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My iPhone is pretty much glued to my hand. In fact, I rarely use my laptop outside of work to access the internet. This is fairly typical as a recent study showed that 45% of young adults do most of their internet browsing on their smartphones.

I know the mobile experience is different than the laptop–but what’s the difference between mobile and online from a marketing perspective? Aren’t they pretty much the same thing?

Apparently not.

Technical Differences
Ever notice when you view a site on your phone, there’s an “m.” or “mobile.” before the normal URL? That’s because the site you access from a mobile device is an entirely different site from the one you would access from your computer. Generally, mobile sites are created and managed by a different team from traditional sites and are often even outsourced to a third party specializing in mobile development.

The actual execution of marketing initiatives on a mobile site is very similar to the execution on traditional sites. Ads have to be reformatted to fit the smaller real estate of a mobile screen. Activity is tracked in a similar fashion (with pixels and firing logic) but the effort must be duplicated for the new site – you’ll want to be able to report back the effectiveness of campaigns on both mobile and online. This brings us to another crucial difference for marketers…

Audience Segmentation
Many of today’s marketers are becoming highly sophisticated with how they’re messaging customers and prospects. The type of device a consumer uses when interfacing with your brand may reveal important clues about how to best market to that audience segment.

For example, a multi-channel retailer with brick-and-mortar stores, a print catalog, e-commerce, and an m-commerce app may find that “LoSoMo” campaigns targeting smartphone users effectively drives consumers to the stores. The same customer segment may not respond as well to email promotions. Instead, the best email respondents may be tablet or laptop users.

Recognizing the differences in both the technical and communication aspects of mobile promotions from other digital channels gives marketers a better opportunity to improve response and achieve overall objectives.

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