Mobile is synonymous with the internet. Nine out of ten users access the internet on a mobile device, and it’s not just for scrolling social media or playing online games. From consuming information to checking emails to shopping online, all internet-related activities happen on mobile phones. 

Therefore, startups and small businesses can benefit significantly by adopting a mobile-first marketing approach. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide to mobile-first marketing. By the end of this guide, you’ll understand the importance of a mobile-first approach and acquire actionable steps to create a mobile-oriented marketing strategy. 

What Is a Mobile-First Marketing Approach?

The mobile-first strategy focuses on creating immersive experiences for mobile users. In this approach, businesses prioritize mobile users over desktop consumers. This applies to development, design, marketing, customer service, and all other areas where a user interacts with the brand.

Earlier, this practice was rare, as most internet users used a desktop to browse the web. Things have changed now, as phone-based internet browsing and mobile eCommerce have become the norm. Companies are prioritizing mobile versions of websites to deliver a top-notch experience and ensure satisfaction for mobile users. 

So, how does a mobile-first strategy work? 

When a business pursues a mobile-first strategy, it invests more resources in creating a mobile-friendly experience for its users and focuses less on the desktop website. 

A classic example of a mobile-first business is Duolingo, an American language-learning platform. Duolingo started as a desktop platform but soon realized that its majority of users were on the phone. They released a mobile app, ran rigorous A/B tests, and kept adapting their mobile app as per the users’ changing needs. Presently, their mobile app is more intuitive, powerful, and feature-rich than the desktop website. 

The result? Duolingo’s users skyrocketed from 30 million to 200 million, making it one of the leading language-learning platforms in the world. 

Why Does Mobile-First Marketing Matter?

Around 55% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices as of Q1 2021. In contrast, mobile accounted for only 31.16% of internet traffic in Q1 2015. The number is more significant in Asia and Africa. Mobile accounts for over 65% of all web traffic in Asia and 60% in Africa. With the smartphone market exhibiting exponential growth, these numbers are only going to increase. 


Let’s look at some other statistics that signify the importance of a mobile-first strategy. 

  • By 2025, 86.7% of people will be using the internet on their phones. 
  • 61% of consumers say they will prefer to buy from mobile-friendly websites. 
  • Mobile accounts for 52% of PPC clicks.
  • Mobile accounts for 66% of emails read. 
  • 50% of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
  • 73% of all eCommerce sales come from mobile. 

Above everything else, Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites. Google released the mobile-first index (also known as Mobilegeddon) in 2015. The new guideline penalized websites that weren’t optimized for mobile and rewarded mobile-responsive sites by ranking them above desktop-only sites.

Google plans to take the mobile-first approach a step further. The search engine giant announced in 2017 that it would automatically index the mobile version of a website. Though Google hasn’t yet implemented this update, it’s only a matter of time. Moreover, mobile-first indexing is enabled by default for websites published after July 1, 2019. 

So, if your website went live after July 1, 2019, Google is indexing its mobile version. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re likely missing out on potential ranking opportunities and traffic. 

Key Benefits of a Mobile-Focused Marketing Strategy

Though a mobile-oriented approach will provide you with an SEO benefit, you shouldn’t implement it only to rank higher. Prioritizing mobile users can benefit your business in multiple ways, from increased reach to more sales. 

Let’s look at the major advantages of choosing a mobile-first marketing approach. 

Higher Customer Reach

Around 6.5 billion people worldwide use a smartphone, and this number is projected to reach 7.5 billion by 2026. People prefer smartphones for day-to-day tasks, such as checking emails, browsing social media, surfing the internet, and shopping online. Taking a mobile-first approach will help you reach more customers and target a broader customer base. 

Stronger Customer Relationships

A mobile-first approach presents more opportunities to build strong customer relationships. Small businesses can leverage social media, messengers (like WhatsApp), and chatbots to engage consumers on a personal level. 

Native mobile apps are another effective way to strengthen the relationship with your customers. Mobile internet users spend 90% of their time on apps. Thus, an app can help you increase customer engagement and build a stronger bond with your consumers. 

Improved Customer Experience

Having a dedicated app allows you to provide an online store and on-demand customer service to your customers. You can give instant access to what your customers need, thereby improving engagement and satisfaction. Moreover, a mobile app offers several options for improving the UI and UX. You can create personalized experiences for each user, which enhances customer satisfaction and brand reputation. 

In-Depth Data Insights

Data-driven decision-making is critical to business success, especially for small businesses. In-depth insights can help you identify trends, set ambitious but realistic targets, analyze performance, and scale your business strategically. 

A mobile-oriented approach helps you gain essential data insights. Mobile apps allow you to track the user behavior, including:

  • The time a user spends on the app
  • The number of times a user opens the app
  • The actions a user takes in the app
  • How a user responds to in-app notifications

If you have a mobile-first website, Google Analytics lets you filter traffic coming from mobile devices. You can determine which device (iOS, Android, Blackberry) or brand (Apple, Samsung, Huawei) sends the most traffic to your website. You can combine all these insights to make highly informed decisions. 

Enhanced SEO Performance

As discussed, Google takes a mobile-first indexing approach. Mobile-friendly websites get an edge in ranking, while desktop-only websites are at a disadvantage. Therefore, you can boost your SEO performance and search engine rankings by making your website mobile-responsive. 

Increased Revenue and Profitability

In the end, it’s all about the bottom line. A mobile-first strategy helps you increase revenue, ROI, and profitability. Here’s how a mobile-oriented approach can help you generate more revenue. 

  • People tend to shop online on their mobile phones. If you sell online, having a mobile eCommerce app or mobile-friendly website can help you get more sales. 
  • Mobile apps offer several monetization opportunities. Small businesses can include in-app purchases and subscriptions to increase revenue. 

How to Create an Effective Mobile-First Marketing Mix Strategy?

Going mobile doesn’t have to be complex. You can adopt a mobile-first approach by making a few changes to your website, content, and marketing. Let’s look at some proven steps you can take to become a mobile-first business. 

1. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices

First things first, you need to have a mobile-friendly website. Here’s where some small businesses go wrong. There is a difference between having a responsive website and a mobile-first website. 

A website is said to be responsive if it adapts to different screen sizes. Mobile-friendliness goes beyond that. A mobile-friendly website not only fits all the contents on the smaller screen but optimizes them for mobile viewing. For example, an image that looks amazing on a desktop could be too big for a 6″ x2.5″ mobile screen. A mobile-friendly website should automatically change its size based on the screen and resolution. 

Let’s look at the website of Beaconstac, a QR code generator solution that can generate custom QR codes, including dynamic QR codes.


The first image is of the desktop version of the website. The second is the mobile version. As you can see, the website adjusts its structure and layout based on the device’s screen size. 

How can you make your website mobile-friendly? Thankfully, most website templates nowadays are mobile-responsive, so you can easily optimize them for mobiles. You can also create accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) – a lightweight HTML version of your site that loads quickly. 

2. Don’t Cut Down Content for Mobile Sites

Mobile websites need to be faster. Since more content and media means more loading time, some small businesses skip certain pages or content on the mobile version of their site. That’s a mistake. The mobile version of your site should have the same content as your desktop sites. 

You can change the way you present the content, but you shouldn’t cut down on the information on your website. The mobile version of your site should have all the pages, links, and information your users would want to see. 

3. Avoid Information Overload by Using Less Text

Your website shouldn’t have too much text. A lot of written text might look good on a desktop website, as there is a lot of available space. However, you have limited space in the case of mobile websites. If you have too much text, it may overlap on a mobile screen. 

You can follow these tips to ensure appropriate content creation for your mobile website:

  • Develop the mobile version of your website first and then transform it into a desktop version. 
  • Create minimal content and shorter messages for your static pages, like Homepage, About page, etc. 

Here’s a pro tip. If you already have a desktop website and turning it into a responsive mobile website isn’t possible, you can have an entirely different website for mobile. For example, YouTube has a dedicated mobile website (m.youtube.com) that resembles its mobile app. 

You, too, can build a mobile version of your site with a different URL. Now, create content separately for the mobile site keeping responsiveness and usability in mind. 

4. Prioritize Visual Content

Visual content is critical for the success of a mobile-friendly website. Look at the mobile version of any successful company, and you’ll see a lot of visuals. For example, see how Slack, a team collaboration tool, uses rich media and minimal text to engage mobile users


If you scroll down, there’s a video explaining how Slack can help its users. 

Video is a powerful tool, especially when it comes to mobile-first marketing. 66% of users prefer watching a video about a product rather than reading its description. 

5. Get the UI and UX Right

User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are the pillars of the success of a mobile-first marketing strategy. You could have a mobile website with rich content and media, but users will most likely exit if it doesn’t have a good UI/UX. 

You can do the following things to enhance the UI and UX of your website. 

  • Have bigger touchscreen targets, such as clickable buttons and links. A finger has less precision than a mouse cursor. 
  • Having a media-rich website is great, but it can slow down your site. 38% of visitors will bounce if a site takes longer than five seconds to load. Thus, make sure to use auto-compression and other techniques to make your website load faster.
  • Have a simple and intuitive design. An overly complicated and flashy design can turn off the users. 
  • A/B test your mobile site to figure out what works and what doesn’t.  

6. Develop a Mobile App

Lastly, develop a native mobile app for your business. As mentioned, a mobile app has many benefits. It helps strengthen customer relationships and opens new avenues for revenue and profitability. You can direct your website visitors to the mobile app by including the app’s download link on your website. 

Moreover, having a mix of a mobile-responsive website and a mobile app can give your small business a significant edge over your competition. Almost every major brand, including Amazon, Domino’s, and Udemy, uses this strategy. 

Wrap Up

Mobile is ruling the digital market. If you want your business to make a mark in the digital space, you need a mobile-first marketing strategy. More people than ever are using mobile devices to access the internet, and their number will only rise in the upcoming years. Small businesses can improve customer reach, get an SEO advantage, and increase revenue and profitability by adopting a mobile-oriented approach.