TopRank Online Marketing
Brian Larson

SES Toronto: Smart Mobile Marketing

By Brian Larson     Mobile, Online Marketing, Search Engine Strategies

Mobile Marketing Panel at SES TorontoThe “Smart Mobile Marketing” session was a panel discussion, moderated by TopRank CEO Lee Odden. To begin the discussion, Lee opened with a question for the room of 80+, “How many people in the room have developed a mobile version of a site?” 3-4 hands slowly raise. And with that, the stage is set: There is a lot of learning to do surrounding mobile marketing.

The session panel consisted of 2 leaders and veterans of the mobile marketing industry, Deborah Hall and Michael J. O’Farrell.

Deborah Hall

Hall founded web2mobile 3 years ago, frustrated with the user experience when trying to access a site via a smart phone. One of the greatest challenges she noticed was the upload speed, or lack thereof, of sites.

Here are some interesting stats Hall shared regarding when users access their mobile device:

  • 80% while shopping in stores
  • 17% during movies
  • 14% while on a plane
  • 7% while in church

Maybe most interesting to mobile marketers, 17% of users have showed a store clerk an image of the product they wish to purchase! This stat is indicative of many of the fringe benefits mobile marketing offers brands. Although these 17% of users didn’t transact via their mobile device, they certainly were informed and aspired through mobile marketing.

To inspire the audience, Hall pointed out a few companies that are emerging as leaders in leveraging mobile technology and highlighted GetGlue. For those new to GetGlue, it is a social network for entertainment where users can check into locations as well as check into “things” (e.g. wine, Will Ferell movies, chess, etc.). The end result is a network where people can theoretically find people in close proximity with similar interests.

Michael J. O’Farell

O’Farrell’s professional experience with mobile predates text messaging and he is the founder of The Mobile Institute – a company that helps clients develop strategies for the mobile marketplace.

During his presentation he, similar to Hall, shared many compelling stats about the growth of mobile marketing. As the session opened for QA, O’Farrell and a crowd member pointed out an interesting benefit to mobile marketing revealed by data collected by Google on search habits: mobile use doesn’t dip. Unlike desktop search, where use on weekends, holidays and evenings drop significantly. That’s simply not the case with mobile, where users are consistent and unrelenting in their activity. These images tell the tale.

As the session continued, the next question needed to be asked. With a timid crowd, Lee thankfully stepped to the plate and asked “What are some tips for the audience on how they can get started?” Both O’Farrell and Hall agreed that the first step is research.

Google Analytics provides data on mobile traffic. Marketers should leverage these numbers to form a picture of their current mobile audience and prioritize their efforts accordingly. That is to say, a company with 3 visitors from mobile devices is not likely to invest the same resources into mobile as a company that has 30,000 mobile visitors.

The next step is understanding how your audience uses mobile. Google Analytics provides data on what Operating Systems (OS) visitors use. This is important and should have a big role in your mobile marketing approach, as different OS’s will require different specs for a mobile site.

Finally, get out there and try. O’Farell and Hall recommend a phased approach where marketers can dip their toes in the water by testing different mobile strategies. There will undoubtedly be some misses at the outset of any mobile marketing effort, but as mobile use continues to grow, there is no denying that it is time take the leap.

Canada is following the United States in adopting smart phones, with 50% of the Canadian population expected to own a smart phone in 2014 (55% is expected in the US).

To learn more, check out these top mobile marketing resources.


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