Would you send out 1 million direct mail pieces if you knew 37% of them wouldn’t fit in consumers’ mailboxes? Of course not — but this is exactly what many publishers and businesses do when their websites don’t display well on iPhones or tablets. With 37% of all U.S. consumer digital time now spent on smartphones or tablets, companies are waking up to the need for responsive design.
Responsive design is a solution that reflows your web content based on the size of the viewing screen. If a consumer visits Acme.com via Google Chrome, detailed information fits across the wide browser window. But if she is on an iPhone, the content modularly reflows to render on the much-smaller screen. The first “crunch” faced by businesses or publishers is to wake up to how important responsive design is in this new world where people are using smaller web windows. (For a glaring example, boot up your smartphone browser, visit www.nytimes.com, and try to read an article.)
Jack Marshall over at Digiday notes a second looming crunch. Even if sites are redesigned for mobile, digital ad units don’t fit well into that newer, smaller space. Jack notes, “responsive design is a no-brainer on the surface. Publishers get their content automatically arranged based on the screen viewed … (but) it’s often difficult to serve appropriate ads to specific devices.” While some units like the boxy 300 x 250 digital ads can squeeze into tiny mobile screens, wide leaderboards and other common IAB ad units won’t.
The third crunch is one faced by businesses that focus on direct response: Lead forms. Much of online marketing drives users to click to landing pages that hope to get you to “convert” to a potential business transaction, often by filling out an initial lead form. Insurance companies, solar firms, and Barack Obama all hungrily ask consumers for their name, emails and addresses, for future remarketing. Lead forms don’t fit well on tiny screens, and mobile doesn’t support typing into boxes well, either.
So there it is: First, your digital content may not fit on mobile. Second, if you rely on advertising, banners won’t fit either. And third, if you hope to identify your mobile visitors, good luck having them fill out a form. With comScore reporting 10% of all consumer media time is now spent on mobile, perhaps you should set up a meeting to figure all of this out.
Image: Patrick Hoesly