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The Ultimate Publishers’ Guide to Optimise Sites for Mobile Users

The Ultimate Publishers’ Guide to Optimise Sites for Mobile Users

07 March 2017

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Mobile media consumption continues to proliferate across the globe, even as the platform is proving an uphill task for digital publishers attempting to grab the attention of and generate revenue from their audiences. How easy do you find optimising your content and user experience to fit mobile's small screens and fast-paced interactions? It has been clearly a struggle for scores of publishers cutting across industry segments and geographies.

Whereas, the most successful publishers build a robust strategy that drives the entire mobile experience. Right from understanding mobile usage patterns to creating content that is apt for their mobile audience consumption, a mobile-specific monetisation strategy revolves around creating the most optimal user experience and revenue model.

User Experience – Do's & Dont's

Every publisher has to assure their audiences great user experience – crisp content coupled with relevant ads from quality advertisers. Publishers need mechanisms to collect data about user behavior and interests on mobile in order to develop compelling content. The more one is aware of their customer, the easier it is to serve the right content at the right frequency without crossing the line and hurting their brand's prospects. 

Only after comprehending the behaviour pattern and how your audience interacts with your mobile site, should you start thinking about how to monetise it. User experience is integral for your mobile plan, so creating a monetisation strategy that’s in line with how users consume content is vital. You need to constantly monitor audience feedback to see where you can make site improvements.

In this regard, it is imperative that you offer native platform to all mobile devices. Native does work well for mobile as against pesky banner ads at the bottom or even interstitials. Ideally, you should create different types of display ad units that are more native to the platform. Probably, you may consider an in-between swipe in lieu of banner ads and give a thought about extending video to mobiles. Pre-roll is a hot model that is ruling the roost currently, in which demand clearly outstrips supply. 

Going forward, Washington Post wants its newsroom to narrate stories that adapt to any specific device or platform. And you’ll get to view advertisements intelligently adapt to the mobile narrative in new, unique and powerful ways. 

Mobile-first: How it Makes Sense 

A clean, functional mobile design is essential, if you want your readers to return to your site many times over. A good mobile user experience and clutter-free site translates into a boost in revenue and return visitors. 

Your audience should easily be able to determine the difference between content and ads. Digital publishers must definitely not hold on to  their desktop strategy, considering the size constraint on mobile devices and tablets. What appears clearly on desktops wouldn't be the same on mobile devices. Also, create a wonderful experience for mobile users with easy navigation and bolder text and images. 

As mobile consumption grows, building a mobile-first culture is high up on many publishers to do list, with video, in particular, playing a huge part in this strategy. You have to keep all these aspects in mind while zooming in on a mobile-first strategy. 

Responsive Sites: The Definitive Edge

A responsive website is one that responds based on the needs of the users and the device that they're viewing it on. In this model, text and images change from a three-column layout, to a single column display to better fit in to the mobile or tablet screen. Unnecessary images get hidden in responsive sites, so they don’t interfere or compete with the more important information on the site's smaller display. 

If you are using a desktop, you can easily make out if a site is responsive just by reducing your browser's window size from full screen down to very small. If the appearance of the text, images and menu change as you get smaller, the site is responsive, otherwise, it is not. 

Here are some salient features of responsive websites: 

  • Dynamic content
  • Condensed and easy navigation
  • Optimised images
  • Sharp padding and spacing 

You can achieve a more customised mobile experience with responsive design. However, it does need expertise, proper planning and execution, apart from a slightly bigger purse. That said, responsive sites help you ensure great user experience and monetise better as compared to mobile-friendly sites or even exclusive apps.

Mobile Ads: Compact Territory

Mobile ad spend is expected to reach $77.6 billion by 2017, points out eMarketer. Digital publishers should endeavour to create a mobile-specific revenue plan, as it is not as simple as plastering across a banner ad on your mobile site. Even your pricing strategy will vary from desktop. 

Unfortunately, mobile does not allow for much advertising real estate, so you should work with the best monetisation partners that fit the mobile strategy that you have built, and not the other way around. 

The dynamics of smartphones and tablets – both in terms of their size and how people generally use them – mean that traditional display ads don't work as well as they might have on desktop devices. And the manner in which people tend to consume content on mobile devices is heavily skewed towards four or five top apps which see regular use, and then almost no use for any others. 

Video: The Next Change

Over 75 per cent of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2020, according to a research study by Cisco. As video is intrinsically more data-heavy than most other forms of mass publishing, it really doesn't come as a surprise. 

The Media Briefing reported recently that the Online Video Forecasts claim that just over half (52.7 per cent) of all video will be consumed on mobile devices in 2016, while Ooyala's latest Global Video Index demonstrated that 46 per cent of all video plays in Q4 2015 were on mobile devices. 

That's partly because publishers are learning the ropes on how audiences typically consume video on mobile devices. First off, the vast majority is consumed on smartphones, on which vertical video is supposedly much more natural.

So, it's time you revisited your mobile strategy or chalked out a fresh one to ensure that you stay ahead of the curve, by engaging young and restless users, offering them value proposition along with relevant ads, and generating revenue out of it.

Are you ready to optimise your offerings and reach the next level of success? Set up a free 30-minute no-obligation call to discuss how KREATIO can boost your digital revenues.

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