It’s Time For Brands To Be Like Apple And Take A Massive Risk

It’s Time For Brands To Be Like Apple And Take A Massive Risk

Apple went sans headphone jack on the new iPhone 7, brands should take a similar risk with their digital strategy and focus on one thing, argues WME founder and Managing Director, Nick Bell.

Nick Bell
Posted by Nick Bell

Mobile first! How many times has the industry heard that phrase bandied about by the likes of Google? In 2017, it’s worth listening to. Not only are Google the gatekeepers, but statistics have increasingly moved in favour of mobile content consumption as well. Brands now need to follow the data trail to the consumer. So forget mobile first, this year it’s time for mobile only!

Here are the statistics according to Cisco. “Global mobile data traffic grew 63 per cent in 2016. Global mobile data traffic reached 7.2 exabytes per month at the end of 2016, up from 4.4 exabytes per month at the end of 2015. (One exabyte is equivalent to one billion gigabytes, and one thousand petabytes.)… Global mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold between 2016 and 2021. Mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47 per cent from 2016 to 2021, reaching 49.0 exabytes per month by 2021.

Cutting straight to the point is this article in the Telegraph UK, using Statcounter figures. “Statcounter, a research company that tracks internet use across 2.5m websites, said 51.3 per cent of pages were loaded on mobile devices in October, the first time they have surpassed desktop and laptop computers. This is up from less than 5 per cent in 2010 and less than 25 per cent three years ago. Smartphones accounted for 46.5 per cent of traffic, against 4.7 per cent for tablets.”

Game, set and match… except that Google has changed the game. It’s not just about being mobile optimised, it’s about being mobile optimised with AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages. An AMP has some important characteristics: they’re super-fast loading, their design will neatly fit most mobile canvases, and Google will now be favouring them on searchstat result pages.

Australia is not the first region to come to the AMP party, and that’s partly why we can be relatively certain of the value of making sure your mobile site is AMP-optimised. We first started seeing a lean towards AMP favoured mobile pages early last year in the UK. Now, there are 11 countries where more than half of the news results displayed are AMP-optimised. These countries include the UK, India and France, among others.

In India, 100 per cent of news results on Google are AMP-optimised. What this means is that your brand should (generally) be spending more time and money perfecting it and making sure the mobile site is AMP-optimised.

This is where the Apple comparison comes into play. Not every business has the time, money and resources to throw at perfecting a digital strategy across multiple touchpoints. In which case, do what Apple did and hedge your bets for 2017—concentrate solely on mobile and getting it right.

Focusing all your efforts on perfecting your mobile presence may be to the detriment of those who enter via desktop, but that is likely to be a much smaller per centage today and will put you ahead of the competition still focusing on desktop or working a dual focus. Let’s be clear, we are NOT saying kill your desktop site, but we are saying just let it mellow for a while so you can refocus on mobile this year.

Lack of USB ports certainly didn’t put people off purchasing a MacBook, and the absence of a headphone hack as not stymied sales of the iPhone 7. Will a digital strategy that sees all of your efforts this year put into mobile turn away massive amounts of customers? It’s not likely. Unlike those Apple devices, you will still have the desktop site, it just won’t be your primary focus.

According to ZenithOptimedia, global mobile advertising spend will grow 128 per cent by 2018 and will account for 92 per cent of all new advertising dollars. That equates to an additional $64 billion injected from 2016 to 2018.

What does mobile advertising have to do with anything if you’re a brand looking for reasons to put all of your effort into your mobile site rather than any other strategy? Because the dollars spent on digital by advertising agencies are done so with an enormous amount of data to back up decisions. If they are spending on mobile, you can bet there is a pretty good reason why they are doing it.

Just as you should bet that taking the risk on mobile only for 2017 will pay off.