The reports sound like part of a science fiction movie. Mobile phones will outnumber people any day now. Smart phone owners are always within an arm's reach of their phones. Over one billion people are accessing the web from smart phones at any given time. A man in Los Angeles even briefly dated his iPhone operating system – wait, that one was a movie. The point is that there are now more people using mobile phones for more purposes than ever before and tech-savvy companies are taking note.
Content on the Go
Following the lead of Facebook’s mobile news app, Facebook Paper, the New York Times scheduled the release of a mobile app of its own, NYT Now. Clifford Levy, the two-time Pulitzer prize winning reporter now tasked with managing the NYT Now, told Mashable that the Times sees the app as a “mini-newsroom for mobile.”
The need for a mobile-centric app became apparent when the Times noticed a 65% spike in mobile traffic during periods of breaking news. NYT Now intends to provide users with a curated stream of content, presented in a feed of large photos, eye-catching headlines, and brief summaries of the original stories.
The Tribune is also going mobile with its free Newsbeat app, which reads a “playlist” of selected articles. The app features a library of about 7,000 different articles daily.
The news media isn't the only one experiencing the mobile boom. Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon are both building mobile apps to serve as micro-networks. Each will include constantly updating bits of 15-second videos, games, and connections to social media.
With the majority of mobile users getting their news on Facebook and Twitter, short and sweet proves the most successful strategy in content creation. To make a long story short – let’s practice what we preach here – mobile users want to consume content while multitasking.
The trick to catching mobile readers’ attention, according to Adam Rich, Co-Founder of Thrillist Media Group, is to be a little vague. The most successful pieces of content follow headlines that are initially attention grabbing, but still leave something to be uncovered “after the click.”
Some examples of clickable headlines are:
“The Most Awkward Public Marriage Proposal You’ll See Today” – Buzzfeed.com
“Do You Really Need Deodorant?” – Men’s Health
What Mobile Means for Brands
For brands, the popularity of mobile doesn't just mean more clickable headlines and custom apps. It also means increased opportunities for advertising. To compete in a mobile world, brands should consider native advertising on popular social news and entertainment sites. These sites host both original and sponsored content, allowing brands to disguise their ads as pieces of clickable, share-worthy entertainment.
The effectiveness of native advertising is simple. A traditional advertisement for cat food is unlikely to be the hottest item on a Facebook feed. When Purina sponsored a funny cat video on the popular social news site, Buzzfeed, on the other hand, the ad went viral.
Native ads work well by creating an enjoyable user experience. When paired with clickable headlines and share-worthy content, these ads reach a more diverse audience and create more opportunities for brands to thrive in today’s mobile world.
Have you seen any interesting mobile strategies? Let us know in the comments or send us a tweet at @Sparkloft.
FlickR Photo Credit: tiagonicastro