As consumers take annual leave, go on holiday, and spend more time outside, summer presents its own opportunities for marketers and brands to take advantage of. Figaro Digital spoke to three knowledgeable agencies to hear their tips on keeping your digital presence in tip-top condition during the summer.
Mobile-Friendliness Is The Key
During the summer months, smartphone usage spikes and mobile searches increase, as users swap their computers for their mobile devices when venturing out into the sun or jetting off on holiday. What effect does this behaviour have on the online presence of brands? Huan Song, Content Project Manager at The Cogworks, explains how to investigate this: “A website must suit the needs of its users. As mobile usage exceeds desktop, making a website mobile-friendly should be the priority. If a brand isn’t sure whether its site is mobile-friendly, Google has a free diagnostic tool. There are several methods to creating mobile-friendly sites, and with each choice come different considerations.”
Song explains: “marketers can host a mobile version of a site on separate URLs. You may have seen URLs starting with ‘m’, which is a sign that you are navigating on a separate and condensed version of the desktop site. This separation, however, takes the decision away from the users on what content they can see, which may cause them frustrations. While this method is good for mobile SEO, it also doubles maintenance costs.” Alternatively, brands can “build websites that are responsive to the device screen size – many modern Content Management Systems (CMS) will offer responsive websites out of the box where page elements scale according to the size of the browser. However, just having a responsive desktop website that just scales in size is not good enough. Often, the content on a desktop site will use too much bandwidth for a mobile user and interactions like hover states are also not optimised for touchscreens.”
It’s clear, therefore, that brands should consider carefully the impact of these methods on the user experience when optimising their mobile sites. But there is another alternative. “At The Cogworks, we subscribe to the mobile-first method when designing Umbraco websites,” explains Song. “This approach to responsive design starts from the smallest screen and takes into account the actual page size, for example the size of the page in terms of kilobytes, so will it still work on a 2G connection at a festival! We challenge our clients to distil their content down to the most essential elements. The mobile-first approach is key to delivering the best user experience – prioritising how users actually consume content.” Customers still want easy access to websites even if on holiday – and having improvements in place before the summer is essential to cater to the consumer shift onto mobile. By considering mobile-responsiveness from a UX perspective, brands can avoid causing consumers frustration and losing them to their competitors.
Hosting Videos: Let Your Brand Take Centre Stage
Video content creation suits the summer months perfectly. When on holiday or relaxing outside, consumers tend to search for videos in the form of ‘how to’ and ‘I want to’. To take advantage of this summertime shift, it’s important for a brand to host its own content in its own server, rather than opting for free solutions like YouTube or Vimeo. “Embedding videos on your own site through a premium OVP – rather than YouTube or Vimeo – means viewers are engaged in your branded environment without the distractions. With no ads, competitive noise, or third-party logos, your brand can take centre stage”, explains Sophie Rayers, Director of Marketing for EMEA & LATAM at Brightcove. Integrating video into your site like this also improves SEO, as your brand owns the video file.
Hosting video content also allows a brand to get a better handle on who’s viewing the video and what they did afterwards. “Premium players tend to have a more complete suite of metrics”, Rayers explains. “Advanced real-time analytics allow you to track viewership at an individual level, analysing how much each user watched, and what they did afterwards. Feeding this information into marketing automation platforms can really help to identify when viewers convert to leads and more effectively track ROI and campaign outcomes.” Producing engaging and searchable video content (that is hosted on your brand’s site) should therefore be a priority to engage consumers without distractions, improve SEO, and track who is viewing your videos.
Experimenting With Ephemeral Messaging
Could summer prove an appropriate season for brands to experiment with the so-called ‘ephemeral messaging’? How can they take advantage of features found in platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram to shape their brand image? Ben Nimmo, CTO & Co-Founder at SocialSignIn, explains how ephemeral messaging is “reshaping the landscape of digital communication – knowing that messages will be destroyed gives the content more urgency and exclusivity, and encourages viewers to really pay attention or act.” This form of marketing is also proving to be a “valuable tactic” at a time when “there’s a huge battle waging for the consumer’s very short attention span – it’s a clutter-free type of marketing; it forces businesses to be short, sharp, snappy and to the point”. At SocialSignIn, Nimmo explains, Instagram stories are essential in “humanising the brand, and giving a ‘behind-the-scenes’ glimpse into the organisation, the people that work there, and the culture and values we’ve created.” There are many different ways you can do this – at SocialSignIn, Nimmo says, they “show the team responsible for platform development and a brief preview of new features, tease out some snippets from the latest social media research, and use it to give away early invitations to exclusive client events. This is followed up by live streaming at the events themselves.”
During summer months, social media users expect to see more joyful content in their feeds. Brands should use colourful and summery imagery to build a more intimate relationship with their followers. Ephemeral messaging can allow brands to come up with creative messages, suitable for summer, without spoiling their image on the main social media platforms. “Businesses should embrace these new concepts, and create content that looks and feels intended for one-to-one personal consumption,” says Nimmo. “With ephemeral messaging, brands can now test content to specific audiences by trialling mini, low-budget campaigns to see if they are well received whilst offering their followers something, personable, easy-to-digest & individual to them.”
By hosting videos, experimenting with new features, and tailoring content to suit the summer shift onto mobile, brands can take advantage of changes in consumer behaviour and refresh the connection with their customers over the summer. Use our roundup of the summer’s hottest trends in digital marketing to remain seasonally relevant and revitalise your digital strategy.