In the good old days of online marketing there was a screen size you designed for and that was that. Your website always worked and always looked good but things started to change rapidly. First there were multiple resolutions to cater for: 800 x 600 became 1024 x 768. The internet then went mobile and ‘mobi’ websites become the buzzword of the day. The tablet is fast becoming the new mobile defacto standard. Marketers, therefore, have had to adjust and figure out how best to present themselves across multiple platforms.
Why is multiplatform marketing critical?
This is the latest challenge that marketers need to familarise themselves with and it is not one which is going to go away. When looking at your Google Analytics report, you will be able to make an educated decision as to which platforms you need to focus your development attention around. You will further be able to figure out how your ideal audience mix is accessing your site.
If your ideal target market is not in an upper Living Standards Measure (LSM) then I would suggest not making your site perfectly designed for tablets and smartphones. Rather, focus your attention on a simple and functional site that works on PC as well as USSD or WAP enabled cellphones.
There is further evidence in this infographic from iStrategy, even though it is from 2 years ago, that mobile device usage contributes to overall internet usage. 46 percent of respondents accessed the internet via both their mobile and PC while 25 percent used their mobile device exclusively.
The interesting part is the type of information that is being consumed on mobile devices: 48.7 percent was news and sports info, 20.21 percent was for social networking, 11.94 percent was entertainment news. The first business related usage number comes in a paltry 7.13 percent with the users trading stocks and conducting financial transactions on their mobiles.
For businesses where there is a large diversity in the operating systems and devices accessing the site then it is critical that these different operating systems are catered for in the initial design.
Using a site like MobiReady will help you understand how your site is displayed on different mobile devices. It even goes so far as to give you a clear list of the areas of your site that will not render well and why.
When designing for each platform, it is vital to understand the differences between the major devices that you want to develop for. The simplest example to use here is that of Flash. iPads cannot render Flash while the Android platform on the Galaxy Tab, for instance, can. This means that even they both a 10.1 inch screen; the user experience is going to be vastly different if you are slapping the same site to run to both devices.
Complicating the design process on tablets (as well as smart phones) is the user’s ability to render the screen as either a landscape of a portrait on them.
Where is the real difference in mobile?
The real difference comes not when you are just marketing your business across each of these mobile platforms (which is phase 1) but rather when you are able to convert your business to being mobile. The mobility and ease of use that a tablets and smart phones inherently have hard wired in to them, mean that your business is potentially able to give your customers access to the various touch points of your business through their mobile devices whenever they need it.
This is the real power of being mobile and changing your business from being customer-focused to customer-centric.