Do you understand the mind of the mobile consumer?

In a 2013 survey of more than 3,000 mobile users in North America and Europe, Adobe delved into the mind of the mobile consumer. Adobe asked questions that marketers and organizations want to know, and consumers answered: Which mobile devices do you use? How do you interact with websites and applications? What do you want most out of your mobile experiences? Consumers provided valuable insight into their mobile experiences in media, travel, finance, retail, and more.

In this blog, I will give you the bottom line, or five best practices that marketers can develop in order to delight mobile consumers. If you want to read the results of the survey, you can download a copy here.

5 Best Practices for Mobile Marketers

1 | Think like a Quarterback: Reduce the Number of “Plays” or Touch Events

In football, the fewer first downs necessary to score points, the better. If the quarterback can throw one great pass down the field or hand it off to the star running back for a touchdown, why not do it? The same practice applies in mobile. The quicker you can convert your consumer, the better. They don’t want to touch, pinch, drag, or swipe five times to get to the “end zone.” They want two, at most three, touches to make your app or site produce their desired outcomes. You need to think like Joe Montana (@JoeMontana), one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and design the mobile experience with the path of least resistance to achievement.” Convert your customers as quickly as possible before the other team gains possession of the ball and you lose the game.

2 | Think Like a Fighter Pilot: Optimize for Speed

In the classic Tom Cruise film, Top Gun, the main character utters those now-famous words: “I feel the need … the need for speed.” When you’re working with your mobile design team, remember to think like a fighter pilot: The faster your sites can load, the better experience you’ll create for mobile consumers. According to the Aberdeen Group, “even a 1-second delay in mobile page load time equals a 7% loss in conversion.” Mobile consumers are not the most patient demographic, so your mobile-optimized website or mobile app must be fast, streamlined, and efficient. Your experience must speedily adjust content size, resolution, and more based on your consumer’s mobile device.

3 | Think Like a Perpetual: Design for Mobile Interactions

As described in my previous post on perpetually connected consumers, the frequent use of both smartphones and tablets is part of everyday life for “perpetuals.” Instead of optimizing experiences for mouse clicks and keyboard controls, you need to design for touch interfaces. Your mobile design must enable consumers’ fingers to fly across the screen, swiping, touching, dragging, pinching, and zooming, ultimately transporting the consumer to their desired end. Think about men with large hands and ask yourself, will they be able to successfully access this touch point? Large, simple buttons and touch points such as large video play buttons are desirable over small, complicated ones. Today, many companies still deliver the PC website experience to perpetuals who use their tablets to browse the Web. Consequently, the opportunity to delight the consumer often produces the opposite effect, driving consumers away because their fingers cannot easily navigate the mouse-centric experience.

4 | Think Like a Detective: Make Content “Findability” Easy

We know that “mobile users have high intent,” which means they are routing to your app or website via their mobile device with a specific purpose, or intent, in mind. Do you know what it is? Well, if you listen to them, they will tell you. The mobile consumer will provide you with clues via digital behaviors. Typically, before they do anything on a mobile commerce site, consumers will use “search.” The takeaway for you is this: Mobile site search optimization is crucial. If you’re not already doing so, you should “use explicit navigational cues for easy browsing. Implement auto-suggest and auto-correct in search input boxes to address the difficulty of mobile typing. Provide the most compelling, relevant top-search results optimized for screen size and location.” Don’t force your consumers to be detectives and discover the correct path themselves. If the content is buried seven layers down, consumers will abandon your experience. Instead, you should play the detective, making their desired content findable and actionable.

5| Think Like a Scientist: Use Analytics from Day 1

The scientific method requires both measurement and data to confirm or disprove a hypothesis. You should think like a scientist and always require analytics for measurement of every mobile experience. The use of analytics will allow you to omit activities that do not improve your ROI while optimizing those that do. “Review your mobile sites and apps to ensure that analytics are in place to effectively measure success. Direct measurement of visitor behavior is important to understanding the effectiveness and ROI of mobile channels.” At a minimum, it is imperative for your organization to acquire insights about device platforms and user engagement specific to your consumers. This cannot be achieved without the deployment of analytics as part of each mobile app, website, or campaign.

Mobile Marketers: Your Expanded Job Description

As if the era of mobile marketing hasn’t expanded your job description enough, I’m now suggesting that you add the skills of a quarterback, fighter pilot, perpetual, detective, and scientist to the list. By expanding how you think about mobile, you will create experiences that improve how consumers engage with your digital brand and optimize business results from your mobile customers. Next week we’ll continue looking into the minds of the mobile consumer for points to keep them highly engaged and coming back for more.