Consumers today expect their favorite web experiences to be available in a format that’s convenient for their smartphones and tablets. Few are loyal enough to a website that they’re willing to use a crunched-down version of it on their phone. They want a mobile version of the site or an app, or else they’re probably not going to bother.
There’s no question that content today that isn’t mobile-ready is going to be left behind. If you’re going to have to go mobile anyway, can you monetize the content? The answer is yes, but monetizing mobile is still a relatively new concept. Here are some ways mobile content can be monetized.
Use Advertising that Doesn’t Disturb Users’ Mobile Experience
Rather than logging on and surfing for hours, mobile users are generally in a transaction-based environment when they use their mobile devices. That means they’re on for minutes rather than hours. To get their attention, you have to grab it within seconds and you can’t assume they’ll get your content through a speedy Wi-Fi connection. You have to have content and ads designed to load quickly in 3G and 4G environments. Ads should be visible and available for users to tap, but mobile users don’t put up with intrusive ads that disrupt their mobile transaction experience.
In-App Content Works Great if You Can Afford It
Publishers today have to face the question of putting content in mobile web format or in an app. Not everyone can afford an app because they need to optimize apps for iOS, Android and the iPad. However, depending on business goals, publishers may want to go ahead and invest in app development because content in apps tends to draw engaged users that return repeatedly. When users have an app with content they trust, that app becomes an appealing platform for advertisers.
“Freemium” Apps are Emerging as Leaders
The two main revenue models for apps are free, advertiser-supported apps and apps that are free to download but charge extra for premium content that enhances user experience. The latter appears to be gaining traction and producing a more consistent revenue stream. Mobile app stores have countless free apps that promise a lot, but mobile users are becoming more realistic in what they expect from free apps and they are becoming more willing to pay for apps that really deliver.
Web Designers Today Should Have a “Mobile First” Approach
If you’re in the process of designing (or redesigning) your website, having your web designer start by designing for the mobile or tablet environment is smart. For example, online magazines designed expressly for the iPad can often make a great case for premium ad sponsorship. Current data suggests that consumers are comfortable with “tapping” to stream video, creating a map or making a call.
Avoiding Common Mobile Traps Helps Tremendously
Some features of regular online advertising simply won’t be accepted by mobile users. For example, ads with sounds that plays automatically turn mobile users off, particularly if they’re in an environment where automatic sound is especially annoying such as a library. Any video that takes too long to load in a mobile environment is also a turn-off to mobile users. Avoid these pitfalls, and you stand a better chance of successfully monetizing your mobile content.
Including Popular Features from Your Website Helps with Monetization
Trade publication websites, for example, are realizing that adding recruitment advertising solutions like targeted job boards improves site traffic and builds loyalty. This is exactly the kind of feature that works great with mobile platforms. When your readers can check your job board on the train home after a bad day at the office, his experience is that your mobile site delivers exactly what he wants.
Job board software gives your trade site a clear advantage over competitors, even for those who aren’t actively looking for work. Emerging leaders in your sector often check out job boards to learn about hiring trends and employers in your sector want to know what type of talent competitors are hiring. When you create a job board, you give your site monetization power that translates well on a regular PC, a tablet or a phone.
Photo Credit: typexnick