The Mobile Web: If you build it, will they find it?

The conversations about mobile are no longer about getting onto mobile, but on how you optimize for it so that your audience can find you. Many mobile users still do not know how to find the content they want. Consumer research from Nielsen Mobile says that attracting mobile web traffic extends the audience reach of online sites by an average of 13%. And comScore stated that on average, mobile display campaigns get a higher click through rate than online, averaging 2-3% for mobile vs. .25 – 1% online.

A white paper developed by mobiThinking states that the ability for consumers to discover any mobile content is a function of 3 linked factors:

– The ability for users to guess your mobile website name
– The ability for users to find your mobile site through search
– Traffic driving promotional strategies such as display advertising, SMS, IR, QR

Industry experts predict that mobile search will be a major source of revenue for content providers and marketers the next few years. In fact according to the white paper, Google CEO Eric Schmidt stated that his company’s revenues in mobile search will surpass search on the PC within the next few years. Wow.

So with all that said, how do you make your mobile site more discoverable? There are 3 guidelines that were published by mobiThinking, but before you think about them, you should first start with a confirmation of:

– Goals and objectives
What are you trying to achieve with mobile that the web cannot?

– The audience
Who are they? Where are they?

– The mobile environment
Linked to who your audience is, what environment are they in when they interact with your mobile content? (Airport, bus stop, eating at a restaurant or cafeteria etc.)

– The motivation & benefit
Why shall they interact or opt into your mobile campaign?

– The mobile behavior
What will they do and will not do on the mobile?

The 3 simple guidelines to improve mobile content discovery are:

– “Push” marketing
The quality of your campaign push will dramatically affect whether or not people will arrive at your mobi site. Even though mobile search is gaining popularity, people are more willing to opt into your message if you connect with them within mobile environments through display advertising, SMS opt ins, IR and even bluetooth.

There is a big difference between mobile time and desktop internet time. When we are on our desktop computers online, we search for content differently than when we are on our mobiles. We browse and surf more, not to forget that we also will submit our resumes and apply online.

On the mobile people don’t surf and browse as much…yet. And they won’t submit resumes and apply. They are in environments that are sometimes labeled “dead time” waiting for a train, bus, eating or at an airport. Pretty much anywhere other than a desk. They are more compulsive to opt into something that peaks their interest which brings us to the importance of the creative messaging and benefit that we are pushing into the mobile environments.

– Guessability
Have a name for your mobile site that your audience will instinctively guess. Recent mobile usabilty studies indicate that people tend to guess mobile sites as “yourbrand.mobi”. So using the .mobi not only helps with guessability but is also optimized for mobile search.

However, there are browser detect scripts that will redirect a mobile device to the proper mobi site. So, in other words, if your current domain has strong brand recall, and users search your .com, they would be redirected to the mobi site.

– Findability
This speaks to the .mobi url. A .mobi name is the only top-level domain name that is exclusively for mobile and mobile search engines consider those. They won’t consider a .wap, m., or mobile. url.

It is interesting to see the mobile web gain more popularity as devices and plans adapt to user demand. My question is will the mobile web platform become more invisible as more 3G phones with mobile aps become more mainstream?

TMP Worldwide
Written by TMP Worldwide

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