Mobile first marketing mantra getting louder

By Louis Eksteen


Marketers are increasingly building mobile first action plans into their activities. This year mobile first marketing will be the most important marketing activity for brands. The reason is simple. Smartphones and tablets are rapidly increasing penetration and usage, while marketing tools are becoming more sophisticated.

Facebook’s recent quarterly results announcement concentrated on its success as a mobile first marketing company. Just before the social network’s tenth birthday on 4 February 2014, founder and CE Mark Zuckerberg emphasised the company’s transition into a mobile first marketing business.

People use mobile devices in their blurred personal/business lives all the time. Just look at yourself. You’re not alone. This increasing level of penetration means a mobile first marketing orientation is a necessity, as other screens (computer, television) are either somewhat marginalised, or increasingly used in conjunction with a mobile device.

Mobile first marketing and advertising

Twitter understands mobile first marketing and encourages a sophisticated level as accompaniment to television specifically. The Twitter platform has also had major success with disguised advertising (“native” advertising, or in the traditional magazine world simply “advertorial“) sales, especially on mobile. Users seem to have accepted this less-intrusive form of advertising in their Twitter feeds. (Here are some tips for successful native advertising.)

Native advertising works particularly well on mobile devices, hence marketers’ increased interest in this form of advertising obfuscation in mobile first marketing. Simply put, users don’t mind “advertising” that much if it doesn’t look, taste or smell like advertising. If it’s funny, entertains, adds value or makes your life easier, so what if it’s created by a brand (that you may even love in any case). This is a major departure from traditional interruptive advertising. Brand content marketing is woven into the fabric of native advertising.

Content and apps

For mobile first marketing to work, you therefore need a strong brand content marketing orientation. In the past, traditional media such as magazines produced native (advertorial) advertising for you. Today it’s best if you do it yourself, perhaps using a brand content agency, to ensure your own excellent brand content travels well across platforms.

If you can add app utility to your mobile first marketing execution, in addition to brand content, so much the better for users’ experience. When Starbucks in the US added a mobile payment platform to their app, their brand fans loved it. Competitors are following with payment utility of their own.


Mobile first marketing works best when integrated with other marketing channels to ensure the underpinning brand content is properly disseminated. Although marketing thinking should start with mobile execution, campaigns that roll out naturally across platforms deliver most value.

With many leading marketers now placing mobile first marketing front and centre, 2014 is arguably shaping up to be a pivotal time for mobile device-centered marketing. Just look at Facebook.