By Steve Keightley, Head of Media at Maxymiser

For media companies in 2015, being able to deliver digital content to consumers across the full range of connect devices is essential. In the space of a few short years the dominant desktop experience has lowered to only half of website traffic as mobile and tablet have muscled in on the action. And yet, when it comes to the quality of that customer experience, most companies are still almost exclusively focusing all their optimisation effort on the desktop platform. This disconnected strategy is limiting the opportunity to create relevant experiences to all their hard-earned traffic and giving companies no way of assessing consumer response to these new mobile developments or any way of understanding how best to improve that experience. Simply relying on feedback from the App store is not good enough.

It is time for media companies to wake up to the growing gulf between consumers’ cross-channel experience and create an optimisation centre of excellence that treats every channel equally.

Battle Ground

In the drive for online subscriptions and new advertising streams, mobile is without doubt the new media battleground. With at least 50% of content now being consumed via mobile platforms, media companies are wrestling with fast evolving mobile strategies. Yet with a continued focus on the technicalities of responsive design on the web, and constant upgrades to mobile apps, the combined majority of media companies still haven’t got to grips with testing experiences across the whole digital real-estate.

The problem is that most companies still have a very disjointed model - the strategic direction and investment is focused on mobile; yet the optimisation activity is skewed to the traditional desktop platform. Many companies have built up strong optimisation teams in the desktop area, but are failing to apply this expertise to mobile formats – particularly when it comes to mobile apps.

Getting the mobile experience right for the consumer is far from straightforward and media companies are struggling with the challenges of creating a compelling mobile offer. Is it possible to present content on small screen in a way that entices readers to subscribe? For those reliant on advertising revenue, how can advertisers’ demands be met without compromising the customer experience? These are crucial questions if media companies are going to respond quickly to the changing way consumers are digesting content.

Moving Forward

Optimisation through A/B and multivariate testing provides a compelling way of mitigating the risk associated with new ideas and designs. New experiences and journeys can be trialled on a subset of the population, ensuring that only winning experiences are rolled out to the rest of the mobile customer base. It enables organisations to gain invaluable insight into customer behaviour and supports the on-going technical developments across all aspects of the mobile experience.

It is therefore essential that media companies start to align resources in response to customer activity – the volume of content being consumed is only expected to increase so companies need to reflect that in their optimisation activity. While the challenges of optimising experiences on mobile, tablet and desktop through to smart TVs and games console are clearly different, creating an optimisation centre of excellence is a great step. It avoids the wasted effort of optimisation being carried out in channel specific silos, enables cross-fertilisation of ideas and expertise and helps to create a more consistent customer experience.

Consumers are going mobile. There is simply no justification for ignoring the importance of the mobile experience. There are huge opportunities to increase subscription and grow revenues, but considerable risks for those that get the model wrong. Isn’t it time to follow the money and deliver an excellent mobile experience?