When it comes to B2B content marketing, mobile is often touted as the next big thing (or at least, the next big thing with a pretty small screen). Each year, we're told that this year will be the year of mobile. The problem, of course, is that this paints a picture of a sudden switch – as if one Tuesday morning, everyone is going to turn off their laptops, turn on their tablets and never look back. The real world, of course, doesn't work like that.
However, we do seem to have finally reached some form of tipping point – as research from comScore and others has shown:
- Smartphones have reached the late majority stage by exceeding 50% adoption – in fact, the UK is ahead of the curve on 65%
- Mobile devices are now used in 37% of online activity
- 23% of mobile users watch at least one video a month
- 3 in 5 tablet users read books on their device (the Kindle effect)
- Search is #1 activity on tablets
- With the exception of maps, the categories of PC usage and mobile usage show little difference
This would explain why in Econsultancy's Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing Digital Trends for 2013, the joint top priorities are content marketing and mobile optimisation (both on 38%). Getting your content in a mobile-friendly form is now more important than ever. But what does this really mean?
There doesn't need to be an app for that
Part of Apple's genius is that when we think mobile, we tend to think apps. The war to see which platform will be the first to a gazillion apps continues apace. There are sometimes good reasons to develop an app of course, but too many apps are purely about jumping on the (very crowded) bandwagon. In B2B marketing, you need to take a long hard look at whether your app will deliver enough value to not only find its way onto a customer's device but then to also get used on a regular basis.
No video epics
While network speeds are increasing, mobile users generally do not have the time or patience for long videos. In fact, viewing figures generally fall off a cliff at about 2mins 30secs. It may be that we've all been conditioned by too many cat videos on YouTube but that's just the way it is. So if you're going to produce video (and we suggest you do) keep it short and sweet.
Rise of the responsive ebook
Ebooks have largely come to mean landscape A4-ish sized PDFs of around 12-or-so pages. Fortunately this works pretty well on most tablets (as long as you keep your font size up). On a smartphone, however, there is way too much pinching and zooming for most people's liking (or patience). An alternative is to use responsive web design to make an ebook that will scale to any screen. Admittedly, this has the downside of being more difficult to gate (though not impossible) and requires an internet connection to view. But on the upside, it'll look just as good on an iPhone as it will on a laptop, it will be easy to use with all the popular read-later services and, gating issues aside, it'll be easy to share and link to. (Besides, you can always offer an additional downloadable PDF for those who want it.)
The resurgence of podcasts?
While podcasts always seem like a good idea, they've struggled to gain any real traction with B2B customers. Outside of a few high-profile media-backed ones, it's difficult to point to any brands that are really thriving in this area. But, look around any public transport and you'll see plenty of business people blocking out the rest of the world with their headphones. The opportunity is there to do something interesting and potentially quite sticky – though we would not bet the farm on a podcast-only strategy.
Today, no one can ignore mobile with their content. The winners in the content wars will be those who make their content just as compelling and accessible on a 4 inch smartphone screen as on a 30 inch LCD monitor.