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Why Mobile Is Content Marketing's Missing Link

It's crucial for content marketers to think about smartphones and tablets, as the average amount of video we watch on mobile devices is expected to jump by nine minutes this year.

Brands are investing in original content, but could they be overlooking the ideal channel for distributing it?
The solution to creating a branded content experience that delivers results could lie in a centralized mobile content marketing strategy. By integrating content channels and reaching all consumer touch points, brands can maintain open access to content assets, encourage ongoing engagement, and build affinity.

According to comScore, smartphones and tablets accounted for 60 percent of time spent with digital media last year. Apps represented the majority of digital media consumption activity - some seven out of every eight minutes - thus surpassing desktop usage and mobile web browsing. Consumers' existing reliance on apps for utility content creates a perfect opportunity to expand content offerings to further strengthens the customer-company bond.

Marla Schimke, vice president of Marketing with mobile content marketing company Zumobi, believes that many digital marketers aren't currently taking advantage of mobile for content marketing because they're unclear about what a mobile content strategy entails. "Mobile content marketing doesn't demand that brands create a whole new content stream," she says. "They can leverage existing channels and available resources."

Video a Must for Mobile

One place to start is with video. New research from eMarketer anticipates that the time U.S. consumers spend watching video on mobile devices will rise from 30 minutes per day in 2014 to 39 minutes this year. Desktop video viewing isn't expected to increase, but adults will be upping their mobile video consumption on both tablets and smartphones.

Marketers, therefore, should consider their options for distributing existing video content through mobile. We're said to be in the "golden era" of mobile video, but this statement doesn't apply to mobile video advertising alone as brands find ways to expand their video reach beyond Facebook and YouTube.

Last year, Zumobi created a mobile content hub for Bank of America that made the company's video content available to mobile consumers. The project centered on Bank of America's Express Your Thanks campaign, a corporate social good program coinciding with New York City-based Fleet Week.

The hub including streaming video content, social media, and original articles - content that Bank of America was posting online, but that was more readily accessible to consumers through the mobile app. Zumobi implemented social sharing to drive additional traffic, as well as to boost word of mouth. For every share its content received using the #troopthanks hashtag, Bank of America donated $1 to a nonprofit organization that supports returning veterans.

According to Zumobi, 93 percent of visitors to the mobile content hub watched a Bank of America branded video.

The Power of Personalization

Traditional marketers often struggle to gain consumers' trust, but Schimke says mobile content marketers have the upper hand due to their ability to deliver personalized content that, "if executed correctly utilizing the appropriate data, turns consumers into brand loyalists." Indeed, mobile technology is inherently effective at humanizing corporations through customized content.

The always-on nature of the medium allows brands to remain in near constant contact with potential customers - but only if they're able to encourage ongoing interaction with their apps. Past studies have shown that although 79 percent of mobile users who are apathetic toward a new app will give it a second try, just 16 percent will go back a third time.

Use those apps as a delivery mechanism for content that is useful and entertaining, however, and brands can up their interaction rates and foster a lasting relationship with their users. Mobile content needn't be short-form or snackable, either; as long as it has value, long-form content can engage as well. Nielsen found that "entertainment viewing," which encompasses video, audio, and games, has grown by 71 percent.

"As mobile consumption habits evolve, it's imperative that app developers continue to add functionality and robustness to their offerings," Monica Bannan, vice president of product leadership at Nielsen, said.

Measuring Mobile Content Success

Extending content marketing to mobile requires a close look at how brands should measure their success. Schimke says there are three main metrics by which brands should gauge the effectiveness of their mobile content strategy: in-app session times, purchase conversions, and returning app visitors. "Mobile content marketing aims to drive engagement by providing the consumer with highly personalized and relevant content," she said. Schimke adds that mobile content marketing technologies can incite consumers to visit brand apps "as a go-to source of information and entertainment throughout their day."

Have you taken your content mobile?

To learn more, check out the full article by Tessa Wegert here on ClickZ.