In last year’s mobile report, Gartner L2 plotted leading DTC brands on a two-dimensional grid based on the performance of their mobile content (including mobile sites and apps) and their marketing investments (including display, paid search, and email). Based on their performance across 324 data points, brands were assigned to one of four categories: Leaders, Laggards, Content-First Brands, and Marketing-First Brands.

Only a handful of brands optimally deployed marketing resources and streamlined their mobile commerce experiences, according to the study. Leader brands (16%) blazed a trail moving beyond top-of-funnel awareness by using paid media to drive mobile conversions directly.

Mobile marketing

In 2018, Gartner L2 found exemplary and lagging brands divided along similar lines, specifically when it came to mobile marketing efforts. Best-in-class brands deploy paid mobile assets at the right time, in the right place, and to the right customer. They likewise marry optimized content with proper linking to fuel conversions down the funnel. For instance, they might link their mobile ads to their top products on Amazon, which has a mobile-savvy customer base.

Yet most brands still have work to do in all three marketing channels. For example, brands often invest significant money into a mobile display ad campaign that yields relatively few impressions. On other occasions, they fail to bid on the optimal type of search ad, or they send emails with subject lines too long to read on a phone. These factors, first noted in Gartner L2’s 2017 analysis of mobile competence, continue to hamper brands’ efforts.

Today’s Leader brands now tailor all of their content and marketing decisions for mobile, from the way they design site homepages to the types of search ads they invest in. As mobile expands from a top-of-funnel device to a legitimate transaction point, these decisions increasingly impact the bottom line. But by and large, brands continue underinvesting in their mobile marketing initiatives, indicating a failure to fit the varying needs of the always-on, mobile-first customer.

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