This month our group customer conference call was all about website marketing for your growing Mobile Audience. This is a chunky subject area to take on, so I told the group to think of it as an introduction piece with more to follow soon.
Well now it’s been delivered I can see that “soon” should have been “very soon”. There seems to be a pace of change to this area that is unlike anything else I have experienced before. In comparison the use of Social Media grew like Topsy, but was driven predominately by sites like Facebook, Twitter and dare I say it Bebo. Mobile web use seems to be driven by a whole host of interconnecting forces that are all motivated to push its use ahead at an increasing pace.
Handsets are one of these driving forces. The range now on offer makes them ideal for all types of users. Last month I presented in Taupo at a conference of builders. These are people used to phones that need to survive the rough and tough life of dust, water and general handset hardship. I asked those without a Smartphone to raise their hands – about 10% did. I then asked those who had one to tell me if they had checked their email today – this was at midday – everyone had.
Samsung is due to release its highly regarded S4 handset this month. No doubt Apple will have another beautiful offering arriving sometime this year – just in time for Christmas. Blackberry – remember them – everyone seemed to have written them off as a handset maker destined to the scrap yard. Well they are back to profitability with their new Z10 handset that surprise, surprise is without mini buttons and with nice shiny screens. And guess who makes one of the top selling phones for geek minded people in NZ… yep… SONY with its Xperia Z product which even works underwater. They all have one thing in common; bright, clear and very sizeable screens that make web browsing even easier than it was before.
Fortunately the mobile network providers tell us they are ready and waiting for these new devices. From the billboards near the office I see that 4G is live with Vodafone in Auckland and coming soon across the main centres. Telecom will no doubt be not far behind. I have no idea how much faster the extra G is going to be but expect browsing to take on a whole different experience when we can pop from screen to screen with the same speed – or possibly better – than your office network.
Google is sharpening its mobile game too. The AdWords Enhanced Campaign release comes with a raft of new features and a sizeable amount are focused on improving your mobile advertising. Now you can modify your bids to target those using their super smart phone searching for what you offer when they are a) nearby your office and b) searching during your office hours.
So what does this all mean? I went through a range of tactics during our coaching call but here’s a few that need special mention.
#1 Dive into Google Analytics to find out exactly what this all means to you.
Head into your Google Analytics account and see a) how much traffic your website is currently receiving from mobile devices and b) how those are faring as they move from page to page on their mini screens. With regards to visitor volume, generally we see a relatively slow build in 2011, things start to perk up in mid 2012 and then a definite curve starts from there. How steep your curve upwards is all depends on your audience and how likely they are to look for what you offer while they are out and about.
Your normal desktop styled content will either just cope or struggle. We have yet to see a mobile audience that “consumes” desktop content better than their desktop friends.
#2 Check your mobile “face”.
So your analytics will show you the stats but how do this pages exactly look like through an iPhone or Smartphone screen? During our conference call I picked out a few sites to visit to answer this question, Google’s own http://www.howtogomo.com is one that I mentioned and is a good starting point. Otherwise you can run through your reports to see which devices are the most common, put an email out around the office on the hunt for some samples, then click away to experience it all for yourself.
Already own a mobile site? If it’s been up for a while it may pay to check it over again with some fresh new devices with their latest browsers running. Last week I tested a mobile site that had been up for a year for a local technology company of reasonable size and found it wanting.
If things look dire through your dinky screens then it’s best to get a simple mobile site up and running as a quick fix. Fortunately being mobile there’s not much of a need for massive amounts of content. Just present what you have for desktop people in a reduced form and within a format that suits thumb based navigation.
#3 Consider hunting for those mobile searchers
As I mentioned before the AdWords Enhanced Campaign release from Google now makes it easier than ever to target mobile prospects with your search advertising. Your marketing messages for this group will be slightly different that their desktop searching cousins. So the usual steps of split testing your content will need to apply to figure out which content appeals the most.
So there you are. These three simple tactics should help you prepare for the growing wave of mobile use. These are the critical parts of all this when it comes to Mobile website marketing – moving forward.
We will be keeping a close watch on how this type of traffic builds over the year. My pick is that it will have all the lead generation promise that Social Media had – but with a fraction of the marketing noise. Be prepared.