What Does it Mean to be “Mobile First”?

by David Shor (Google+)
Posted on September 14, 2015 in mobile-strategy-development.

Customers are accessing more information and content from their mobile devices than they are from their desktops. A “mobile first” initiative should be a key marketing strategy for your business. According to Shopify.com, mobile now accounts for more than 50% of all eCommerce traffic.

It’s true: for most of us, our mobile devices and tablets are kept within three feet of reach at all times in order to conduct and manage our lives. According to the Pew Research Center two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world. This includes apps for accessing email, browsing the web, updating social networks, using GPS and taking photos.

We’ve reached the tipping point in which mobile use has surpassed that of desktop with more than 51% of media being consumed on devices versus desktop (source smartinsights.com). With the shift of the consumer mentality to be mobile first, businesses must adapt their marketing and advertising strategies to a “mobile first” mentality in order to keep up and in front of their customers. 

Must-Do’s For Thinking “Mobile-First” for your Business

The first step to developing a mobile first mentality is making sure your site is responsive. Responsive websites are designed to give users optimal viewing of your content and an ease of interaction including resizing content, reading and navigation. A responsive website is an absolute must in order to create a quality customer experience on mobile. The next step is to develop an effective mobile ad strategy and create a supporting app if it fits within your business model.  Companies, especially those that require customers login to access their accounts, should consider creating a mobile app for their brand. The app not only stores customer data which can better inform marketing campaigns, but create a better customer experience, build brand loyalty and trust, and improve customer engagement.

Why You Must Think Mobile First

At a panel discussion at the recent Mobile Economics summit conducted in June of 2015, it was revealed that the average user has 41 apps installed on their devices.  Not only does the information provided by apps (location, gender, age, etc.) allow you to effectively target the customer you’re trying to reach, but in-app advertising was shown to be an acceptable level of exchange for free use of the app by the user. This means that not only do the app users watch and/or engage with your apps, they feel it’s a fair trade to be shown your messaging. 

Take a look at some of these additional stats provided by eMarketer:


In 2015, more money was spent on mobile search than desktop search
Expected 2017 spend: $21.73 billion vs. 9.12 billion on desktop


In 2015, $14.67 billion was spent in mobile vs. $12.38 billion on desktop
Expected 2017 mobile spend is $25.69 billion vs. $11.67 billion on desktop


In 2015, mobile ad spending in the US will increase 50%, reaching $28.72 billion
It will account for 49% of all digital ad spending
By 2019, mobile ad spending will rise to $65.87 billion, or 72.2% of total digital ad spend

With stats like these, can you genuinely say your business is competing on the same level?

Overview of Social Channels & Apps

This graphic represents the staggering number of people conducting searches, accessing and using apps to promote their businesses and online marketing. With numbers like these, you don’t want to be playing catch-up to your competitors.  

In Conclusion….

Without an effective mobile first strategy you’re missing out on potential consumers, not optimizing your current customers’ experience and not marketing on the platforms that your customers are on: new and existing.  By thinking mobile first, you’re thinking like your customers, which in turn will strengthen their customer experience with your brand and ultimately help you generate more leads and conversions.  

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