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B2B Mobile Marketing: the distant thunder grows louder

B2B mobile marketing: the problem

We’ve been spending a lot of time in Google Analytics lately thanks to Project Open Kimono (our ‘living case study’). On one lunchtime drill-down, we came across something that feels significant to all B2B marketers: visits to the Velocity website from mobile devices have started to appear on the radar screen:

Mobile web traffic to our B2B website

Last October: 32 visits from mobiles. This October: 175. They came from iPhones (100), iPads (53), Android devices (12), Blackberries (5) and iPods (5).

On October 19th, our peak mobile day so far, we had 16 visits from mobile users from a total of 234 visits – almost 7%.

There are two ways to respond to this little data flake:

1) This is tiny – A few hundred visits over the course of an entire month. A 446% increase but on a microscopic base.

2) This is huge – This is the thunder on the horizon. The storm that the mobile seers have been heralding for years (they’ve been foaming at the mouth since about 2003 but now they’re jumping up and down and emitting high-pitched squeals).

At the risk of emitting my own high-pitched noises, I’m in the ‘This is huge’ camp. Next year, if this number isn’t trebled I’ll eat my earbuds. Within a few years, we could well be seeing 30-50% of our web traffic coming from mobiles.

Think about that.

As a kind of thought experiment, make like the Old Spice guy.  Look at your website. Now look at your phone browser. Look back at your website. See where this is going?

It’s time to start thinking about how you present your company on mobile devices.  For the iPad and all the tablets on their way, you might be okay (though the 7-inch ones could present a challenge). But for anything smaller, you’re going to need a mobile version.

Here’s the catch
Mobile users don’t want the same things that desktop users want. They don’t want to download your eBooks. They don’t want to read your white paper.

Take a look at a couple of our goal conversions for those few mobile visits we got in October:

B2B mobile website conversions

If there was a caption for this, it would say ‘Nada’.

For desk-based visitors, we had 19 white paper sign-ups and 19 newsletter sign-ups in October (this doesn’t include our top downloads like the B2B Marketing Manifesto or the B2B Content Marketing Workbook). Not one from a mobile user.

Now go back to our thought experiment. What would you expect to happen to your website conversion rates if 30-50% of your traffic started coming from mobile devices?

Here’s another catch
The mobile web isn’t like the desktop web. It’s far more fragmented. For deskweb sites you only have to worry about a few browsers and platforms.  Design for Wintel and Mac and you’re sorted. Mobile has tens of thousands of permutations of devices, operating systems, firmware, software versions and screen sizes in active use at any one moment.

How do you deliver a great web experience for all of them? Answering this question  is above my pay grade but I can bet that it’s non-trivial. Some kind of device detection and content re-purposing will have to become standard practice for your web developers — but it isn’t now.

And we’re just talking about the mobile web here. Mobile apps will be equally important for many B2B marketers (have you counted the number of app stores already out there?).

Come the revolution
You can file this post under ‘Pains in the arse that I don’t have time to think about’ (if there’s room in the file cabinet) or you can get it on the table at your next marketing strategy or website development meeting.

For B2B marketers into Staus Quo, it’s just another a technical hassle.  For those who get turned on by change and high on learning curves, it’s quite a big opportunity.

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2 Responses to “B2B Mobile Marketing: the distant thunder grows louder”

  1. Fred Blönnigen

    Comment to Marketing manifesto

    Hi Stan,

    hope you are well. I took the time to go through the whole manifesto. To be honest, it was not too helpful despite two points, which we will try. Apparantly our conservative market ticks different than normal markets. I agree to your sentence about features, but this is already a well known fact you don’t sell features you sell benefits. But quit frankly, that is nothing new in marketing and benefits you could translate to WIIFM. One important point is to analyse the traffic on our webpage better. Here you are absolutely right, by looking for what people are looking for I can change my website to serve exactly these key words. Use the web search to do your product marketing. And if it is only for this one point than it was worthwhile reading your manifesto.

    Regards

    Fred

  2. Stan

    Fred

    Nice to hear from you. Your market is different from most in that it is super-technical and super-specialised, but we believe that that still puts a premium on getting the quality of your information right, both in terms of level and in terms of depth, from your audience’s perspective. The tools that are now available – mainly Google analytics and lead nurturing platforms – should be able to provide you with tremendous insight into the needs and gaps of your target audience, particularly since we’re talking about just a few hundred people rather than tens of thousands.

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