The growth of mobile internet usage is without precedent right now. More people are using their smartphones to access the internet and engage with downloaded applications than ever before. Thanks to the advancement of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets specifically, marketers have completely new channels in which to develop their promotional strategies. In today’s business climate, there’s a great opportunity for marketers to take advantage of this shift in user behavior, as more people conduct business and use their mobile devices for personal use.
I recently read an excellent whitepaper on Permission and Privacy within the mobile marketing space and thought it was worth noting the 6 C’s as outlined in the whitepaper:
These 6 C’s, or guidelines, offer thoughts on Best Practices of how to effectively manage a mobile marketing strategy. Unfortunately, in the land of “spam” too many unscrupulous marketers, and I use the term marketers loosely, choose the easy path of ignoring these important steps looking to simply play the percentages. Typically, spammers ignore all measure of ethics and simply cast as wide a net as possible ignoring Best Practices. No matter how irrelevant the marketing message may be, given the sheer volume of spam that is sent, spammers believe if they can get even .05% to convert, the “spam” campaign is profitable. But for real businesses, who want to protect their reputation and brand, these 6 C’s should be referenced whenever new mobile campaigns are considered. Customers will take notice of the extra effort and in the long run it will increase your reputation and the effectiveness of your mobile marketing strategies.
With the explosive growth of smartphone usage over the last couple of years, businesses have to be ready to embrace mobile marketing. Depending on who you talk to, you may be playing “catch up” already if you have not employed a mobile marketing strategy. While certain industries seem to be ahead of the digital curve, social media and advanced mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, are influencing how businesses connect with and market to their target audience. But what exactly is mobile marketing, and how much of an impact does Google have in shaping that definition? Given their market share in search and the success of the Android OS, I tend to lean toward Google having tremendous influence over how mobile marketing will be executed. Given the sway in which Google may affect mobile marketing, there is still the user experience businesses must consider. At the end of the day, you need to strike a balance between how the search engines and real people view your site, because they are very different. Regardless of the technical ramifications of Google’s views on mobile devices, if you do not like the look of your site from an Android or iPhone powered device, creating a mobile version of your site is essential. With that said, let’s take a closer look at the technical ramifications based on Google’s current smartphone ideology.
Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google recently posted an article on the Official Google Webmaster Blog about “making websites mobile friendly”. There is one point in particular mentioned in the blog I feel gives an indication where Google might be shaping what is considered “mobile marketing” from a technical perspective. He states in the article, “For now, we expect smartphones to handle desktop experience content so there is no real need for mobile-specific effort from webmasters.” My take on this explanation, Google sees smartphones as a PC you can put in your pocket. If Google doesn’t see a need to create mobile-specific content for visitors using these devices, can we make the assumption you do not need to create mobile-specific marketing for these devices? If you are at home using your PC or on the road using your smartphone to browse the internet, Google views the devices to connect to the internet the same. It is an interesting concept considering Google’s definition of the smartphone, which Far explains are “Phones with browsers that render normal desktop pages, at least to some extent. This category includes a diversity of devices, such Windows Phone 7, Blackberry devices, iPhones, Android phones, and also tablets and eBook readers.” However, the user experience side of the discussion can not be ignored and Far addresses this by additionally stating, “However, for many websites it may still make sense for the content to be formatted differently for smartphones, and the decision to do so should be based on how you can best serve your users.”
As with many online marketing initiatives, I believe mobile marketing will evolve over time. That evolution will be greatly influenced by the amount of smartphones in use. I believe at some point even the most simplified cell phones will be considered smartphones. If this is true and Google’s views on smartphones stays consistent (two big IF’s, but still possible) will there be any need for mobile-specific marketing? I believe the answer is yes, but the direction will be device focused versus the current broad concept of “mobile marketing”. For example, if iPhone users are more likely to view video ads and Android users are more likely to view ads embedded in apps, then your “device driven” marketing strategy should take these factors into consideration.
You have stepped up to the plate and made the (smart) decision to create a mobile friendly version of your website. That is great news, especially because the number of mobile users continues to rise and you ought to ensure that your website can accommodate this growing market segment. So, now all you have left to do is design the mobile site and you’re done, right? WRONG! Just when you think you have all of your bases are covered, you don’t. There are a few important factors to consider before building out your mobile site.
Now, you might be asking yourself, how do I figure out which devices my visitors are using? This information can be easily found in your analytics program. If you utilize Google Analytics, click on Visitors (on the left navigation) then click on Mobile and finally, Mobile Devices. The results may astound you! Remember: having a mobile site is only half the battle; it should be optimized properly for your mobile audience, whatever that audience might be.