The shift from desktop to mobile requires a very different approach to content creation, according to Tim Burge of Maxymiser, who here explains why consumers are typically looking for different products, services and experiences during a mobile interaction than they do on the wider internet. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

Although the worlds of the computer-based web browser and the mobile browser at first seem similar, they are actually radically different in purpose - as far as the user is concerned, at least. Consumers are not going to be making mortgage or credit card applications via the mobile; nor are they likely to browse holiday destinations on a small screen; they are, however, likely to order flowers or book cinema tickets.

Organisations need to understand how users want to interact with the business via mobile - and having made a basic hypothesis, multivariate testing plays a critical role in justifying the strategy. At the most basic level, an organisation can test the importance of a mobile optimised site: sending 50% of users to a dedicated mobile site and the other 50% to the traditional web site will provide a clear measure of conversion rates - and typically confirm that an optimised model is more successful. Similarly, testing can help to refine ideas and provide insight into the way customers are interacting, enabling the organisation to build a business case and prioritise key areas of activity.

Indeed, with the continuing evolution of mobile usage - from the rapid adoption of tablets to the arrival of 4G - the way users interact will continue to change. It is, therefore, important to keep measuring: the mobile strategy cannot be set in stone. As the market matures, so must the strategy and the way content is delivered.

It is clear that the mobile marketplace offers huge potential for businesses. But consumer behaviour will vary considerably dependent upon business type, product or service on offer - and the quality of experience. Failure to understand this difference; to determine a strategy that reflects true customer behaviour; and to create relevant, personalised content and usable services will risk significantly undermining an increasingly critical aspect of revenue generation and customer retention.

Testing underpins every aspect of the mobile web strategy. But testing itself also demands far more rigour in this environment to take into account the diversity of devices, network speeds and user behaviours. When testing different calls to action, content or checkout buttons, for example, on a traditional web page basic assumptions can be made about screen size and the use of one of four interfaces. On mobile there are so many more variables to consider: one call to action may be fine on a Samsung Galaxy, but too wide for an iPhone 4.

"By taking a structured approach to testing, organisations can not only deliver the best user experience but also confidently begin to explore the added benefits and flexibility the mobile offers to gain stronger interactions with customers and tap into that pent up demand for mobile services," concluded Burge.