Mobile Isn’t Another Channel

Lately I've been confused by some of my fellow marketers, specifically those working with large companies. They've been speaking of “mobile” as if it's a separate thing.

It isn't.

Mobile, meaning smart phones and tablet devices, aren't separate channels. What they are, is part of a larger whole. So when I hear marketers giving advice like “you need a mobile strategy”, it makes me scratch my head.

Responsive design, the ability for a website to automatically adjust its' content based on the screen size of the reader, has been around for many years.  A large number of our clients have responsive design built into their websites. Read this blog on an iPhone, iPad or your laptop and you'll see what I mean.

It is now a given that your customer isn't using a single device, specifically a desktop or laptop computer. I'd argue this has been true for at least the past two years.

He may be out at lunch with his smart phone doing some Google searches. She may be sitting on the couch watching TV while browsing the web on her iPad. I've read of executives taking their iPads with them on business trips and leaving the laptop at the office.

However the point here is that you don't market to people differently because they are on a mobile device. Yes, there are some considerations, mainly design considerations, which can be handled with responsive design.

But don't think of mobile as a channel unto itself because it isn't. But be damn sure that when your customers view your site on mobile devices, they have an experience equal to the one they have on your website.


  1. I disagree that ” when your customers view your site on mobile devices, they have an experience equal to the one they have on your website.” A mobile site is not a mini-me of the desktop website. Therefore, the experience is not “equal.” The mobile site needs to be easy to use, responsive, and contain useful content for the person on the go. You don’t click on a phone number or phone icon on a desktop website to call the business, but you DO on a mobile phone. The SEO experts profess lots of good content for the desktop websites, but this isn’t practical for a mobile website. Maybe you don’t want to call it a different channel, but it is a different way to think about a website.

    •  @solutionmaven as I stated in the post, I’m not arguing that you have to approach mobile differently. However the content you produce for mobile isn’t different than what you would produce for your blog.
      When it comes to the experience (navigation, layout, etc.) you do have to consider it. However the way that many marketers speak of mobile they speak as if you have to do something different with your content. That I don’t agree with.

  2. snouraini says:

    Website design is only a part of mobile marketing.  As Janwong correctly mentioned, apps are an additional aspect, use of QR codes is another.  These are all tactics, the strategy comes when you have to consider your target audience, and you have to chose which one of these to use that best meets their needs, how to use them, how to design them etc etc.  Defining mobile marketing simply as adjusting screen size is too simplistic. 

  3. Correct again. all of our blog Themes have been revised to readjust to access method. Our Analytics show a growing audience accessing from portable devices in some niches, but not all.
    Blogs focused on younger generations are obviously getting more hits form Smart Phones etc, but the Senior Market is still predominately PC and mac.I do not use Smart phone much because of very poor service at or near our home>Have you found some of the hyped Mobile Advertising programs a bit suspect?

    •  @ChuckBartok I haven’t gotten too deep into mobile advertising Chuck so I can’t comment on that. Most of the ads I see are to download free apps and such, so I simply ignore them. I’m happy to pay for an app so I don’t have to put up with completely irrelevant and annoying ads.

  4. Nice one! I agree that mobile web is not to be treated as a separate channel as it is merely design-related considerations. However, I do also think that mobile applications can be seen as a separate channel simply because it’s a different game altogether, in which a strategy may be practical here. 

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