Marketers see lots of mobile websites and campaigns fail, still some of the marketers who first pointed at their colleagues make the same mistakes afterwards. It’s maybe because despite the fact that they know what they should do, they don’t give that much importance to mobile. But wait, we all know that mobile is one of the most important channels for brands, people use mobile more than their PC’s.

fail mobile users

I’ve split the fails in two: Mobile Website and Mobile Campaign.

Things that make your Mobile Website Fail


1. Using the desktop website also for the mobile users

I recommend having a special dedicated webpage for mobile devices. The smartphones and tablets have features which give you options that don’t exist on desktops, but on the other hand there are incompatibilities between how desktop browsers interpret a code and how the mobile browser do it. Browser desktops have been available longer and have been perfected to interpret and solve code that is written in a strange/faulty way or solve conflicts between the different commands in the code.

Some time ago I was trying to find information on a official website from my phone, I had a very full schedule that day and needed to fix an issue as fast as possible. I got to the website and obviously they didn’t have a mobile version, I thought: “it’s good that at least the desktop version works”. I had the awful surprise that none of the links were working on that page and there was no other option to go trough to the information I needed.

So, when you create a webpage/campaign make sure you have a mobile version and if not, at least make sure your desktop site works on mobile devices.

2. Building the mobile website in Flash

Using flash on your mobile website can be a pain for your visitors, especially for the Apple iPad or iPhone users because those devices don’t support flash at all.

Even on Android devices, flash is not something that should be used very much. Android phones and tablets have evolved, they have very fast processors and lots and lots of RAM, but the flash animations will still make them slow down, warm up or even break.

So, stay away from Flash and use HTML5 instead.

3. Not giving the user the possibility to load the desktop website

Wow, this one is the most stupid thing to do ever. I hate all the websites that do not have the option to see the full website.

Usually the desktop version has more information and also more options than the mobile one, some might want to use that one. So why disabling the user’s choice to view the desktop version?

The best thing to do is to redirect the user to the mobile version when he first loads the URL, but then give him an option to see the desktop version.

4. Adding all the content you can find on one page

Mobile phones have a very small screen compared to desktops. Even if the resolution is very big, it doesn’t mean you can stuff more things on that little screen. You will just have lots of very small objects on the page and the smartphone user will have to zoom-in/zoom-out.

For the mobile version add only the important information, redirect users to a page with more details if needed.

5. Not testing the website on different phones and browsers

Your website might work on the latest Samsung Galaxy S3 and on the iPhone 5, but not everybody has one of these. Where a page could look great on one of those two, it could look weird and nonfunctional on other.

Go ahead and check how your mobile and desktop websites are working on mobile phones and different browsers.

6. Not optimizing the content and code

I know the internet speed is incredible fast right now, but only for some phones which have the hardware capability and only for those users who are in a network that supports those speeds.

People don’t like to wait for a page to load, they want to get it as fast as possible. That means you have to use as few images as possible and reduce their size very much, think also about optimizing the size of the html and css page that is delivered.


Other things that make your Mobile Campaign Fail

7. Having too many text entry boxes

If you use your smartphone on a daily basis, you know that it’s a bit more complicated to type compared to using a keyboard. People use smartphones when they are away from their computers, while waiting for something, while traveling and even when staying on the toilet.

Even if they use it all day long, they don’t have so much wish to fill out a lot of forms and check tens of check-boxes just to get in a campaign/contest/giveaway, people are lazy. Making the form complicated makes them just run away, as few forms as possible are the way to get someone in the campaign.

8. Making a complex mechanism for your campaign

Once I was at a conference about mobile marketing and they were talking about how to make a registration process for mobile contest very easy but still get all the information you need from the participant.

The funny thing is that one of the sponsors (which btw was a mobile marketing agency) had a giveaway and to participate you had to do the following:

  1. Install a QR code scanner from App store
  2. Scan the QR code and get redirected to download their Augmented Reality Contest App
  3. Install the Augmented Reality Contest App
  4. Open it and insert your name, e-mail address and your phone number
  5. Get an SMS with a code and insert it into the application
  6. Use the camera to search for their hidden logo at the conference and click on it (click wasn’t working that good)
  7. OMG, now you are registered.

Good that they didn’t want me after the steps above to do a picture with my phone, print it and send it via post to their office and later get a confirmation letter with another code to insert in the app.

The longer and complicated you do the registration process , the lesser people will get to the last step and get registered. Make it simple, put yourself in their place!

9. Using QR codes just because they are cool

I’ve seen lots and lots of campaigns that used QR codes, most of them didn’t work because of different issues. Some of them were redirecting the user to a 404 page, some directly to the full non-mobile-functional-website, some were so small you couldn’t scan them and some were just not working.

Also seen a QR code on a bus. Now really, how safe is that? Driving your car and in the same time trying to take a picture of the moving bus. Another interesting one was in a toilet, you ask yourself what to do with what hand.

The list can be expanded and I’m looking forward for your to post a funny happening with a Mobile Presence Fail or your most serious thoughts on what makes mobile presence fail.

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