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Comment: What does the Google GoMo announcement mean for brands?

Google has announced its clearest position yet on mobile – brands need to go mobile or they will lose out. By Martin Wilson


Comment: What does the Google GoMo announcement mean for brands?

Google has announced its clearest position yet on mobile – brands need to go mobile or they will lose out. By Martin Wilson

A leading exec at Google has shone the spotlight on mobile and expressed their frustration at the current poor consumer experience - as so many leading brands continue to fail to adopt a strategic approach to mobile. The key insights highlighted in their research shows the opportunity that brands are missing out on and why the new Google GoMo initiative is so important.

Mobile is the future of Google and in particular mobile web. As Apple continues on its mission to be the king of applications, Google is taking another route to the top – the mobile web.

To Google mobile web matters. The GoMo initiative that was launched last week is very interesting and firmly shows Google’s intent.
Google is interested in the mass market. By default they already have established a dominate position in mobile search but that is not enough, they can’t afford to sit back. Their latest announcement shows that they are listening to the many mobile users who are becoming increasingly frustrated by the poor experience of mobile web.

Just because a desktop site can be viewed on a mobile phone does not mean it is mobile-friendly, Google said yesterday when it announced its newest initiative focused on driving innovation on the mobile web. Mobile sites should be designed for the small screen, with the specific needs of mobile users in mind (yes, a consumers' needs are typically very different).

Google have stated their intent – the search results that they return to mobile users will be mobile focused, they will give higher ranking to mobile optimised websites. It will no longer be good enough to force mobile users to a PC website, or I suspect even to re-direct based on PC optimised content. Mobile is going to demand its own strategy and brands need to react, and quickly.

“While consumer usage continues to explode on mobile, the quality of the sites on the mobile web hasn’t yet caught up,” said Jason Spero, director of mobile, at Google, Mountain View, CA. “Earlier this year, we found that 79% of our largest advertisers didn’t have a mobile optimised presence.
“Web sites that aren’t optimised for mobile deliver a bad experience for users, and in turn, lead to missed opportunities for advertisers and businesses across the web,” he said. “The mobile web experience needs to improve in order for mobile commerce to take its next leap forward.
“Businesses – your customers are already looking for you on the mobile web and if your site isn’t optimised, they may look elsewhere for your products or services. As mobile continues to grow, it will be increasingly important for you to provide your potential and existing customers with an experience that’s designed specifically for a mobile device.”

Google’s initiative announced yesterday is not just an altruistic move on their part. More mobile-optimised sites means more money for Google. At the same time, mobile optimised sites really are important for businesses so it is a win-win situation.

So why is Google so enthusiastic about the mobile web?The more mobile-optimised sites are out there the better the consumer experience and more frequently people will turn to Google. So more mobile web sites will ultimately benefit Google’s bottom-line through spend on mobile search marketing and display advertising.

So why should brands react?
Mobile is already huge - some 20% of all Google search activity is now via mobiles. Yet still very few organisations have a presence that can be effectively viewed on a mobile device, including a Smartphone. Not having a mobile site is equivalent to a brand literally turning off its website one day a week. Those that think there is still time before they need to react, think again – It is already well reported that a high percentage of consumers will typically turn to a competitor if a brand’s mobile experience is poor.

According to Google, customers are using the mobile web to connect with local businesses. Some 95% of Smartphone users have searched for local information, claims Google. Sixty-one% of consumers call a business after searching for it and 59% visit the location.

Additionally, 90% of people act within 24-hours.
Mobile web has many advantages and supports the simple, or casual, interaction that many consumers want when they typically search.
On its new site, Google says that apps are fun and useful but many consumers prefer mobile sites for shopping and other every day activities. According to Adobe, 81% of people prefer a mobile site over apps for researching prices, 79% prefer a mobile site for product reviews and 63% prefer to purchase via a mobile site.

What should brands do?
Get in touch with an organisation that understands mobile and can deliver the results. Even those brands that have invested in mobile should now review their activties, very few have mobile services that operate effectively on the full range of mobile devices and more worrying optimised at level for mobile search discovery.

Martin Wilson is Managing Director of Mobileweb Company

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