I've orded a book called 'Content Strategy for Mobile' which should be an interesting read however, surely if your content is good enough for your desktop site should the same not apply for mobile? Why would you need a content strategy just for mobile?

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    I suspect the introduction to your book will tell you the author's opinion on the subject. Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 17:06
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    Indeed it does! Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 17:46
  • is this the book you are referring to: abookapart.com/products/content-strategy-for-mobile Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 17:53
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    Indeed I am Charles.
    – Reloaded
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 17:59
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    Many would claim that your penultimate statement is correct. It should, however, be turned around due to the "mobile first" paradigm: "If your content is good enough for mobile, then it's also good enough for desktop..." Commented Feb 9, 2013 at 12:13

3 Answers 3


There's no such thing as content strategy for mobile.

That's the first line in the introduction of this book.

It then goes on to say - as you will find out when you get the book:

There is such a thing as a content strategy that plans for how you’ll publish and maintain your content across all these new and emerging platforms: smartphones and tablets, sure, but also smart TVs, refrigerators, in-car audio systems—even the desktop web. But “holistic enterprise content strategy” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, right? Mobile’s the buzzword on everyone’s lips right now, so that’s the label we’ve slapped on this problem.

When we talk about content strategy for mobile, we’re not talking about publishing different content to be read on smartphones. That wouldn’t be much of a strategy—who can afford to create content for only one platform? If content strategy means developing a plan for how you will create, deliver, maintain, and govern your content, then content strategy for mobile looks at the special challenges in getting your content onto a variety of devices, screen sizes, and platforms—including mobile web, native apps for iOS, Android and Windows, and, yup, even the desktop.

When we talk about content strategy for mobile, we’re also not talking about delivering content to serve the “mobile context.” “Mobile” seemingly implies motion, mobility. We imagine a hurried businesswoman, dashing through the airport, glancing at the screen out of the corner of one eye. But like the “dial” tone, the “return” key, and “cut and paste,” the word “mobile” has expanded to mean something different from its analogue in the physical world. Anyone who’s ever pecked at his mobile phone from the couch, too lazy to walk over to his desktop computer just a few feet away, knows exactly what we’re talking about. Anyone who’s ever waited for hours in that same airport, passing the time transfixed by a tiny glowing screen, knows the same thing. “Mobile” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re on the move.


People really don't tend to consume different content on their mobile devices. Looking at data from my clients, the top 20-50 searches and top 20-50 pages viewed on desktop and mobile tend to be very consistent.

Beyond that, we have to take into account some new behaviors, like the rise of the "mobile only" user (31% of Americans who access the internet from their mobile device say that's the way they always or mostly access the internet, according to Pew Internet.) We have to consider sequential usage of devices, where people start a task on a mobile phone and pick it up later on the desktop (90% of people report using their device this way, according to Google.) In both of these cases, users benefit from having the same content on every device.

Stop making assumptions about how users want to consume content differently on mobile. Instead, put a plan in place for delivering all of your desktop content on mobile devices. Aim for content parity. If you think some content isn't worth having on mobile, then it's not valuable to your desktop users either.


People tend to consume different content on their mobile devices to what they would consume on their desktop devices, and each has different capabilities when it comes to using it. So the strategy is to show people the type of content on their mobile devices that they would typically consume more on mobile, or in a format that would be easier for them to consume on mobile. The same goes for desktop.

For many sites, they only have one type of content, in which case they should of course show the same content on each device, but they should consider how they format that content. On my phone, I want content to be more readable, and fancy layouts are generally just frustrating. On my desktop, I have more space, and would like a different layout to the content, even if they are fundamentally the same.

In summary, you should choose the content and the format of that content based on what makes the most sense given the device that a person is consuming that content on.

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    Hi John, thank you for a great answer. I was wondering about "people tend to consume different content on their mobile devices to what they would consume on their desktop". I thought that was apparently a "myth" and that people wish to consume the same content on both devices? Be great to get your insight on this.
    – Reloaded
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 17:36
  • @Reloaded A typical example is that it is easier to create on a laptop than on a tablet, so any content that I am likely to want to make notes is easier to consume on my laptop. But content that is just reading, I can do on each just as well. Focus on what each is good at, and where someone would prefer one over the other.
    – JohnGB
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 18:32
  • While it may be easier to consume said content on your laptop, there's no good argument to prevent people from getting to it on any device. In fact, the biggest argument for allowing it is that more and more people are accessing the web only through mobile devices.
    – DA01
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 19:25

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