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5 ways to ensure a magnificent mobile experience

September 04 2013 2:51 PM

With the increased use of smartphones, marketing with mobile in mind is an imperative, as opposed to a choice. The worst thing you can do is create a campaign that doesn’t have the desired impact or delivers a flat experience if viewed on a tablet or mobile, so take note of the following top 5 best practice tips to avoid giving your audience a disappointing experience of your brand.

1. Take an inside out approach - design ALL your campaigns with mobile in mind. If it looks good on mobile, you then have the opportunity to flesh out the layout for desktop users. Responsive design helps to cater for all screen sizes, so by using this principle, your campaign will respond and fit across a number of different devices removing the need for you to create two separate versions. However, be sure to test how the responsive design looks before going live with a thorough testing plan and programmes. Check for gaps in the design, legibility of design/copy/buttons/CTAs, random line breaks and the order the columns collapse down. Alternatively, create a mobile version that kicks in at a set trigger point on specific devices. This way you only need to test two versions of the campaign. A great example of a mobile campaign that we worked on for PayPal can be viewed here. The main focus of the campaign was to engage and educate merchants through an interactive visual guide. So with this mind, we used this as the ‘mobile’ version of the campaign. The results spoke for themselves and is now being used as part of their overall lead nurturing programme.

2. Email me – one of assumptions that you shouldn’t make is that the viewer of the campaign will take time and engage with the information at the very time they engage with the campaign as they probably won't. With the rise of people consuming information on the move, if you don’t offer the chance to send or save key information, you may miss the opportunity for the message to actually be consumed and understood. By offering an ‘Email me’ option will give the user the flexibility to download the content and read it at a later date at a time that suits them.

3. HTML5. Flash is so 2010! When working on digital campaigns, don’t even think about building it with Flash. HTML5 is compatible with the majority of devices so be sure add this to your technical requirements. is a great place to find out more about its capability.

4. Concise copy – if you have a site that collapses down into a single column for mobile, the copy will take up a lot more space on a mobile so be as concise as you can. One idea is: ‘write down what you want to say, review it and halve the word count, and then halve the word count again’. A great example of a no-nonsense mobile site is the John Lewis site ( When viewed on mobile a single column is used: you get an image, a brief overview, a price and a BUY NOW button. Simple, no fuss and straight to the point. Perfect! 

5. Let the design do the talking – make it as easy as possible for users to navigate around your site. The need for pinching the screen is near to being something of the past. All the content needs to be as accessible as possible so don’t hide the CTAs, make them clear and obvious. This will help to deliver a positive experience.  Also, avoid using words such as ‘Download’, ‘Click’, ‘View’ - the design should do the talking so include underlined copy, play buttons, hover over states.

So, in summary, be mindful of mobile in all you do. If you don’t, you are damaging your brand, it's as simple as that. If you want to see another example, pick up your phone and look at this blog (if you’re not doing it already)...

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October 04 2013 10:38 AM

Great stuff Tom. Of course, this doesn’t mean that everything is mobile and we shouldn’t fall into the usual trap of chasing the shiniest newest technology. But mobile has definitely joined the list of factors that we have to consider when planning any kind of customer interaction.

October 04 2013 10:46 AM

You’ve raised some good points here Tom. Incidentally, Litmus have just released some interesting stats relating to mobile metrics:

They’ve reported that mobile opens hit 47% in August, an all-time record high.
If last year’s trend of a further 13% increase between August and December is repeated, mobile opens could reach 53% by the end of the year.

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October 04 2013 10:48 AM

Thanks Joan, with mobile usage continuing to rise, we may find that instead of taking an inside out approach, mobile is where all campaigns will need to start. The lead up to Christmas, and the launch of new devices may also have an impact on these stats, watch this space!

October 04 2013 10:50 AM

Tom, the Paypal example looks great. I marvel when during a project briefing I hear ‘don’t worry about optimising the campaign for mobile, we’re not concerned about that’.  I think even if the percentage of mobile users on the database is relatively small, they will grow - as Joan’s stats helpfully show. This can be the perfect opportunity to test this channel and get it right before you find yourself playing the catch up game. The existing and potential customers will be delighted at best and not frustrated at worst.
Nice one Tom!

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October 04 2013 10:50 AM

I agree wholeheartedly Zu, hear, hear!

October 04 2013 10:51 AM

Great blog Tom. Really interesting point about ‘email me’. You’re absolutely right that often marketers assume ‘audiences’ engage with their campaigns as they would like, rather than as customers would like. Thanks!

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October 04 2013 10:51 AM

Excellent points Tom! May I add that ‘Mobile Experience’ has taken a lot more importance in ‘search’ recently. This is what Matt Cutts (Head of Web Spam Team at Google) actually said at the SMX Conference a few months ago: “You really need to be thinking about mobile. We’re starting to think a lot about mobile.” Google then confirmed that sites with mobile experience issues won’t rank as high in Google’s mobile search results.  Something to keep in mind!

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October 04 2013 10:54 AM

Thanks Sarah, I am working on developing a best practice piece for Email me functionality so will be sure to share this with you when its complete - maybe as my next blog article

October 04 2013 10:55 AM

I’m typing this on a mobile so keeping it short - excellent stuff Tom, responsive design is def the way to go!

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October 04 2013 10:56 AM

Thanks Joey - there you have it, another reason for including mobile as part of your up front planning.
So in summary, if you don’t consider mobile, the time and budget researching keywords and putting in place the standard SEO elements is wasted, customers are left feeling frustrated which in turn damages your brand and ultimately stops you from driving the behaviour you set out to achieve in the first place.

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October 04 2013 10:57 AM

Great read Tom.
Your point on concise copy is very valid not simply for mobile devices but for other communications like emails. With an increasingly demanding and time-poor generation of users, accustomed to greater and faster access to information than ever before, landing your key message quickly and clearly is a must

October 04 2013 10:57 AM

I saw an interesting post on Econsultancy which talks about user experience on mobile when having to reset a password.

The most common problem is that users are being switched to the desktop version of a site in order to reset their password, and they then find it difficult to get back to the optimised version they were using before.

There’s a bad example (M&S) and a good example (John Lewis).

The conclusion is that sometimes the password reset process for mobile users is more complicated than it needs to be, and that more thought needs to be given to user journey.  This is where the importance of rigorous testing comes into play.

April 20 2017 7:41 AM