What is your mobile target audience? This (somewhat) simple question has been vexing marketers for years, especially as mobile content consumption has skyrocketed on smartphones and tablets.
Why is the question so complicated to answer? Largely, because it is actually three questions rolled into one, each of which has to be answered in order to reach your target mobile audience:
Question 1: What is my audience?
To increase the chances that your content campaign will be successful, irrespective of platform, you need a clear, detailed picture of your target customer. Yes, this is partially about demographics (are they male/female, older/younger, domestic/international?) but it’s also about much more than that.
As marketing guru Ken McArthur puts it, you need to create a “prototype person.” What does your ideal customer like and dislike? Do they have a family? Where do they live? What are their politics? What music do they listen to? What words do they like? What do they value?
Fundamentally, this isn’t so much about mobile/non-mobile as it is about truly knowing your buyers and understanding what sort of tools and methods can be utilized to most effectively appeal to them.
Question 2: What is my current audience responding to on mobile platforms?
OK, so you’ve got a customer profile, and you have an audience engaging with your content, but you want to understand how their behavior changes on mobile platforms. Answering this question requires both analysis and testing.
Analysis: As simple as it sounds, the easiest way to understand your mobile audience is to take a look at your existing analytics platform. Too often marketers overlook some of the less visible elements of these offerings. For example, the Mobile Devices Report in Google Analytics can give you insights into what sort of content mobile visitors are responding to, which devices they are using, and how they are flowing through your site.
Testing: Once you examine your analytics you probably have some theories about what your mobile audience likes and doesn’t like. Now it’s time to test these hypotheses. Publish multiple content types and rigorously measure how users across different platforms react to them (ideally with an A/B component). Does your mobile audience prefer shorter articles? Do they ignore your videos? Do they prefer inline images to slideshows? Do they prefer certain topics? To properly reach your mobile audience you’ll need to know the answers to these questions.
Question 3: How do I reach my target audience on other mobile platforms?
Finally, the missing piece of the puzzle is how to reach customers on mobile platforms who do not currently engage with your content. Luckily, that’s getting easier and easier thanks to social networks and better ad serving.
Over the past year Facebook enhanced its mobile ad offerings with new News Feed units and an updated Custom Audiences tool to allow for retargeting across platforms. Twitter, not to be outdone, likes to claim that it was “born mobile” and also has a whole set of research and best-practices to help marketers reach consumers on mobile devices using its network.
Moreover, the major digital ad serving platforms have developed a suite of ad options to allow for targeting across various devices. Google, in particular, has done a good job of evolving its offerings to cater to mobile platforms.
Ultimately, no single method mentioned above will solve your mobile audience puzzle. You’ll need to use evolving ad units, in-depth customer profiles, and analytics/testing in tandem to truly find (and sell to) your target mobile audience.