m-commerce: mobile apps or mobile web?.

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It’s a question that’s been around as long as there have been mobile apps and mobile web – about 10 years (not including the calculator you got on your first Java based phone!).

Lots of clients ask us this question and we have delivered both simply because there is no right answer to this. Take a look at the latest statistics, more and more consumers will browse mobile sites rather than use brand specific apps but, based on the top UK ecommerce sites, consumer conversion rates are higher on brand apps than on brand websites[1]. However, we predict that this trend will change and conversion on mobile sites will rise above those seen historically on apps. This is a pattern we can already see with some high street retailers.

What we do know from research and from our own client base is that mobile web experiences need to be sharper as sessions are generally shorter and so the customer needs to be focused on the conversion sooner. There are a myriad of different reasons as to consumer device choices based on their location, context (home, work or other) and what’s available to them, what’s important is that this is all recognised and the customer experience is tailored accordingly.

Key areas of concern for mobile web users are the payment pages – many ecommerce stores take their customers to third party payment gateways (e.g. SecureTrading, PayPal, Sagepay or Worldpay) and, surprisingly, a number of these are not optimised for mobile. Consequently, customers fall at the last hurdle. This is one area where mobile apps can out perform their web counterparts as payment is integrated into the app experience.

Interestingly, according to Google’s own insight service, physical barriers to mobile commerce (or m-commerce) account for fewer failed transactions. So things like small screen size, low battery or dodgy reception are not as big a problem as poor mobile product information or poorly optimised payment experiences[2].

In summary then, brands need to ensure that their mobile apps and mobile web experiences are on a par as both have a place. Apps area great for brands with high levels of loyalty and the budgets to invest in remarkable user experiences from first search to payment confirmation. Mobile websites are still the most cost effective way for brands to enter m-commerce and are certainly in the ascendancy but more care and attention must be paid to ensure that your mobile experience is designed for mobile conversion.

[1] Marketingweek.com – 14th May 2014
[2] Think.withgoogle.com – UK data for 2013

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.


Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

Nick Towers
Nick Towers
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
Co-Founder, CEO and self-confessed massive geek, Nick has been in digital since graduating from law and moving into technology many years ago. Through a combination of building awesome client relationships, crafting a formidable team of digital experts and consistently delivering results for our clients Nick has taken Sagittarius from being a successful small agency to the global digital customer experience consultancy and Sitecore powerhouse that it is today.
Nick Towers

Nick Towers

08 Jul 2014 - 5 minute read
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