While marketing trends come and go (remember QR codes?), there’s one in particular that has proven over the last few years it’s really here to stay – mobile.
As mobile usage continues to grow in 2018, it’s never been more important for marketers to think about how this affects your content and how your users find the information they’re looking for on their beloved iPhones. There’s certainly no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are a few things to keep in mind when analyzing content for mobile.
Identifying the Problem Pages
The first step to solving your mobile woes is to identify which content is performing poorly on mobile devices. In the digital era, this is fairly easy. Simply jump into your analytics platform and compare user metrics—such as bounce rate, conversion rate, and time on site—from both mobile and desktop devices.
If you find that the data is dramatically different from mobile to desktop, do some investigating. Once you’ve determined that the poor mobile performance isn’t being caused by content-related factors such as functionality (does the page actually load?) or referral source (is the traffic coming from a confusing paid ad?), then it’s time to start analyzing the content from a mobile user mentality.
Guess Less, Test More
The beauty of digital marketing is that you can measure and test specific elements within your mobile content to see how they affect specific content goals, be they form submissions, engagement, or educational. Instead of guessing why a mobile user might not be converting, try setting up a test.
Using software testing solutions like Hotjar or VWO can help pinpoint where users are falling off or why they might not be converting on your offer. Where are users clicking? Do they scroll all the way to the bottom of your page? Are they interacting with the content elements you want them to, or are they ignoring them? You can make educated guesses as to where their confusion may be, but testing will help support your hypothesis with hard data.
Check Out the Competition
Whether because of lackluster traffic or budget restrictions, you might not be able to test. But luckily, you probably have some competitors that can help.
Looking at your competitors and analyzing their mobile content can be beneficial for a number of reasons. First, it can help you identify trends in how information within your specific industry is communicated. There are times when following the trend might not be the best move, but if users are used to finding information in a specific way—especially on mobile devices—seeing how your competitors organize their mobile content can give you ideas for your own site.
When checking out your competition, you can also start to think beyond your own industry (especially if your industry is behind the curve). For example, if you’re an RV manufacturer, maybe you look at how luxury automotive brands optimize their sites and content for mobile devices. Although they’re not your true competitor, you can still learn from them.
Long-form vs. Short-form Content
When we think about mobile-friendly content, we don’t typically think about long-form content. But according to research from Buzzsumo, long-form content beats short-form content in pretty much everything including social shares, time on page, and visits on mobile devices.
Quoting Moz, "85% of content published (excluding videos and quizzes) is less than 1,000 words long. However, long form content of over 1,000 words consistently receives more shares and links than shorter form content. Either people ignore the data or it is simply too hard for them to write quality long form content."
The research also tells us that users spend more time reading long-form content. The obvious reason for this is because there’s more content to read, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that despite any preconceived notions that humans won’t consume in-depth content—especially not on a tiny screen—we actually do.
Does this mean that long-form content is always the right call for your mobile content? Absolutely not. But if your objection to a piece of lengthy content is that no one on mobile will ever get through the thing, it’s not as big of a problem as you might think.
Think User-focused and Mobile-specific
When told to optimize content for mobile, too often marketers think about what they need to cut to create a better experience. But sometimes, creating a better experience calls for adding elements—the information that might be unique to their mobile needs.
This could be as simple as highlighting your phone number and physical address if you’re a restaurant or retailer. If you’re a brand that sells through department stores or dealers, show them where they can physically buy your products. These tidbits of information might not be included on the desktop version of the page, but could be valuable to the mobile user.
This only works, though, if you can effectively prioritize your content. So, when analyzing content for mobile, it’s critical you think about what the mobile user would find the most important and make sure they see that information.
In the End, Your Content Serves the User
We could talk about how to analyze the success of content for days. And while conversion rates and time on page are very important to measure, the real thing to keep in mind is whether or not the content provides value to your target audience. Figure that part out and the results will follow.
Mollie Kuramoto is the content marketing specialist for Indianapolis-based Element Three.