Six lessons from Mobilegeddon

Rob Marston

In digital since dial-up, Rob Marston works at the bleeding edge of digital and mobile marketing and has built his reputation on an unwavering passion for nascent industries. With two decades of expertise under his belt, in 2012 he founded specialist mobile agency, Zeus Unwired, which works with clients including Yahoo, EA, Woolworths, Adobe and Jack Daniels on mobilising advertising and harnessing brand potential using continually-evolving digital technology. Today, he's the head of Airwave A/NZ. Rob also lectures at The University of Sydney, UTS and RMIT, and is a regular speaker on the potential of mobile.

Google’s Mobilegeddon is the lesson many big companies are learning the hard way.

The only companies impacted are those who have until now ignored that practically every living soul owns a smartphone (90 per cent Australian penetration and counting), and that desktop searches are already dwarfed by searches carried out on a mobile device.

Mobilegeddon shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Google states that its mission is “to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Google’s audience is undoubtedly mobile with ‘near me’ searches grown 34 times since 2011. This, coupled with high smartphone penetration, proves mobile is your audience’s preferred way of connecting.

It’s never been more critical for a business to check in on its mobile evolution. So here are my six recommendations for businesses in any doubt about where they sit on mobile:

  1. What percentage of total site traffic is mobile? I’d guestimate 35 per cent on average, however if yours is in the range of 25 per cent or more, it’s time to ensure your site is optimised for mobile. Google’s free tool is a great place to start.

  2. What devices are consumers using? Compare devices (smartphone/tablet) and operating systems (Android/iOS). This will give guidance on what to develop next if you already have a mobile optimised site. Sixty-seven per cent of all apps are found by AppStore searches, so a place in the App ecosystem is valuable, albeit requiring significant investment in time and resources. Apps need to be a complete top-to-bottom mobile experience, not just a mobile site with an option to ‘add this icon to your homescreen’.

  3. When are consumers using their devices? According to research by IAB UK, 50 per cent of tablet usage is after 7pm, a figure that’s explained by the slightly older demographic of the tablet audience. Research also shows that tablet devices convert better to sale than smartphones, which are used more for exploring. In addition, the peak for leading shopping sites is Sunday night, so an ecommerce player would be wise to a) Invest heavily in search at these times; b) Utilise video advertising, which indexes higher on tablet; c) Ensure payment is easy by offering PayPal, for example; and d) Check that the mobile site loads quickly.

  4. Analyse your competitors’ mobile offering in order to improve your own.Let’s break this down:
    • Do they have an app? What does it do and what doesn’t it do? How does it rank and what is the general feedback? Note: There are two types of AppStore reviews: 5-star reviews (or employees); and the more candid reviews rating less than 5 stars and offering genuine insight into where and how apps can be improved).
    • Is their site optimised for mobile? How does the experience differ from desktop, if at all? How does it differ from yours?
    • Are they already active in mobile search? How do their results look? That is, do they feature click to call? App download? Map extensions? Is the landing page optimised for mobile?

  5. Track like you are auditioning for CSI. In the words of Peter Drucker: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Enable the ability to track, analyse and optimise the data ‘clues’ your audience leaves. The quickest way to make the best mobile experience is to understand what does and doesn’t work already.

    For example, if you’re marketing an app, understand which users open the app two or more times, as this is a better indicator of engagement (considering only one in five apps are used after three months, it’s good to score early repeats). Similarly, analyse the super-users to discover what they love about it and why they use it.

  6. Location is the new cookie. For years, we’ve been able to target users by the content they read/watch and by behaviour (such as frequently at airport lounges vs grocery shopping on weekdays). Mobile creates the holy trinity – location.

    Where users are can be even more important than what they are reading. For example, whether a business executive you’re targeting is reading the news or looking up a restaurant, that they are at the airport means you can offer them car hire when they need it. Businesses really do need to get on board with location.

Tags: mobile marketing, digital strategy

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