How Can Communicators Better Engage an Audience on Mobile?
June 3, 2015
“Mobile commands 24 percent of time spent with media but accounts for only 8 percent of advertising dollars spent.” A great article (below) by Geoffrey Colon brought attention to this fact. Which leads to the question, how can communicators better engage an audience on mobile? We believe the answer is not better marketing, but better design. To simply add more marketing to the wealth of communications that is already out there creates more noise. As Colon points out, “the fragmentation of attention due to an abundance of information only causes a domino effect.” Human centered design helps your audience cut through the noise, because you are offering them a product which sees and then meets their needs within social and cultural contexts. JUNTOS helps financial service providers deeply engage with their users on mobile. By using human-centered design to talk with users and identify their needs and wants, we can answer questions before users even realize they have them. That cuts through the noise.
The Biggest Takeaway from Mary Meeker: When Information’s Cheap, Attention’s Expensive
by Geoffrey Colon
The most important insight I saw released in Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends Report is the following: “Mobile Internet use is growing faster than Internet usage in general: There are 2.8 billion Internet users, up 8 percent from 2014, and 2.1 billion mobile Internet users, an increase of 23 percent.”
This is a monstrous amount of transformational growth from big box desktops to slender laptops into a world of “tiny screens.” Much of our ecosystem is moving into this matrixed world at a blistering rate based on this other nugget insight: “The mobile ad industry is still short $25 billion. Mobile commands 24 percent of time spent with media but accounts for only 8 percent of ad dollars spent.”
What this means is there are a lot of communicators out there who still haven’t figured out how to engage an audience on mobile. The data shows it. Only 8 percent of advertising dollars are allocated to mobile experiences. Much of this might be because we’re treating communications like communications from the desktop era which was a replicant of the print world rather than the way it should be treated: as part of the modern world of design. Communications today is more about design than it is about marketing. If you really want to be successful in the 21st Century you will realize as a communicator, a marketer or a storyteller that you are now part of what is called, “The Creative Persuasion Economy.”
You will hear a lot about this term in the next two years. Why? Because it is reported that 30% of global jobs contribute to this area of GDP. That means there are a lot of people paid to persuade others to do something, make some sort of decision, take some sort of action, buy some sort of product.
The way to do this on mobile is not through more text or hard-to-read case studies. It’s not even through display banner ads. The way to approach this issue on mobile is through a mobile by design strategy which incorporates a 360 action plan that looks like this:
- social by design conversation that includes a heavy entrenchment in social customer relationship management. Most brands think consumers pick their product on price alone. But social data suggests customers look more at customer service issues as a reason to get rid of a product and/or service.
- content creation that inspires others to create their own user-generated content in response to your point of view. Your PR team can’t do it all nor should they. Communications design is all about how to incite your desired audience to take action and do the legwork of talking about you. Good modern communicators don’t have to say much because in a mobile first world, that information will be shared and distributed quickly as long as you can draw attention in a positive manner to your cause. Day-to-day work of modern communications designers is planning for what these experiences will look, sound and feel like.
- on demand media creation and distribution. Don’t decide for your audience. Let them decide for you by offering them a diverse selection of video, audio, photographic and text formats that can be chosen based on their personal preferences.
- using social data and paid social to generate awareness or “attention” while using paid search and organic search to capture customer intent. Social and search aren’t opposing forces. They are integrated accomplices. You shouldn’t just be running Facebook or Twitter campaigns without running Adwords or Bing Ads campaigns in tandem.
But before you jump up to begin designing those four areas noted, take one step back and start by answering this simple question my small scrum team at Microsoft always asks prior to designing any communications in an attention-stressed world:
- How will the person we are trying to connect with engage with us on various networks and platforms if they only do it from a mobile handset?
Think about this and act on it for one week if you are more of a person locked to your desk with a big monitor. Go to work and do most of your consumption and sharing of media and experiences strictly on your iPhone, Android phone or Windows phone. Do you run into experiences on mobile that frustrate you? Are there opportunities to try to engage with those content creators in all areas of media or do they only operate on an owned environment like their website?
Modern design thinking is rooted in the human experience. The day and age of “build it and they will come” is a ticket to go find another calling in life. That strategy no longer works due to the fact that the world we live in currently and moving forward will be one of abundance. There will be abundant access to cash or business finance (though it’s not evenly distributed at this point in time), abundant technology (although this is not evenly distributed either) and of course, the issue we use design to solve for which is a world of abundant information (look at that glass device in your hands and think to yourself how it can answer any question via a search engine. Well, with the exception of the most complex issues).
This fragmentation of attention due to an abundance of information only causes a domino effect. The more information and devices, the more distraction. The more confusion, the more communications that are pushed to help alleviate the issue. The additional communications only causes more noise and frustration amongst your desired audience. Helping your audience by providing them with the most legitimate insights, solutions, services or superior products is a way to cut through that noise.
Communications infused with design is the solution.
Geoffrey Colon is a Communications Designer and Social Data Expert at Microsoft. Follow Geoff on Twitter or on LinkedIn for a group conversation around the intersection of communications design, technology and human behavior.