Tips for Creating Content for Mobile Users

Amanda Dodge

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April 23, 2018 (Updated: January 23, 2024)

Three black mobile phones with colorful screens sitting on top of blue background. Concept for creating content for mobile users.

The discussion around mobile optimization tends to focus on the technical aspects of the web experience. Experts will discuss topics like reducing bulky code or using tag managers. But the truth is there’s a softer side to mobile optimization that focuses on the user experience with content. For the average mobile user, the content is the focus rather than the tech side of your website. Because of this, the types of content you create will affect how mobile users engage with it. And if you’re still creating the same desktop-style content for the mobile experience, then your audience is going to tune you out.

You can avoid this, though, by optimizing your content for mobile users using these tips:

Get a Handle on User Viewing Patterns

User eye tracking has become an invaluable tool for helping marketers understand why customers behave a certain way when they land on a web page. Over the past few years, industry leaders have changed their best practices to account for mobile user behavior.

The majority of your audiences are focusing on the top of their phones and will only glance at the bottom on occasion. This isn’t a problem for most content creators, as audiences will eventually get to the bottom content as they scroll, but it can affect your web design. If you place your call to action or buy/share buttons in the bottom third, then your audience might miss or ignore them entirely.

Additionally, mobile users tend to approach content in an F-shape pattern. They start at the top left and read across the screen, only to drop down and repeat until they reach the bottom. They approach your website similar to how most people read books.

Knowing how your audiences consume your website content and what elements their eyes favor the most can help you design promotions and CTAs that effectively generate leads and boost traffic.

Follow the Bite-Snack-Meal Approach

Writing for mobile-friendly audiences means changing the structure of your online posts to match audience behavior and needs. Neil Patel suggests following the bite-snack-meal approach to creating mobile-friendly content. Your “bite” is your headline. It conveys information that readers can glean even if they don’t click on your content. Your “snack” is a brief summary at the beginning, either in a paragraph or as a bullet list covering the highlights of the information. Even if your readers only enjoy the snack part, they should get the gist of your content.

This makes your “meal” of the content the full body. This should be in-depth. Think stats from an analysis, expert quotes, and industry backstories. Daily Mail is a great example of this format. Their headlines are known for being long. They start every article with a handful of bullet points with the key highlights and then focus on the actual article.

This process works to entice readers to engage with your content. The headline might lure them in, but the snack sells them on the value of digesting the whole meal. Even if your readers bounce away from the page after reading the snack, they are likely to come back to your blog again because they know they can get the highlights before committing to the deep dive.

Make Content Scannable for Mobile Screens

AI-generated custom image of a woman in a yellow shirt looking at a blue mobile phone, surrounded by graphics in blue and yellow and black. Concept for creating content for mobile.

Even when audiences are settling in to read the whole “meal,” you want your content to be scannable. Mobile apps, notifications, and other areas of text and imagery distracting for readers. The last thing you want is for your expert guides to get ignored because of a pop-up text from Chipotle.

Furthermore, audiences rarely read content to completion — especially on mobile devices. So, you want to share the highlights throughout your content to keep users engaged in what you have to say.

Focus on short paragraphs and visual elements that people can scan to understand where the content is going. You might highlight a significant quote, add a chart to emphasize your point, or attach infographics. All of these steps work to keep readers focused longer on what you have to say, giving you more time to provide value or sell them on your brand.

Prioritize Engagement Along With the Data

Marketers tend to get caught up in the metrics, relying on a few specific data points to measure success. While the data is important and can highlight whether there’s a problem with performance, you should focus on creating a positive experience that keeps readers highly engaged.

Forbes provides a great example of what not to do. They often share online slideshows listing out professional tips for readers. Rather than creating a positive online experience that allows readers to quickly flip through the content, they develop their website so a new page loads every single time a user wants to move to the next item on the list. This takes time and can be incredibly annoying for readers.

In the data, it may look like users are loading an average of 10 pages per visit and spending several minutes engaging with the content. However, this is not a positive experience. Audiences would be happier and respond better if they could scroll through the list on a single page.

The bottom line? Don’t chase vanity metrics with your content. Focus on creating content with value.

Determine How Audiences Interact With Mobile Content

Find out how your target audience is interacting with digital media and mobile content specifically by breaking down demographics, top websites, mobile use, and consumer behavior. Tap into GA4 and SEO tools like SEMRush and CopyPress’s Content Marketing Analysis Tool to learn how your audiences react to your website content. You can also use these tools to answer questions about demographics, engagement, and buying behavior to see how your customers differ from standard research.

For example, despite research showing that seniors are less mobile-confident than other demographics, you may discover that your older customers are incredibly savvy and prefer to access your content from their mobile devices. Instead of shying away from mobile because of industry research, you can make decisions based on your own customers’ behavior and directly address their needs.

If you have based your strategy off of “best practices” without consulting your own stats first, you might not see the promised results because your audience strays from what’s expected.

Leverage Visual Content for Mobile Use

As smartphones started to take over the mobile device market, some marketers stripped their mobile pages of images to improve load speeds. If they could increase their load speeds by just as few seconds, they could reduce their bounce rate and increase conversions. Removing images, as well as bulky JavaScript code, was the first step toward making mobile improvements.

But the fact is, smartphones have changed and evolved since the first internet use case. Most mobile devices can handle detailed images and load graphics quickly onto the page. With the right website development, you shouldn’t have to worry about slow speeds or gaps in your content with an unloaded image. So, now is the time to start using images more frequently in your content.

HubSpot shares some interesting data on the value of visual content online. With 50% of marketers using video in their content strategy and 47% of them using images, it’s a safe bet that adding visuals can boost engagement. Your audiences love visual content. It’s what they turn to in their spare time and how they communicate with their friends. If you want to form an emotional connection and engage users who visit your website, you can win them over with high-quality photos, charts, and illustrations.

Consider Creating Mobile-First Graphics

As you develop your strategy, you may decide your best bet is to create mobile-first visual content. This approach to developing the user experience specifically for mobile before desktop can enhance engagement and interaction.

When audiences look at desktop-first infographic content, they’re often left pinching to zoom in and out, scrolling, and squinting to view your website. If the content is particularly unwieldy, they might not know how to get back to the main screen or leave the image. Since so many graphics aren’t mobile-responsive, smartphone users often just skip over them.

If you can create mobile-first visual content, then you’re ahead of the game. Your audience is more likely to share your content and will appreciate your mobile design. Plus, it means you’re not investing time and effort to create graphics that isolate half of your total audience.

Making mobile content doesn’t just mean creating an engaging design that’s highly social. It means adjusting your content strategy to meet the changing needs of your audience. Start with small graphics and expand into mobile-friendly interactives.

Author Image - Amanda Dodge
Amanda Dodge

CopyPress writer

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