4 Mobile Marketing Strategies that would actually work in 2017

Year 2015, was perhaps the most important year in the mobile marketing industry, an year when mobile devices officially ended the 2 decade long dominance by desktops.

People around the globe settled down to a new “mobile way of life”.

Mobile is primary digital device for all demography segments

Source: BCG Center

Data from BCG study calling out loud and clear, that mobile devices are the primary digital device of all age and demography segments.

Over 53% of tier 1,2 & 3 use mobile as their primary device.

Google also acknowledged this fact in one of their PR releases pertaining to mobile vs desktop searches. Google’s search chief Amit Singhal said for the first time, more Google searches were completed on mobile devices than desktop computers.

All of this point us (the advertisers and marketers) in one single direction. We can, no longer continue to ignore mobile as a key channel in the marketing mix. However, there are several challenges (especially for the small & medium advertisers) when it comes to using Mobile effectively as a marketing channel.

Here are few mobile marketing tactics which are most logical and almost hygiene to make your digital marketing work in 2016.

#1 Mobile Marketing is most Social than ever before

Mobile vs Social Media in 2016

Source: WARC Asial Survey, 2015

77% of the marketers (also identified as one of the 2016 digital marketing trend in my previous blog post) said that mobile is used most frequently with paid social media marketing.

This data is also in sync with the the below numbers shared by Facebook Audience Insights, which says 122 Mn out of 132 Mn people access Facebook through  Mobile.

Facebook India Audience Data 2015-16

Facebook India Audience Data 2015-16

Clearly, this shows that your social strategy should go through a “Mobile First” prism in 2016. What that means really is when you design your social content or when you create your paid social marketing plan, do skew it more towards mobile audience.

#2 Mobile Marketing is more about native content and less about advertising

Mobile Content vs Mobile Advertising - Trends 2016

Source: WARC-MMA Survey Report, 2015

The current trend might be in favour (almost tilted) of paid social advertising as the key mobile tactic, but this will change soon and the trend is already visible. According to the WARC-MMA survey, mobile display advertising would lose its share by 2020 to Mobile Content (or native advertising).

Also Read : Reasons Why Mobile Native Advertising Beats Desktop Native Advertising 

Apple has already allowed ad blocker apps to run on its safari browser.  Though iPhone’s overall market share is limited, but this would still cause significance dent in the overall mobile display pie.

#3 Give your website a “Mobile First” makeover

Regardless of the type or stage of the brand, having a unique mobile first experience is something which would become a de-facto standard from here-on.

More so after the Mobilegedden update by Google.

In order to take better decision on your mobile first approach, also read “Mobile Web vs Mobile App

Responsive website might be thing of the past for many digital first brands in 2016 as they continue to chase and build deeper consumer experience using Mobile First Strategies.

#4 In-App would grow but Mobile Searches would remain the key performing channel

With the growing popularity of mobile apps, to which a lot of digital pundits would say it offers a superior user experience than conventional websites, start-ups tilted (almost shifted) their product and business models towards the app at the expense of desktop and mobile websites.

To add to this, many investors regarded the number of app downloads as one of the indicators of a start-up’s performance. Entrepreneurs and marketing heads rushed to blindly maximise their app downloads. Since then, tonnes of app marketing companies opened shop in Bangalore and Mumbai.

Soon, however, it was evident that they didn’t necessarily result in high growth.

Now, as apps lose their novelty and vanity both, and as smartphone users uninstall apps to clear up memory (uninstall rates are as high as 90% in some cases), these companies are revisiting their mobile web strategies.

The winner? Google, which retains its dominance of online ad spending.

Hence, digital brands should get a sharp focus on getting their mobile keywords strategy in 2016. Yes, there is a difference of “intent & location relevance” in the audience search list.

Google adds forecasting to its Adwords display planner

In a Google+ post, the AdWords team announced the update to AdWords Display Planner, writing the enhancements now help “forecast how many clicks and impressions are available in your bid and budget range — based on current auction data.

The estimates rely on current auction data and show projections over time. The Display Planner will also show how much of the budget entered is likely to be spent with the placements selected.

For those who use Adwords frequently, to see this forecast data, select “Get performance forecasts for your targeting” from the Display Planner start page.

The Google Smart Goals program allows marketers to define AdWords conversions and then optimise campaigns based on that data.

In a separate blog post, Google software engineer Abishek Sethi and product manager Joan Arensman wrote,

To generate Smart Goals, we apply machine learning across thousands of websites that use Google Analytics and have opted in to share anonymised conversion data. From this information, we can distill dozens of key factors that correlate with likelihood to convert: things like session duration, pages per session, location, device and browser.

A great news for everyone in the digital media planning fraternity as this will help you plan campaigns better by providing a clearer picture of the performance you can expect.

How to allocate funds for digital marketing?

Budgeting for digital marketing is a mystery for most clients.

In my experience, 2 out of 3 clients have asked me to recommend budgets for content marketing and digital media planning.

Is there a science to figure out the right media mix?

Lets go a little deeper to understand this problem.

A marketing plan is a detailed roadmap that outlines your marketing strategies, tactics, costs and projected results over a period of time.

Your marketing plan and budget keep your entire team focused on specific goals – it’s a critical resource for your entire company.

Frankly, nobody knows how much is too much for Digital and why?

Though, it is slightly easier for organisations whose DNA is 100% grounded into digital like e-commerce, gaming, music or other content apps etc.

But even for them, prioritising their budgets towards various channels is still difficult. 

I’ve consulted numerous startups at different stages of their business, marketing spend optimisation is as important as conversion optimisation. 

Here’s how one should go about budget allocation in digital marketing. 



The first question marketers have to answer is how much they should spend in creating their digital assets and how much they need to distribute it.

Trust me, it is not as easy question as we think it is.

Key to this question lies in the understanding of digital metrics at different stages of customer journey.

  • What are we really chasing? (Brand Awareness / Brand Recall / Conversation Share / Leads / eCommerce sales etc.) For e.g. How much you should spend on content creation if your objective is sales?
  • What are your industry specific trends? ( for e.g, according to a Cisco report, B2B companies have rated video content in the top 3 most effective digital tactic for lead generation )
  • What are the general paid and organic benchmarks for Search & Social?

Allocating BUDGETs by Audience


People think the beauty of digital marketing is audience targeting.


The real beauty is the power of data analytics which helps you understanding your audience preferences in finer details.

Different data types in analytics helps you uncover various aspects of audience behaviour.

Also Read : Understanding types of data sets in marketing

It is very important to start understanding your audience reports in web /app analytics. 

Your site analytics could tell you a lot about your future customer and how you need to reach out.

By comparing sources such as paid campaigns, organic traffic and social media channels, you can apply the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule.

You are going to find out what sources generate the majority of sales to later tune up your budget allocation.

Use the Pareto Principle and identify the top 20 percent of your traffic sources that generate 80 percent of good results. Focus your budget on that.

Also read : 80-20 rule of sales – How to find your best customers 

A/B TestING, Scale up and Repeat


One of the most important thing I’ve learnt in my digital career is to learn the art of creating successful pilot test campaigns.

It is vital for your to create certain hypothesis KPIs and key assumptions about your business audience which you would want to test through your pilot campaign.

For instance, if any third-party reports are saying that your target audience is actively engaging through social media and searching less on search engines, you should create a separate social led campaign to test the hypothesis.

Once you have your results, try re-verify them, but this time with slightly higher budget.

Now repeat this to your strategic benefit as it would give you enough confidence as marketer where you can keep on increasing your budgets in social media as a channel and optimise your business returns.

Create your own Digital Strategy Template


While allocating digital marketing budget for your brand or startup, it is critical to follow your industry best practices but at some point you must try to find some key insights about your actual audience.

A lot of times, you would realise that the actual buying audience is very different from the target group you are chasing for a long time in your media plans.

If you act fast enough, you can optimise the channel budgets in real-time which can boost your overall performance and drive efficiencies. 

Also Read : How to create your digital strategy template? 

Budget Allocation should be fluidic


A lot of enterprise companies allocate funds annually for marketing, but digital marketing usually requires more maintenance, with quarterly or monthly allocation adjustments.

High volume, automated buying in channels like paid search or paid social should be analysed for performance and landscape fluctuations, with budget allocations being adjusted accordingly.

70:20:10 Rule of Digital Media Planning


Frankly speaking, nobody can actually guesstimate the budget amount,  but new predictive modelling technologies have emerged to help CMOs forecast media performance to better allocate budgets.

If you are a nimble startup or a small business, consider the 70/20/10 rule as a good starting point.

  • 70% of the budget be allocated to “tried and tested” channels (like Search, Social Media & Email)
  • 20% to “safe bets” (newer channels like Mobile Marketing & Native Ads, that seem promising, even if they haven’t proven themselves just yet),
  • 10% allocated to “experimental” (cutting edge, unique opportunities like “Big Data” which might provide a big payoff).

How to make your social media marketing effective?

Most of the digital strategists, who’ve read this post by Brian Bolard,  stopped asking this question, why social media posts on the brand pages gets so little number of likes and comments organically?

The social media world has converged to one and only one thing ” More Money = More Reach = More Engagement ”

What about More customers?

Last I checked, marketing was all about gaining newer customers (loyalty?? What’s that?).

I am sure, for most of you (especially if you are a client who has spent a lot of money in acquiring those fans), the bugging question is “why did those people liked your page in first place?”

As a digital practitioner, I’ve made some personal observations (more of a point of view really) about social media and digital.

One of the observations was around the utilisation of social media platforms as an advertising medium.

Fundamentally, social space was not supposed to be intruded by ads. One of the reasons, as to why Twitter didn’t started monetisation of their platform for a long time. (Read : Is data mining the future of twitter’s monetisation strategy?)

The reality is that nobody likes ads in social media. Or let me put it even more bluntly.

People do not join Facebook to like BRAND PAGES!

They join to connect, converse & stay engaged with the “people” in “their lives”. Brand pages or businesses are an aberration if they are not relevant to the environment.

Also Read: Here’s why you should stop worrying about your Facebook page likes

Lets deep dive a little more into this.


Social Media Fans vs Customer?

If I put this question to top Fortune 500 Companies CMO’s, whether they are looking for more fans or more customers from their social media pages, I am sure, just like anyone else, they would take few moments to understand the difference.

What’s the difference between these words?

Turns out it’s not just a difference of definitions, but also of mindset and therefore, changes your entire social media strategy.

When you think of the word “customer,” you envision someone, cash in hand, ready to buy your product. If you take it one step further and think of a loyal customer, then it’s someone who repeatedly buys from you and perhaps even refers your business.

Scott Ginsberg of the Womma blog defines them so:

“A customer is someone who comes to a store to buy a lamp and never comes back. Fans crave experiences unlike any others.”

The word customer originated in the 1540s and meant “a person with whom one has dealings.”

The word fan originated much later in 1889. It meant “devotee” or “ardent admirer” and was primarily used to describe baseball enthusiasts and as a short form of fanatic.

Since first being used in a sports connotation, the word fan has now expanded to encompass many other industries. Musicians have fans. Movie stars have fans. And today, thanks to the Facebook lexicon, businesses have fans too.

Finding Real Social Media Fans For Your Brand

In 2008, former Wired magazine editor Kevin Kelly wrote an insightful and very popular blog post called “1,000 True Fans.”

Copyblogger goes on to further extrapolate on this concept and discusses 20 steps to finding your true fans by teaching and promoting your knowledge.

Clearly, they are also pointing you in one direction, creating valuable information in a smart package which builds context, connect and relevance with your audience.

Content Marketing is no more ‘just’ the King, it is the entire kingdom

Clearly, the rise of social media platform is not because people are consuming more advertising, but because they are consuming more content.

Imagine it like a coffee shop. Those who love to drink coffee often have their favourite cafes or go-to joints.

They frequently visit a chosen venue because it’s a great place to hang out.

A lot of them even know the owners of the place and other frequent visitors, who, like them, regularly drop in to socialise.

But without the rich aromas and great tasting coffee that the place serve, would they still go there if there was nothing to drink?

Social media marketing is pretty much like that coffee shop, so long as you (brand) would keep serving your audience real and meaningful content (coffee) , you’ve got a great hangout place for your audience. 

But more often than not, brands tend to focus on securing their presence in the race to catch up with competitors. They get the coffee shop in the form of a Facebook, Twitter or YouTube presence, but forget what they’re serving (advertising).

Is your Brand actually ready for Mobile?

It is no rocket science to say that in the last one decade, technology has changed a lot of things around us and in effect about us. With mobile (or mobility) being the most critical catalyst in this ultra sonic evolutionary shift in human behavior, there are few aspects of this evolution worth talking about.

First, Mobile, which was an object of desire till a decade ago, suddenly became the oxygen for the entire human race which continues to find ways (in the form of apps) to increase their dependency on it.

Today, from the most trivial and mundane tasks to the most advanced events are initiated, controlled & monitored by mobile devices.

Having said that, instead of restricting, the 4.5 inch (and now continuously increasing) screen size has opened the imagination of millions around the globe. Thanks to Apple iOS & Google Android who allowed the age old graphic designers to re-invent themselves into a UI/UX specialist.

App developers added more fuel to this fire by making the most of various possibilities offered by Android & iOS platforms and flooding the app stores with millions of apps.

In a world, where people’s life depending so much on connectivity and mobility, how can Advertising be left behind? But unfortunately, the ad world did not evaluated the applicability, marketing viability and other connected pros and cons of the medium before starting to weave advertising around it. After all, the ever increasing number of mobile devices were adding more “premium” eye balls to their excel sheets (in effect more marketing dollars) at a never seen before pace in the advertising history.

However, it is logical to follow the eye balls, the ground work was missing before going bullish on the advertising part. In many ways, mobile has not gone through a proper curve of evolution, purely from Advertising standpoint. There were too many things happening in too little time duration in the name of innovation. Advertisers were only listening to newer terminology in every Adtech or Digital Media seminar which was making it increasingly difficult to define any strategy for the short term.

On one side App developer and advertising community were pushing the OEMs to increase screen sizes of their devices, due to which 5.5-6 inch phablets are now on their way to become a de-facto in the smartphone world.

There was little change from an audience experience standpoint which becomes the party spoiler in Mobile Advertising.

Brands are not responsive to Responsive Web

#Mobilegeddon - Google goes strict on experience on mobile browsers

In its last major search algorithmic change aka “Mobilegeddon”, Google made it absolutely crystal clear that they are serious about delivering great reader experience on the mobile browsers. The change was more of a warning to brands and corporates who’ve not spent enough energies in making their websites responsive.  (Read : Google will punish you if you don’t have a mobile website )

To check if your website is mobile responsive, visit Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool.

Akamai report on responsive web

In a post outlining his research, Akamai’s Guy Podjarny presented the information that Barry expressed hope about getting from Google. Akamai’s figures showed that just 18.7% of a list of 10,000 top-tier web sites is responsive. The percentage decreases in proportion to the traffic the site gets.

When it comes to the top 100 sites analysed, only 11.8% of these sites use responsive web design.


Brian Klais of Pure Oxygen Labs did a similar analysis in 2013 with the Fortune 100, and found that only 11% of them are responsive. That number has likely increased in two years, given the rate at which webmaster have been adopting responsive web design.

Although adoption in practice isn’t nearly as high as Google’s unscientific survey would suggest, responsive sites are growing quickly, to the point where they are now catching up with separate URLs as the dominant mobile site configuration method.

site type on mobile

Sites with separate URLs for mobile and desktop (“Mdot”) were found 21% of the time in Akamai’s study, and responsive web design (“RWD”) was right behind with 17% of the total. A specific breakdown of dynamic serving and not-mobile-optimized wasn’t provided — together they with totalled 62%.

Despite such strict measures by Google in their webmaster algorithm, the ratio of Responsive Websites have not gone up significantly.

Clearly, using mobile advertising in your marketing mix is not a viable option till you are delivering 100% responsive experience on your brand’s landing page / corporate website.

4 Digital Marketing sins in the Real Estate

According to an ASSOCHAM survey:

Real estate firms throughout India spend about Rs 2,500 crore annually on publicity across different media and digital marketing accounts for about 25 per cent with a share of about Rs 625 crore.

According to www.emarketer.com, overall online ad spend is projected to steadily increase year over year:

  • 2013- $42.5B
  • 2014- $47.8B
  • 2015- $51.9B
  • 2016- $55.2B

If the real estate industry simply maintains its current share of overall online spending, using www.emarketer.com data as a baseline, the relative yearly spends would equate to:

  • 2013- $15B  +9.7% Year over Year (YoY) growth
  • 2014- $16.7B  +19.2% YoY
  • 2015- $18.1B  +8.3% YoY
  • 2016- $19.3B  +6.6% YoY


With a series of new startup companies like Housing.com and Commonfloor entering the space, real estate has suddenly made a grand comeback to the digital marketing. Naturally, with the kind of VC cash at their disposal, these startups are all set to disrupt the space pretty fast. It could well be a comeback for the Real Estate vertical to the digital marketing mainstream.

Frankly speaking, real estate is a funny space in India. As a digital marketer, you can only do so much and there are much bigger factors at play throughout customer’s purchase funnel. It would be fair to say that property guys never really got a complete hang of the digital space.

For a long period of time, most of the real estate people thought that Google is only way they could generate leads and hence, they splurged thousands of rupees in getting their website’s SEO. Even today, getting your real estate project’s website with strong SEO is considered to be a huge priority item for every builder.

As quoted by Indian origin Pritesh Patel, a real estate marketing consultant in UK:

There used to be a time when Google would release a major update to it’s algorithm twice a year. Now it’s like almost every month. There used to be a time when you could pay someone, or an agency, who would build you 50 links per month, regardless of where those links are placed and there are thousands of such SEO and web design companies across the country.

After their recent algorithm changes, Google released a Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines against poor SEO practices. All those marketers who were earlier using link building strategies through paid sources lost their page rank significantly.

The REAL Trends 2013 Online Performance Study reveals some shocking statistics around how the greater real estate industry effectively throws its online advertising budgets to the wind.

Considering that:

  • 90% of consumers did online research before they bought their last home
  • 45% of consumers expect an initial response from an online inquiry within 15 minutes
  • 56% of consumers expect a response from their agent within 30 minutes
  • 89% of consumers said response time was very important when choosing their agent
  • 45% of inquiries on real estate websites never receive a response.

Billions of dollars of real estate marketing money is getting wasted on digital marketing products and services.

Here are some of the most commonly committed sins by real estate companies in digital marketing:

1 Million Facebook Likes Syndrome

Concept of generating likes for your Facebook page has become the latest fad for all real estate marketing teams. Almost as if it is a Bollywood box office release which is aiming for a 100 cr box office collections on the opening weekend. Feeding property updates to your thousands of ‘friends’ on Facebook, even those that live thousands of miles away is clearly a waste of precious marketing dollars. ( Also read : Why you should not worry about Facebook page likes )

Email Nuisance

I can already foresee a time when people would stop using emails because of so much spam hitting their inboxes. Unfortunately, Real Estate industry does not understand the meaning of data segmentation or personalisation. All they know is to blast emailing your entire database just to stay ‘top of mind’ or Tweeting incessantly because, you know, the first place people go to when they think of buying a house is Twitter.

Making 100 project websites

Often I’ve seen real estate companies creating 100’s of domains and sub domains (often one for each project), in order to generate visibility for these projects and garner more number of eyeballs for their brand. I believe it is a poor strategy as you are spending money every time you launch a project. Instead focus on building a strong brand name and keep adding success stories under your belt.

Lead generation is Dead!

A lot of you might be thinking that I am going mad. But trust me, you’ve read the heading correctly.

But how can I even think of doing marketing without lead generation? You can’t, but read the above heading again, what I am saying is that Lead Generation is dead, but Demand Generation is now in.

I’ve seen how madly real estate companies are generating leads to sell their properties. Incidentally, generating hundreds of leads is no good enough. The decision to buy a house takes much longer than what it used to 5 years ago. You are not just supposed to generate a lead but actively see it through till the end. Generating hundreds of leads which are not followed or not managed is a waste of precious money.

Digital Strategy Template – for startups & small business


Building a Digital Strategy Template, is on the wish list of almost each and every individual in the digital advertising business, every tech entrepreneur, existing startups or marketing communication teams in corporates.

But can we really create a generic strategy template? Lets find out.

People in the traditional advertising would definitely know about the role of a “strategic planner“. They are the genius brains (inside every advertising agency) who create the “brand story”, who add their midas touch by wearing a strategic hat and making sure that each and every part of the brand messaging goes through a quality prism.

The problem is, there was no such concept of a “Digital Strategy Planner” for a very long time. Fundamentally, planning & strategy in the online space was restricted to “Media Planning”. The ad agencies & the marketing team never really thought about “digital strategy” from an integrated customer outreach standpoint. It was more of a “media oriented approach” where the only objective was to optimize cost per user acquisition.

Unfortunately, social media ended this madness but added some new madness of its own. With Facebook & Twitter taking over the digital world like a storm, conventional media publishing models got massively disrupted. Audience started discovering new content on the social platforms and as a result, a lot of small publishers had to shut down their operations as bulk of the marketing spends started to move into social platforms because client’s objective shifted from just acquisition to engagement.

The Need

As a digital marketing consultant, I’ve heard this from so many aspired entrepreneurs in different startups meets, there is no single approach using which they can prepare their digital strategy to promote their SAAS product or to increase their app downloads or prepare a basic customer acquisition plan while they are bootstrapping it.

A lot of startup marketing teams see “Digital Strategy” in silos and not as an integrated marketing approach which is critical to build a consistent communication & brand experience across all audience touch points.

Who can use this document?

  • Early stage – Mid Stage startups
  • B2B Marketing Teams
  • Digital Ad Agencies
  • Digital Marketing Managers
  • App Developers

In this presentation, I’ve tried to cover very practical approach on how to break down your digital strategy process into stages that cuts across identifying & segmenting your target audience, choosing the right digital marketing channels and creating the marketing metrics to track your performance.