Mobile-First Content Strategy | Outbrain Blog


What Does It Take To Create A Mobile-First Content Strategy?

| Isabella Barbato

Mobile-First Content Strategy

Following the success of last month’s Content Conversations event in London, we decided to cover the topic of mobile-first in last week’s Content Conversations meetup in Singapore too, hosted in conjunction with the IAB Singapore.

Knowing how to create and optimise your content for mobile is key to any successful content marketing campaign, and adopting a mobile-first mentality when creating content forces us to be creative and innovative within the constraints of mobile devices.

A recent study we conducted at Outbrain shows some interesting statistics around how content consumption on mobile devices is growing, particularly in Asia. An example? We looked at the percentage of the overall content consumed on smartphones & tablets and noticed that in Singapore people consume 52% of their content on a mobile device: that’s more than half of the overall content they consume, ahead of countries like US and Australia!

Percentage of content consumed on a mobile device

Percentage of content consumed on a mobile device

*Source: Content Consumption Trends Report 2014, Outbrain

Validating our findings, a couple of weeks ago Mary Meeker released the 2015 Internet Trends Report. According to the report, “The Average American Adult Spends 5.6 Hours A Day On The Internet” of which 3 hours are spent on mobile: that means we spend more time on mobile devices than desktops and laptops. “The shift from using the Internet a few times a day for long sessions to many times a day for short sessions will have profound impact on what we consume. Bite-sized content and experiences are becoming favourable.”

internet usage

*Source: 2015 Internet Trends Report, Mary Meeker

Proof of the interest from marketers in this topic, we had over 110 people attending the event, driven by a great line up of speakers:

  • Rannajoy Roy, ex-ASEAN Digital Marketing Lead at Coca-Cola
  • James Tan, Head of Performance Advertising Products, APAC at Google
  • Lisa Walton, Head of Strategy at Dentsu Mobius
  • Regina GohManaging Director at content marketing agency BlisMedia

The example of Coca-Cola

At a time when many marketers are still testing the mobile waters, Coca-Cola has made a major commitment to infusing mobile throughout their marketing strategy globally. Many of the firm’s global marketing programs give mobile a central role, with the added step of localising how mobile is leveraged to the preferences of each market. What’s the secret behind their success? Relevancy is at least one of them, according to Rannajoy: the way we consume content has changed so much in the past few years. Today it’s all about my device, my screen, content that is personalised to me.

Marketers need to use all the insights that are available to them to create content that is relevant.

The evolution of mobile

The debut of mobile has meant an unprecedented amount of opportunities for marketers. Today, you can reach your audience on mobile devices through SMS, email, websites, mobile apps, and mobile notifications. Because of the constant introduction of new mobile capabilities, mobile marketing is going to evolve constantly, creating new pathways for reaching out to audiences through their mobile devices.  As such, according to James Tan of Google, implementing a mobile-first strategy isn’t simply about creating mobile-optimised content: it’s about designing a mobile experience, keeping in mind all the features available on the users’ mobile phones.

Is 2015 (finally) the Year of Mobile?

One of our panelists, Regina Goh of BlisMedia, has worked in the mobile space for 14 years. As she recalls: “When I joined mobile 14 years ago, content was ringtone downloads and picture messages. Now we have bigger screens, faster connections, people are always connected. We have native features on phones that help us create a very a immersive experience and leverage on these devices to be part of the consumers’ lives wherever they are, to be contextually relevant.”

Over the last 7 or 8 years, research reports and marketing gurus have claimed every year to be the year of mobile: was it really so? Over the past 18 months there seems to have really been a change, says Regina. Marketers are eager to learn everything about mobile through workshops, asking mobile experts like Regina to brainstorm with them, getting involved in planning sessions, and with that change of mindset we can really claim 2015 to be The Year of Mobile!

However, the question of how we create a mobile-first approach is secondary. The real question is how do we make it audience-first?

Does it make sense to talk about a mobile channel?

We should no longer think of mobile as an independent channel, but more as part of an integrated approach, says Lisa Walton. When we think about mobile and how we bring to life this integrated approach, we shouldn’t think about channels: we should think about the consumer and put the consumer at the heart of everything we do.

So now in 2015, Lisa thinks mobile is dead: it’s dead as an individual channel, but it’s now fully integrated in the way we communicate and, as such, it presents limitless opportunities for marketers and brands, because through mobile they can now engage one-to-one with their customers. Personalisation should be at the heart of everything they do.

Key Mobile Takeaways

It doesn’t matter whether we talk about mobile marketing or content marketing, or content marketing on mobile. What matters ultimately is how we look at our audience, how we look at our customers, how we look at those insights and then plan out a customer experience that they are going to enjoy and connect with.

Mobile plays an important role in this equation and it’s only going to increase from here. Marketers need to go back to their data and understand what’s engaging their customers and how content they consume is different, not just between mobile and desktop, but also among countries (what works in India doesn’t necessarily work in Singapore, or France, or Brazil!), at different times of the day, among different age groups and genders.

Big thanks to all the speakers, moderators and attendees for making this edition of Content Conversations a success!

To get updates on the next Content Conversations in Singapore, join the group on Meetup, or follow the hashtag #ContentConversations on Twitter!

If you’d like to have a chat with us about content, reach out! We’d love to hear from you.

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Isabella Barbato

Isabella Barbato

Isabella is Marketing Manager, Asia Pacific at Outbrain, based out of their Singapore office. Originally from Italy, she has spent... Read more

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  • Allison| July 10, 2015 at 6:18PM

    Mobile marketing is definitely an important aspect of the average marketers job. People are on their phones every day. 3 hours of internet time is spent on mobile, vs. the 2.6 spent on computers, as Mary Meeker reported in her trend report that this article mentions. As a millennial, I’m sure that number is much higher for those of us just out of college. I’m currently working for Betts Recruiting (, if you’re interested), and a large part of our company is based upon the premise that marketing and technology must work together. We place people in jobs that sometimes cater to mobile marketing, and that sector is only growing larger everyday. It’s definitely a trend to keep a close eye on.


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