arbitrarily as 3x usage. Localytics stands
alone in defining loyalty as 11x+ usage.)
Perhaps the easiest analysis you can do is look for trends over
time in the metrics that matter to you.
On the desktop web, analytic products track trends in unique
visitors to your website, the number of page views, and time
spent. With a mobile application, the comparable metrics are:
• Number of sessions
• 1x, 2x, 3x, nth usage
• Time spent per session
With trend analysis, you are looking at these and other metrics
over time to see if you can identify trends.
What you can see above is that sessions per user and revenue
are correlated, so that as sessions per user goes up, revenue also
tends to go up. People who wrack up more sessions are more
likely to become paying revenue producing customers – all
things being equal.
A natural experiment is just what it sounds like. It’s an experiment
that just happened - it wasn’t intended to be statistically valid and
in fact there’s no control group. Results are directional (only) but
still better than the alternative – which is no data at all.
Say on February 8th you launch a content marketing program
on Facebook and Twitter and via email. There’s nothing else you
did differently on February 8th. Oh, yes, except you killed all paid
media for the day. So the only initiative you have going on that
day was content marketing on channels you owned.
Your application is instrumented with one of the mobile analytics
products we mentioned. Included is functionality for cohort
analysis – the ability to track a group of people who all were
acquired on the same day – over time.
Looking at these results, you can see that on February 8th,
you brought in customers who came back at a higher rate in
subsequent days than did customers brought in before or after
The results above – by the way – come from MixPanel. But they just as easily could
have come from Apsalar or Localytics.
February 8th. In other words, engagement was higher for the
customers you brought in on February 8th than for customers
you brought in on the previous days where you relied primarily
on paid media.
There’s a lot of data that shows that higher engagement levels
leads to more loyalty and ultimately to conversion-to-sale.
Cohort analysis is a very powerful tool – especially when you use
it to analyze natural experiments. But … be warned. Don’t try to
tackle this analysis yourself, armed only with a spreadsheet and
a database. Cohort analysis it is a major undertaking that can be
both painful and time-consuming.
On the desktop web, we use funnel analysis a lot in both
ecommerce and lead-generation settings to figure out where
we are losing people on the path to conversion. To get started,
define the steps that people need to go through to purchase
your mobile application, become a lead, or what have you. Each
step in the funnel needs to be defined as a custom event and
events need to be linked together in sequential order. Within the
funnel, it is not possible to skip step 3 and go directly to step 5 –
for example. You have to pass through step 4.
Funnel analysis tells you how many people make it from one step
to the next and allows you to zero in on steps in the funnel where
you are losing a lot of people and therefore a lot of revenue.
Google Analytics, Flurry, Apsalar, and Localytics all support it.
Below is a simple funnel with only three steps in it: step 1 - launch
the application; step 2 – get exposed to the in app offer; step 3
– respond to the in app offer/complete the purchase. Here you
can see that 34% of users launched the app and went on to see
the offer displayed and of these 22% went on to complete the
in-app purchase for a total conversion rate of 8.19%.
Segmenting this funnel to isolate only first-time users shows the
conversion rate on in-app purchases dropping to 6.37%.
In this example, funnel analysis uncovered a revenue opportunity. Improve the customer experience among 1x app users and
there is a potential to boost in-app conversion rates. One way
to do this might be through content – perhaps offering a videobased tutorial.
When it comes to the mobile funnel, it pays to keep it simple. If
your regular funnel on the desktop web includes a form with data
capture, your funnel on the mobile web may need to include an
abbreviated version of that form. Similarly, think about ways you
can simplify or strip away steps in your conversion funnel.
The success or failure of your mobile content marketing program
depends on many factors … but one of the most important is
your landing page and whether you’ve optimized it to drive
A landing page is just what it sounds like – the place we take
people or “land” them after they are exposed to a marketing
The landing page is critical because it’s the last place a person
goes before they convert – or don’t convert.
You can either create customized landing pages for the mobile
web or make your existing desktop landing pages responsive
so they work both on the desktop and when accessed from a
smart phone or tablet. For mobile applications, it almost always
pays to do a custom landing page for mobile, so you can show a
screen shot of what your mobile application will look like on that
platform and provide a click through button to take prospects
directly into the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android).
Either way, A/B testing is a best practice.
The methodology is very simple. Take 50% of your traffic and
send it to version A of your landing page, send 50% of your traffic
and send it to version B.
Version B is better than Version A
If your objective is leads or sales, you need to recognize that as
much as 60+% of activity will start out on a mobile phone but
end up on a desktop computer 2:
Smartphones are the most common starting place for online
Google/IPSOS study, August 2012 available here: http://services.google.com/fh/files/
By the same token, PCs are often the starting point for more
complex activities that continue on mobile 3:
PCs are most often a starting point for more complex
What this means to you is that you need to measure results of
your A/B test across multiple devices.
A company called Drawbridge – http://drawbrid.ge - is pioneering
the way here. What they do is use a statistical algorithm to match
up a particular user’s desktop cookie with their mobile cookie, so
as to develop a more complete profile. By doing this, they can
track conversions that start out on mobile but get completed
on the desktop. The technology is very unique, shows a lot
of promise, and is worth looking into, particularly if you use
ecommerce to sell products or services.
Landing Pages as a Substitute for In-Store
Neither Google nor Apple support testing of different app
The alternative is to create two (or more) landing pages outside
of the app store(s) that drives traffic to your App Store listing.
Obviously this interjects another click in the path to the conversion-to-sale – but here this doesn’t matter. You’ll be judging the
success of your test only based on which landing page drove
the most click-throughs to the checkout facility (often it’s not a
page but an installation popup) within the App Store or Google
APP STORE LISTING
In terms of what to test, on mobile, the most likely elements
to test include:
• The headline
• The visual
• The copy
There are other factors you’d normally want to test – but here
you want your landing page(s) to look as much like the App Store
listing page as possible. Why? Because the decision you want
to make is around how to vary the App Store listing to drive the
maximum number of downloads.
Is this a complete guide to mobile analytics and testing? Not even
close. But it’s enough to get you started asking and answering the
questions that really matter. Acquisition, activation, retention,
and the key drivers of revenue.
• Have you looked at installing a one or more of the
mobile tracking products that are available? Some
good products to look at that are free or very low
cost include: Google Analytics, Flurry, Apsalar, and
Localytics. Drawbrid.ge shows promise for cross-device tracking.
• Are you focused on the right metrics? Remember
over 25% of customers download mobile applications
only to use the application 1x. There is lots of data
that engagement and revenue go hand-in-hand. At a
minimum track trends in:
-- Time spent
-- 1x usage
-- 3x usage
For an excellent guide see this infographic: http://www.invesp.com/blog/cro/testlanding-pages.html.
• Have you set up one or more natural experiments
and used cohort analysis to read the results?
This sounds a lot more difficult than it is in practice,
especially with a free product (Apsalar) or low-cost one
• Have you defined a funnel for mobile and is that
funnel different than it is on the desktop? An
emerging best practice is to simplify both the forms
and the steps in the funnel itself – as much as possible
- for mobile.
• Have you thought through your mobile landing
page strategy? Developing customized landing pages
for smart phones and iPad are worth the extra work to
maximize downloads for your mobile application.
• Are you testing the right stuff? Testing isn’t impossible
with mobile … it’s just a bit more difficult. The most
important elements to test are:
-- the headline
-- the key visual
-- the call to action
• Factor in cross-device usage. Studies show that as
much as 65% of searches and ecommerce transactions start out on smart phones only to end up on the
desktop. Important for you to know as you sit down
and analyze your funnel, for example.