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Content Strategy for Mobile by Karen McGrane

Posted: September 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Book Summaries, Mobile | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Content Strategy for Mobile by Karen McGrane

Facing the question if it is compulsory to get a web content on mobile, Karen McGrane answers in her book “Content Strategy for Mobile” with another question: “Do you have a website? Then you need to get your content onto mobile devices”.

Some figures to grasp the importance of mobile in three important scenarios:

  • Advertising: according to data released by Google, 86% of smartphones owners use their phone while watching television; 71% of smartphone users say they’ve searched for more information on their mobile device after seeing an ad on TV, in print, or online. Conclusion: don’t waste money on advertising if you don’t have a mobile website to back it up.
  • Retailing: according to a survey conducted by Leo J. Shapiro and Associates, 66% of smartphone owners in USA say they use their phones to “pre-shop” stores, compare prices, look up product features, and customer reviews before deciding to transact.
  • Publishing: according to Readability’s figures, users are even more engaged in reading on their mobile devices than on the desktop. In March and April 2012 the average time readers spent on the mobilized article view was even longer than the time people spent reading on both the desktop and on tablets.

For the author it is evident users want more than just transactional capabilities and location-based services: they want information. It’s fine to optimize the mobile experience for the most common tasks. But that doesn’t mean we should exclude valuable content.

The mobile device is the Internet for many people: China has now more mobile internet users than there are people in the United States. As more and more people acquire smartphones, many people who don’t currently have access to the Internet will suddenly have it in the palm of their hands. A growing number of people who cannot afford to pay for both mobile phone and broadband Internet access pick on device: the smartphone.

Our content strategy for mobile, according to McGrane, should not be to develop a satellite to our desktop site, showing only the subset of content we’ve decided a mobile user will need. We have to get all our content onto mobile devices. We should aim for content parity between our desktop and our mobile experiences -maybe not exactly the same content presented in the same way, but essentially the same experience.

The risk of developing a separate mobile website is that we’ll wind up maintaining duplicate content in multiple places. If we fork our website into separate mobile and desktop versions, then we’re stuck updating both every time there’s a change. From the author’s perspective, the future is adaptive content: content that is flexible, so it can adapt to different screen sizes, and can be presented in diferent formats as appropriate for the device. Adaptive content has structure and metadata attached to it, which helps it figure out what to do when it winds up on all those different platforms and devices.

Mobile gives us an opportunity to review our content within some tight constraints, explains the author. Mobile forces us to prioritize.

Nonetheless developing a content strategy for mobile won’t work if all we look at is our content. We have to change our people and processes too and all change requires leadership and the mobile leaders should be able to:

  • Evangelize and promote why mobile is important to executives and business owners.
  • Conduct product research and analyze data about how your customers use mobile now and in the future.
  • Assemble cross-functional teams to tackle problems in mobile content delivery.
  • Assign budget for investing in new mobile initiatives.
  • Break through inter-departmental conflicts in terms of who “gets credit” for mobile success or failure.

Just one last relevant thought exposed by the author to conclude: our website or mobile structure should not map to our org chart or our internal processes, it should map to how users think about their tasks and goals.

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