The Takeaways from Mobile-First Content Marketing


The mobile-first approach is gaining popularity. What’s so unique about it? What takeaways does it offer to digital marketers? How to incorporate the takeaways into content marketing?

Let’s find out.

What is Mobile-First

Consumers are using their smart devices for everything from watching sports to shopping online. Brands feel the need to design product experience for handheld users. Many are adopting the mobile-first approach. This approach places mobile at the helm and considers it more pertinent than desktop.

The Mobile Web

The desktop web is no longer a match for the mobile web. The latter outpaces the former in traffic and visitor retention rate. A study by Google and Nielsen shows more than 75% with access to handheld and desktop web, prefer the former.

Here are a few other eye opening stats. The stats confirm the need for the mobile-first approach.

  • Among the B2B marketers, over 90% need to optimize their content for mobile devices.
  • More than 1.8 billion users access the web from mobile devices. See the graph below:
    mobile-desktop-usersThe chart above shows something interesting. Between 2013 and 2014, the mobile user-base has stalked past the desktop user-base. 
  • Custora E-commerce Pulse‘s data reveals mobile sale order volume increased 4% in February, 2016.

Mobile-First Content Marketing

Text-based content, graphics, photographs and UI design elements, all come under content marketing. Mobile-first content marketing aims to optimize all these elements for smart device users. The strategies need to be touch-based.

Mobile-Specific Search

The way mobile users search differ from the way desktop users search. Differences found in their ways of searching include:

#Use of Keywords

To type a keyword, a mobile searcher needs to tap his finger again and again on the virtual keyboard. It is time-consuming and pains his finger. So, searchers tap on suggestions provided by Google. The suggestions are often a PPC expert’s top picks.

#Search Growth

Comscore has done a study into the multi-platform web. The study shows 3.1% YoY increase in search volume between 2013 and 2014. See the infographic below:

multi-platform-web-searches12,6 billions web searches were made on smartphone in 2014

More people use their Smart devices for searching. This indicates an upsurge in the number of mobile-specific search queries.

What’s a content marketer’s takeaway here?

That content, especially text-based should include competitive queries. People accessing the web through mobile lack patience and tend to skim through the content a lot. The content needs to have a lot of buzzwords to keep their attention on it. This somewhat coincides with the desiderata for rich snippets. It seems there’s more to their relationship than what meet the eyes.

Internet of Things

Because the crux of IoT is mobility, it adds up to the mobile web. “Things” may function as a doorway to the online world. But they can never perform multitasking. A camera can only capture stills, a car only serves the purpose of commuting.

But mobile phones let us multitask, through apps of course.

Phones are connecting people, assets, devices and systems and delivers an omnichannel experience between the physical and digital world

Content Creation for “things” Should Take the Following Into Consideration:

Data-rich: Through built-in sensors, “things” cultivate raw data. Weather info, location, street address, share market tickers are raw data, displayable on websites. IoT-friendly content need to be with rich with such data.

The format: Files having .stl or .obj format don’t run on browsers. Their front-end display is not as smooth as .avi or .mp4. This is a challenge for content marketing. It’s a challenge because “things” can have content in such formats. For example, a 3D printer with internet connection can contain a .stl file.

Customer experience: “Things” create a network. This prompts brands to guide customers through every touch point. In a connected framework, the content needs to provide guidance, or else, it will fail.

Only the mobile-first approach can allow inbound marketers to catch up with IoT. Connected space, portable environment, small screen, and UX bottlenecks disturb mobile internet browsing experience. One faces the same set of challenges, along with a few other challenges when he moves to IoT.

Voice-Activated Search

Let’s say you are accessing Google from your desktop computer. And you want information on Kate Upton.

You type two search queries one after the other. The first query is “Kate Upton birthday.” The second query is “Kate Upton partner.” Both queries are independent. In case of voice-activated search, one search query can be the continuation of the other. If the first query is “When was Kate Upton born,” the second query can be “Does she have a boyfriend.”

Note “She” is a referring-back expression that connects phrases. There’s a takeaway for content marketers here. They should create content as answers to not just one search query, but a series of related queries. It’s easier said than done. Anticipating the queries requires foresight and creating content around them requires creative prowess.

How can the mobile-first strategy function as a leverage here?

Desktop-esque search leads to a loss-loss situation for a webpage and visitors. Miguel Salcido pointed it out. A visitor who lands on a page goes back to the SERP for the next search. This way, the ranking of the page drops for the query he used.

Voice-activated search creates a web of queries. Voice search signifies mobility as people can search something on the go. It is semantic search too. The voice search app for Chrome ramps up semantic searching.

Localized Content

Localized content is a prime requisite for an optimized mobile experience. Almost 50% consumers gather store location and other info through mobile search. And approximately 80% mobile searches convert into sales.

cross-device-infographic4 out of 5 local searches on mobile devices end in a purchase

The mobile-first approach in content marketing necessitates the creation of localized content. The key strategies include

#Topic update: It’s easy. Configure Google Alerts to know which topics are trending in which regions. Also, use Google Analytics to get locational info of visitors. Select regional topics for regional visitors and create content around those topics.

#Local keywords: Local keywords are less competitive compared to global keywords. One should add such keywords to the content, to meta properties, and as ALT tags. It guarantees visibility.

#Google map optimization: Google Map listing is essential for a business. The Google Map API allows integration. A brand can create integrate positive content into the map listing.

The mobile web eases localized content creation. But it demands a marketer to follow the said strategies. Hence, shift your attention from the desktop web to mobile. This way, you can harness the power of localization.

User-Generated Content

The retail segment is more sensitive to UGC than the brick-and-mortar segment. Restaurants and fashion outlets are vulnerable to user/consumer generated content. See the infographic below:

user-generated-contentUser-generated content plays an influential role in retail segments 

A survey on 500 consumers produced the data. Positive UGC seems to beat affordability in their priority checklist. And bear in mind they were all mobile shoppers. Positive UGC increases review conversion rate too. See the infographic below:

response-rate-review-requestsOverall response rate from mobile shoppers is 10,8%

Shoppers used handheld devices to respond to review requests. They reviewed the brands from using those devices.

The review conversion rate wouldn’t have been high if shoppers responded via desktop devices. It’s easy to access the web through Smart devices. Generating a review in favor of a brand is easy as there’s an army of apps, custom-built for this purpose.

The mobile-first approach taps into multi-screen marketing and get the best out of it. For dummies, multi-screen advertising is linked with an uptick in cross-device conversion.

UGC can replace ads with the power of organic content. Organic content is more powerful than promotional content used in advertising. Online shopping is a multi-screen activity. Spur of the moment shopping accounts for 81% spontaneous buys. While smart devices trigger it, desktop devices function only as catalysts.

The mobile-first approach encapsulates all these consumer segments. The UGC offers consumers ease at generating content in favor of a brand.


Brands will increase their content marketing budget in the future. The device-agnostic approach is losing relevance. Brands need to speculate possible viewability and user-experience bottlenecks in relation with devices.

The strategies discussed in this article can help them identify and remove the bottlenecks. They can also reap the benefits of content marketing in a multi-screen world.

Photo Credit: Visualhunt

William Johnson

William Johnson belongs to the most creative field of digital media: web design! Currently, he is obsessed with the latest trends in e-commerce development, search engine optimization techniques, and social media analytics. He has been a regular contributor to leading online portals such as SEMrush, SmallBusinessTrends, SocialMediaToday etc.

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