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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Gazdecki

How To Become A Mobile-First Agency

The importance of mobile in today’s business world is evident. Even so, many marketers and brands plan their marketing initiatives with the desktop in mind, which is out of alignment with current consumer behavior. Mobile-first agencies don't just recognize mobile as a next step -- they know it's the only way to cater to today’s consumer, and they are right.

The numbers behind mobile paint a compelling picture regarding its impact: 

Almost 90% of smartphone users grab their smartphone within an hour of waking up.

• Mobile's market share is larger than desktops by almost 8%.

• Mobile devices dominate total minutes spent online, with 69% (registration required) of total digital minutes spent on mobile in the U.S.

What Does Mobile-First Mean?

A mobile-first approach means placing the mobile experience above traditional strategies, even above the desktop. In other words, a company’s digital marketing and communication tactics will be devised for mobile firstand then expanded to other platforms. Mobile-first is often described or implemented in terms of design and development, but it encompasses more than that. Similar to terms like “big data” and “artificial intelligence,” “mobile-first” is an umbrella term that embodies a number of different ideas and approaches.

For some companies, becoming mobile-first is seen as a matter of mobile optimization, ensuring that all web pages are responsive on mobile devices. In fact, 51% of all digital ad budgets in 2016 were spent on mobile.

For other marketers and agencies though, the shift to become mobile-first is much more transformative. It involves restructuring the entire approach towards the customer experience, not only to recognize the impact that mobile is having but also to put greater emphasis on the customer interactions taking place on these devices.

Why Is Becoming Mobile-First Important?

We've already established that mobile devices are popular and users spend a lot of time on them, but that's just the introduction to mobile's impact on the marketing world. Mobile is important not only because people are using these devices but because of how people use them.

For example, use of online promotional coupons is becoming far more common, with 145.3 million users expected in the U.S. by 2021. In addition, more than half of all video viewing is now done on mobile. These statistics showcase that a mobile-first approach can be crucial as users respond better to marketing efforts in the mobile environment -- whether it’s email, video or other content.

Looking at this from a macro-level, mobile is an expected and increasingly necessary part of the customer journey. Consumers want to use their mobile device to interact with a brand. If that interaction isn’t available or isn’t what they expect when compared with competitors, it’s bad news for the business.

What Does A Mobile-First Agency Look Like?

While mobile marketing is core to many businesses, becoming mobile-first looks different for different parties. Some companies will consider themselves mobile-first because their app is a local marketing tool. This is the equivalent of just having a foot in the door of mobile-first. 

A true mobile-first business has transformed the existing customer journeyto include mobile touchpoints and understands the value of their mobile strategies, in terms of how it is driving business and increasing revenue.

An undeniably mobile-first business reaches this status after achieving two goals:

1. They have evolved beyond simple mobile development to adopt a mobile-focused culture across all or most organizational efforts.

2. They can accurately measure their mobile spend, as well as the cost to acquire and retain mobile users.

A mobile-first agency, then, helps businesses complete these two primary goals. They don’t just focus on mobile strategies and experiences, they live and breathe them. This dedication allows them to understand everything about their clients and their target audiences, including their use of mobile devices -- when, where, for what purpose, for how long, do they use one hand or two and every question in between.

How To Become A Mobile-First Agency

If you want to become a mobile-first digital agency, you first have to take a step back. Rather than focusing on individual strategies that relate to mobile, you need to set a foundation for your client’s mobile journey. Start by uncovering how their customers use mobile devices and how those behaviors lead them toward (or away from) making a purchasing decision or converting. Accurately determining how these behaviors will transpire is at the core of mobile-first marketing and mapping the customer journey.

There are a number of factors that can influence this journey and change how the customer behaves. Each of these touch points needs to be dissected on a mobile level in order to predict and affect them. But a mobile-first agency needs to go beyond mere touchpoints. Harvard Business Reviewfound that “organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue and greater employee satisfaction.” Mobile-first agencies look at the bigger and more important picture: the customer’s end-to-end mobile journey.

Mobile innovation happens fast, it’s important to keep a pulse on what’s coming next as a mobile-first agency. Google’s switch to mobile-first indexing is causing a real buzz in the industry, as it places mobile sites at the top of the search results. Furthermore, the mobile app industry will experience a shift to progressive web apps in 2018, which could eclipse native mobile apps.


Mobile has changed our daily interactions with brands. Whether we're searching, researching, purchasing or just killing time, mobile is now a critical player in all of these actions. The mobile-first approach recognizes mobile's tremendous impact on these brand interactions and focuses on strategies that will attract customers in the increasingly mobile future.



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