It’s no revelation that consumer behavior is evolving. But is your marketing strategy evolving along with it? In 2013, major online companies--including Facebook--are adopting a laser-like focus on mobile, evaluating and changing their models as a response. As a result, your smartphone-slinging customers are expecting more from you right now. Mobile is no longer a “nice-to-have,” it’s a “must-have.”
The stats are pointed: Over two-thirds of Facebook and Twitter traffic is coming from mobile devices.  of Facebook’s 1 billion users access the social network on their phones, and all of these mobile users are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users. And by 2016, mobile marketing will account for 15.2 percent of global online ad spend .
Furthermore, according to Google research, right now, 66% of promotion views are via mobile, and 67% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand with a good mobile experience--while 52% said that if they have a poor mobile experience, they’re less likely to engage with a brand.
This fundamental shift in consumer behavior requires your adaptability--and it demands innovation. In short, without your promotions being accessible from any device consumers may choose (a smartphone, tablet, or desktop), you’re failing to reach 60-70% of all social media users. When you’re marketing, you’re marketing mainly to a mobile audience. It’s time to adjust your strategy accordingly.
Your customers are mobile; your online promotions, such as sweepstakes, giveaways and contests must be too. It’s not too late to embrace change and do mobile well. As you start seriously considering how your promotions will look and feel on mobile devices, follow these guidelines:
1. Make your promotion user-friendly. The most effective promotions are the ones with the least friction to enter. Don’t make consumers pinch their small screens multiple times; give them a clear look at your promotion without having to zoom in. The more user-friendly your promotion is in its user experience, the more likely consumers will be to participate.
2. Remove barriers to entry. Consumers aren’t going to jump through hoops just to interact with your brand. Remove barriers to entry, like forcing users to log into Facebook to access your promotion. The more steps consumers have to go through in order to participate in your promotion, the less likely they will be to enter.
3. Simplify participation. The promotion entry form should be native for mobile devices so that consumers can quickly and easily enter their information. Keep it simple; additional fields slow down the process. Only ask consumers for information that is absolutely necessary for you to run your promotion.
4. Beware silver bullets. Not all mobile “solutions” are created equal. Often, taking your desktop experience and shrinking it down to fit on a phone is definitely not a solution, as it delivers a generally terrible user experience. It's crucial to ensure your solution is adapted to all mobile devices.
5. Optimize seamlessly. Ideally, your promotion will work seamlessly across all devices. Our client , for instance, uses smart link technology that allows you to publish one link that detects browsers and optimizes accordingly.
Not having a mobile strategy is no longer an option. If you fail to embrace this change, it will embrace you. Your consumers will happily move on to a mobile-savvy competitor, I promise you that. This is no longer a prediction, but a reality--consumers are just waiting for you to catch up.
For brands, it’s survival of the fittest, and the truth is this: To be fit, you must be mobile.
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[Image: Flickr user Bill Gracey ]