Mobile-First Experiences in 2016

March 29, 2016

Collective Measures
We now live in a mobile-first world. It is crucial that marketers know how to provide improved experiences across all stages of a consumer's journey. Learn more about Media Director Neil Olinger's perspective on the big shifts in mobile-first experiences at the agency blog.

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Mobile devices have changed the way we live and continue to play a more integral part of everyday life. In the past few years, mobile has steadily taken over as the dominant device across broad swathes of the entire populace. Concurrently, digital behavior has changed, reflecting the mobile-first shift— last year Google saw searches on mobile devices surpass searches on desktop. With this change, brands and marketers need to meet the expectations these users have. For many, this requires a shift in tactics, technology and measurement.


With the shift in device share, media formats and even the platforms we interact on have continued to change and fragment. We have seen the rise of social platforms, many of which are dominated by the mobile user. To meet this demand, brands and marketer have also ventured into these platforms. While there are similarities in how we advertise on these platforms with older digital or traditional platforms, much has also changed.

In many regards, Facebook has recently led the way with advanced and detailed targeting, a number of immersive and relevant ad formats, and flexible and useful optimization objectives and algorithms.

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Facebook’s Canvas ad format (pictured above) gives advertisers the option to fully customize their advertising experience to include photos, videos, texts and call-to-action buttons to become brand storytellers.

However, Facebook is not alone. Google, Pinterest, LinkedIn and a wide range of display and programmatic solutions continue to build for the mobile user. Many of the solutions that have been valuable to marketers in the recent past have focused on the desktop user, with this shift in device preference, old processes need to be adjusted and updated. Some of these changes may include how many characters and statements are included in ad copy, the complexity of imagery, and the kinds of calls to action used.

Just as important as what happens while brands engage on media channels is the experience users then have afterwards; with apps, websites, in person, etc.


At this point, many businesses have created some combination of mobile experiences incorporating a responsive or mobile dedicated website, an app or app suite and solutions to interact at brick-and-mortar locations. Some of these solutions have been developed specifically for the mobile user. Others that we interact with are smaller versions of desktop experiences that scale down for the smaller mobile screens.


Photo: Think With Google

With the growth, and in some cases, overwhelming share, of users being mobile, the user experience should shift to mobile user needs first. This is increasingly important as users are not inclined to stay with a poor experience, less than 10% of users will stay with an experience that doesn’t meet their needs.

One area of focus for many businesses is the increasingly large impact of mobile & local. For instance nearly 9 in 10 “near me” searches are mobile, and those searches are growing at nearly 150% year over year. For many businesses, this requires new experiences and new ways to measure success. For this specific experience, the integration of website or app analytics and call tracking can help bridge a gap between digital sessions and brick-and-mortar sessions. This is one example of many, for other examples solutions may not exist yet, others still may be so new that they still need validation from the broader marketplace.

While not all experiences mobile users have will be new or different from desktop users, it is important to validate that the experience they receive helps them reach the solution they are looking for.

Once a business is in a position to review and update their mobile experiences, there are a number of solutions available to help. Google, among others, have guides and tools to help build strong experiences for the mobile user, from their perspective. The main recommendations from many of these guides is to solve for user needs, make sure the systems are intuitive, easy to use and ensure they are fast. After new solutions are introduced, continue to look for opportunities to improve and expand experiences to make them better for users and create a competitive advantage for your company.


With the shift in media consumption to mobile devices, brands and marketers are in a position to update how they go to market to provide users an improved experience across all stages of a consumer journey. With the investment of time and money required to meet user expectations, there is no better time to start.

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