JibJab, the digital entertainment studio best known for its political satire videos and personalized holiday e-cards, was a pioneer of online viral content—admit it, you were once superimposed on a dancing elf.
But in recent years, JibJab has faced a familiar business dilemma. As users have shifted to mobile platforms and social media, the company has had to adapt its product and procedures that were optimized entirely for desktop only.
According to Fabrice Saint Elme, Senior Manager of Marketing, the key lies in being incredibly methodical. JibJab crafted a mobile strategy shaped by in-depth analysis of user data. The result is a series of successful standalone apps and a responsive mobile platform, which now sees almost 60 percent of the site’s traffic — a giant leap from 25 percent just three years ago.
From the start, JibJab has primarily been a desktop service. With users switching to mobile, how are you changing your approach?
We're still learning and adapting to the fast-moving desktop-to-mobile transition. Google, Facebook, and other major marketing vendors are moving towards a "mobile first" approach, so naturally we needed to make the necessary optimizations. Once we saw that over 50 percent of our web traffic was mobile, we knew we had to rethink our current practices.
What are the main differences to keep in mind with mobile?
You have to take into consideration the amount of content users can see and what their situation is. If they have a weak signal, your site load time could really impact their experience and their willingness to stay on your site. You have to do things like create shorter registration forms and make adjustments so that pages can load faster. When you cut out the in-between for the mobile user, you can get them to a site that is fast and efficient and convert them that much quicker.
How have apps helped expand your reach?
When you have everyday use apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Bitmoji, and Facebook, having an app that’s most relevant during the various holidays and observances throughout the year would not be competitive enough in the app environment.
For us, that is where short-form content in the form of GIFs and stickers come into play. We have funny, engaging, everyday content for users to customize and share with their friends and family. Users of our app now have more reason to engage with our content outside of our normal seasonal cadence.
So you’re learning more about your audience through the app activity. Have those insights affected the way you do business on the desktop?
Not yet, but it will. It has to. From the app, we are learning what works well and then applying those changes to the web as our resources permit. We believe the app space will be the future and core of our business, and we’re constantly testing and learning as we define and refine our goals.
What’s the most important tool for making a successful transition to mobile?
Data. You can't make assumptions—you really need to test with statistical confidence, and you need to trust the data and the results. The most important things to us are the metrics. You should understand the insights gained from Facebook, Google Analytics, paid search, and others with confidence and invest in the learnings as you build and execute your game plan. The data will give you the clearest answers into what is and is not working.
Which aspect of digital marketing will have the greatest impact going forward?
The most important KPI for mobile apps in particular is retention. You want to fully understand what brings a user into your app, and what would help bring them back. Every feature you add can potentially impact a user’s desire to return to your app, whether it’s tomorrow, a week, or a month from their last experience. If you want users coming back frequently, you need to understand the different components of your app and how they impact retention.
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This article was created and commissioned by SteelHouse, and the views expressed are their own.