It may seem obvious that mobile-driven content is becoming the primary mainstream preference of content consumption, but the pace and implications of such a shift are often overlooked.

Despite the absurd amount of time Generation Z spends on their phones or how the youth is redefining content consumption with mobile social media, many content platforms and companies still don’t take a mobile-first approach.

“Like it or not, today’s content companies must come to terms with the fact that mobile-first thinking isn’t just the way of the future—it’s essential for any brand that wants to become or remain successful in the present,” details JAKK Media Co-Founder, Kenny Kline.

Kline’s perception of a future landscape dominated by mobile consumption reflects what statistics tell us about content consumption trends. Up to 85 percent of Americans use mobile devices to consume content at least sometimes, and that number is amplified with younger generations like Millennials and Generation Z. So you won’t have your audience keep up with your content without mobile tech.

Consuming news, social media, and messaging on mobile devices is simply more convenient. Push notifications and personalized news feeds keep people more connected (and distracted) than ever before, and the early stages of integrating more advanced marketing, e-commerce, and specialized content into the mobile ecosystem are rapidly snowballing.

The Integration of Social Media, E-Commerce, and Mobile Devices

Initiatives like the rumored Instagram Shop are indicative of the dynamic transition of e-commerce into a predominantly mobile medium. The success and influence of social media — which is consumed vastly more on mobile devices — on e-commerce is evident. Roughly 87 percent of e-commerce shoppers believe that social media helps them make shopping decisions, and 40 percent of merchants use social media for sales.

With Instagram consisting of more than 1 billion active monthly users, there really is no better or more popular medium to promote content or drive sales.

China has already set the standard in the integration of e-commerce and social media.

Currently in China, nearly 55 percent of social app users cited purchasing goods directly through a social application. That trend is likely to rapidly gain traction in the U.S. too, where a 55 percent increase in mobile e-commerce sales in 2018 fueled North American e-commerce growth to over $500 billion — a 16 percent increase over the previous year.

“It’s not enough to simply provide readers with the information they’re looking for,” cites Kline. “Content brands that want to remain successful as the digital landscape evolves must also provide this information in a consistently engaging and unique way if they want people to keep paying attention to their brand.”

How do brands stay relevant in an evolving age of social media and content delivery? Cater to young people. E-Commerce brands are competing with entertainment for the attention of younger mobile users, particularly Generation Z, who is projected to account for 40 percent of the consumer population by 2020. Similarly, 85 percent of Gen Z learns about new products from social media.

Combine younger preferences for mobile social media and e-commerce with the meteoric rise of PWAs and it seems inevitable that brands will need to take a mobile-first approach to their content and business strategy if they wish to remain relevant.  

PWAs, which stands for ‘progressive web apps,’ are hybrid websites and mobile applications that blur the line between a website and mobile apps. They are ideal for e-commerce integration with social media and are rapidly emerging as a darling of marketing initiatives for their faster load times and much more fluid designs.

PWAs offload the work to the device itself rather than a web server, and their ability to still send push notifications also leads into one of the cardinal drivers of increasing mobile content consumption — niche and personalized content.  

Personalized and Niche Content Suites A Mobile Era

Push notifications can become overwhelming if you don’t temper the number of applications and news sites you receive them from. That being said, the often subtle influence of push notifications is overlooked — they are completely shifting how content is consumed.

Rather than exploring various sources for the information that you want, it is filtered and sent directly to your phone. People are bombarded with tailored content throughout the day from multiple sources. That content comes in all forms too, from short-form videos to editorial pieces of major publications.

Leveraging push notifications effectively is also a ripe opportunity for smaller brands and niche content audiences. “Niche audiences are inherently passionate about their interests, so they won’t be intrigued by or loyal to brands that offer only superficial, basic content on the topic,” Kline continues.

From the brand and marketing perspective, push notifications are the optimal way to distribute content to users in an effective way. Personalized content open rates can increase by 4X using push notifications, indicating that brands lacking in mobile content delivery will inevitably fall behind mobile-first brands.

Personalization of new feeds.

Personalization of news feeds, linked data accounts, faster delivery, and more familiar designs all make the mobile experience much more appealing to the everyday user. People want convenience, and audiences seeking niche content prefer it directly delivered to the device that’s in their pocket for the entire day.

The flexibility of mobile devices will continue to expedite the transition towards an increasingly mobile-driven content paradigm. Companies that adjust appropriately will be well-suited for the new content archetype while those who let mobile content take a back seat will be left behind.

Yoav Vilner

"Marketer to Watch" (Forbes). "Industry leader" (SAP). "Top 100 FinTech Influencer" . Tech blogger with exposure to millions. Advising startups across Europe, NYC, and Tel Aviv.