How to write copy that engages mobile users.

Sarah HirstAccount Director
31.03.2016
 

When creating content for any platform, it can be easy to get distracted by clever introductions, or lengthy anecdotes. But with online there is no time for drawn-out, elaborate copy – the only option is to be direct.

And this is even more important when it comes to mobile copy.

Why is mobile so different.

Web users are notoriously distracted, visiting multiple pages and searching through vast quantities of content. When a user opts to use a mobile device, they become even more distracted. This means that not only is your content competing with other web pages, but also push notifications from apps, text messages and emails.

Mobile use can typically be defined by three key factors:

  • Sporadic use. Many people will use their mobile device as a secondary test, whilst waiting in a queue or on the tube, for example.
  • Perpetual distraction. Users on a mobile device face distraction not only from other apps or messages on their device, but also in their immediate environment. Mobile users are often using their device whilst in the middle of a different task.
  • Small screen size. Unlike a desktop, a mobile screen has very little real estate space, meaning it is even more important to consider what will fit onto a user’s screen without scrolling.

Creating content for mobile

When creating mobile content, it’s important to remember that for many users, their mobile device plays a role in many aspects of their lifestyle. From connecting with friends and family, to storing photos and videos, a person’s mobile phone is a very personal device.

For many, a mobile device is the first thing they’ll see in the morning, and the last thing they’ll look at in the evening, keeping them connected to their world 24/7.

When writing content for mobile this is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind. Here are some other key things to consider when writing content for mobile users:

Be Goal-Oriented

Mobile users have a short attention span, and are far less likely to be browsing casually through content on their device. It’s therefore important to stick to the necessities, and be focused on a specific topic or point.

Create content that is focused around a specific goal, and avoid veering off topic.

Use Strong Headlines

Reinforcing the need to be succinct and to-the-point, mobile copy should include short, impactful headlines that get an idea or point of view across immediately. Ideally, headings should be brief and clear so users understand the point straight away, but with enough intrigue that they’re encourage to read on and share with others.

Consider varying mobile screen sizes

When writing copy for the web and desktop screens, the space on the page allows for visual cues that can draw the readers’ attention towards calls to action and key pieces of information.

On mobile, presentation and eye-drawing cues will likely be limited or even inconsistent across different screen sizes and device. It’s important to think mobile-first in this instance to avoid having to shrink desktop versions of your content to fit a smaller screen.

Content layout is key

Most often people won’t read past your headline or opening sentences. It’s therefore vital to include your most important content up front.

Consider users’ browsing habits and how your copy will appear on a small screen. Avoid anything that requires too much clicking, and long pages of text that require lots of scrolling.

Test your content

Experimenting with your content to find the ideal balance between information and space is key in continuing to refine and improve your content marketing.

Using tools such as Google Website Optimizer allows you to test two or more versions of your copy, to understand which is most effective. This can then inform future posts.

Conclusion

Writing and developing content for mobile is not the same as creating for desktop, and treating the two separately is key to a successful mobile content strategy.

 

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