Marshall McLuhan, considered the grandfather of modern media studies, coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” This is more true in today’s mobile-first world than ever, with the growing variety of media to which we are all exposed. TVs, tablets, laptops, desktops and the ubiquitous smartphones all compete for our attention on multiple platforms. We’re looking at search engines, blogs and myriad social sites and apps, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, often simultaneously.

Mobile First: Meeting Consumer Demand

Device Atlas reports there are over 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide. That number is growing steadily. Statista estimates this will grow to 4.77 billion in 2017. The increasing number of mobile phone users requires brands to lead with a mobile first strategy. Creating content with mobile as an afterthought is no longer an option.

Consumers want a seamless experience. If brands make it difficult for them to move from one device to another, they will likely disconnect entirely. Google’s report “Micro-moments” offers more insight into how people use their mobile devices:

  • 68% of phone users say they check their phone within 15 min of waking up
  • 87% always have their smartphone at their side, day and night
  • People check their phones an average of 150 times per day and spend 177 minutes using them
  • 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phone during shopping in a physical location
  • 91% of users turn to their phones for ideas in the middle of a task

Most of this mobile activity is “non voice” usage, says Google. People use mobile for text, social media, shopping and searching for information, all with a swipe of their thumbs or tap of their fingers.

As new devices, services and technologies appear, marketing strategies must adapt. Consumers are rejecting traditional online advertising. Ad blocking grew by 41% globally, in the last 12 months, according to a recent PageFair study. Since online ads are unwanted by consumers, how do brands market to the masses of people engrossed in their Pinterest and Instagram feeds? To meet the masses who spend much of their time in mobile social apps, these marketers are turning to influencers.

Mobile First: Influencers Take Center Stage

As marketers struggle to go where consumers are, influencers find themselves at the center of this strange new world. Influencer marketing is inherently mobile first. It is also built to adapt quickly to ever-changing social trends. Influencers understand how to amplify the performance of content through social sharing, and they are naturally accustomed to engaging with their audiences on social platforms. Because influencers have already built their social presence, they know instinctively which content will perform best on each social platform.

Influencers use their mobile devices the same way consumers do. They know what works, in a mobile-first world, and can help marketers navigate. Beyond a mobile-first strategy, the real bonus for marketers doing influencer marketing is that both creation and distribution costs are included. Influencers act as both the creative engine and distribution engine.

Mobile First: Mobile Ad Spend Continues to Climb

According to eMarketer, mobile devices accounted for 51.9% of total digital spending in the U.S. in 2015, nearly surpassing desktop ad spending, for the first time. Mobile ad spend in the U.S. will grow from $28.477 billion, in 2015 to $40.241 billion, in 2016.

Marketers should pay attention to these figures to understand how to make their messages accessible to mobile users. Harnessing the power of influencers helps marketers rapidly adopt a mobile-first strategy, without requiring expertise or resources in-house.