Marketers must stop thinking of mobile as a standalone channel, and instead they need to seize the opportunity for mobile to boost online customer engagement.
That was the message Jennifer Wise, senior analyst on the marketing team at Forrester Research, brought to Rio SEO’s Local Search Summit (#LSS2016). Wise spoke early Thursday afternoon on how mobile is driving local consumer behavior, what this means for digital marketers, and how business can better deliver on consumer expectations with mobile.
In the several years she’s been covering mobile, Wise said, one of the top questions she’s asked is, “What do we do about location?”
It’s not quite as simple as just “doing” something about it. Rather, location needs the additional insight of context in order to serve the immediate needs of consumers.
How is mobile changing consumer’s expectation of company interactions?
Americans are highly mobile, with 70% of US adults today owning a mobile device. They spend 66 hours and 56 minutes a month on their mobile device. Moreover, they spend that time in 26 apps and on 52 websites. Further, 46% of US adults use a tablet. They’re spending 48 hours and 24 minutes on apps and sites.
This is where the Mobile Mind Shift comes in — it’s a fundamental change in the way consumers are thinking. Forrester defines the Mobile Mind Shift as:
The expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need.
To deliver on this, mastering mobile moments is the next battleground for companies. A mobile moment is a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what they want in their immediate context.
This creates a gap between what people expect and what businesses are actually delivering.
The local opportunity here is great; it can help you drive:
- local traffic
- proximity marketing
- real-time retail
- and in-store behavior insights.
Customers are ready for local marketing. When a study asked consumers recently, what’s the greatest challenge when you don’t have your mobile device? Consumers responded that their top problem was not being able to complete a task they wanted to complete.
69% of US smartphone owners say they search at least weekly or more. This number skyrockets when you’re looking at younger users. Almost half of those queries on mobile devices have local intent. And 21% have compared prices in-store in the last 3 months. Forrester also asked consumers what they’re interested in allowing to happen with their mobile devices. A full 52% were interested in letting their phone interact with a beacon to provide them with special offers.
Nearly 80% of local shopping searches via mobile are going to convert.
What information matters most to these mobile consumers? More than half want to see ratings and reviews. They want to see the hours the store is open, ratings and reviews, and address and direction information — these are their top mobile local needs.
What does this shift mean for local digital marketers who engage in mobile marketing?
Marketers need to understand that “location” is more than a data point. Alongside other data, it can tell you different things about your consumer.
What is local, then? It’s a stationary place — where am I? But it’s also a contextual factor — a “what” that can give marketers critical insight into how they can help fulfill the consumer’s need.
Wise advocates for the WHO Framework, which asks:
- What do target users seek? What is the subject of their search?
- How does my customer find? Plot the different sources that target users apply in informational searches.
- What should I offer users? Identify an optimal offer based on user intent and behavior.
To bridge that gap between what your consumers expect and what your brand provides, make sure you’re connecting them to the most recent, accurate business information. This includes search results, Maps listings, Google My Business listings data, and any other local listings across the local search ecosystem.
Marketers can also use location to trigger local inventory ads, which helps solve an immediate purchasing need for consumers. Try sorting a user’s shopping list by location within the store.
How can you deliver on consumers’ expectations for mobile?
Brand loyalty continues to falter and mobile plays a large role in this, as it has accelerated consumers’ local expectations of companies. Smart marketers are focusing not on location, but on location + context to better understand consumers’ needs.
For more on the mobile mind shift and how local marketers can better meet the needs of their mobile consumers, see Wise’s recent research reports Marketing Strategy for the Mobile Mind Shift and The Path to Mobile Marketing Mastery.