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Mobile Marketing Discovery Tactics for the Mobile Web


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The mobile marketing guide to improving discoverability on the mobile Web. Tactics, approaches and case studies to help you improve your mobile marketing strategy.

Published in: Technology, Business

Mobile Marketing Discovery Tactics for the Mobile Web

  1. 1. Don’t get lost on the mobile Web: An eBook on Mobile Content Discoverability Mobile Content Discovery ©
  2. 2. How to get discovered on the mobile Web 1 On the mobile Web, many users still do not know how to find the content they want. This is a real handicap for marketers looking to exploit the range and reach of the mobile Web – and Forrester estimates that 83 per cent of marketers want to do just that. What’s clear is that getting your mobile content discovery strategy right can pay huge dividends: • Consumer researcher Nielsen Mobile says that attracting mobile Web traffic extends the audience reach of online sites by an average of 13% • Advertising research house Dynamic Logic says mobile promotion significantly increases brand awareness, favorability, and purchase intent • comScore, the marketing research firm, states that on average, mobile display campaigns get a higher click through rate than online, averaging 2-3 per cent for mobile versus 0.25–1% online Clearly the mobile opportunity is huge. What’s also clear is that the capacity of a consumer to discover any mobile Web site is a function of three linked factors. The first two are about marketing ‘pull’; the third is all about marketing ‘push’: • The ability for the user to guess your Web site name • The ability for the user to find your Web site using their favorite search engine • The means the site owner uses to promote its content to interested users – such as display advertising, shortcodes, SMS, and others All three issues are hot as marketers strive to influence consumers via mobile. And it’s a burgeoning opportunity. Research shows that only about a quarter of US consumers have as yet used a mobile phone to access the Internet. This paper explores mobile content discovery. Mobile Content Discovery ©
  3. 3. The importance of discovery 2 The mobile platform is great for marketing campaigns that aim for a one-click call completion, Why marketers like you care about where consumers can be instantly connected either to purchase something or find out more. mobile marketing The best mobile Web sites exploit the fact that mobile devices are always on, always on hand You can reach new audiences and always personal (hardly anyone shares their mobile phone). Who may never visit a PC website or spend hours in front of a TV. But this immediacy can only be harnessed if people can find your mobile Web site. That’s why industry experts predict that mobile search will be a major source of revenues for You can deepen relationships content providers and marketers in the next few years. Perhaps more importantly, Google agrees. By finding new ways to reach customers and new ways to inform or entertain them. Talking in early 2009 at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco You can deliver new services Google CEO Eric Schmidt stated that his company’s revenues in mobile search will surpass Including things you can only do (or would search on the PC within the next few years. only want to do) on a mobile. Marketing to mobile consumers will be stymied if users continue to find it difficult, You can build brand values frustrating and time consuming to find the content they want on the mobile Web. Mobile campaigns say you’re young, innovative, and customer-oriented. The capacity of a consumer to discover any mobile Web site is a function of three factors. You can tie in with wider campaigns The first two are about marketing ‘pull’; the third is all about marketing ‘push’: Completing your integrated campaigns • The ability for the user to guess your Web site name with the mobile piece of the puzzle. • The ability for the user to find your Web site using their favorite search engine • The means the site owner uses to promote its content to interested users – You can sell more stuff As mobile transactions skyrocket, there’s display advertising, shortcodes, and SMS among others plenty of potential to make the sale right from the handset. You can increase overall brand traffic Research (from Nielsen) shows conclusively that having a mobile Web site increases a brand’s overall online traffic by 13 per cent. To do these things, your mobile Web presence needs to be discoverable by consumers. Mobile Content Discovery ©
  4. 4. 3 Guessability Internet addresses are based on domain names. A domain name points to an IP address, The evolution of top level domains What is to the “right of the dot”, such as .com a technical numbering systems that identifies which computer hosts your website and where or .org is called the Top-Level Domain (TLD). it’s found. When the Internet’s naming system was invented, there were only a few TLD’s: .com When your domain name is the same as your brand name – like or - your web for commercial, .gov for government, .org site becomes “guessable”. This is brand nirvana: when consumers can type your company name for non-profits, .edu for educational and arrive at your website. Which is why getting the right URL is a key part of company naming institutions, .net for networks, and .mil for military. exercises these days. But when the Internet went global As mobile phones became Internet browsing devices, the body charged to allocate Internet names, and exploded in size, there was a requirement ICANN (for Internet Committee on Names and Numbers) created a new name space for the mobile to expand the number of naming conventions. Web called .mobi, and this remains the only ICANN-approved way of using your brand to help ICANN was formed to allocate names in a more denote your made-for-mobile Web site. equitable and future-proof fashion around the globe. This resulted in the creation of country code Top Level Domains (ccTLD) that provide a name space for every country in the world Specifically, .mobi means: using the ISO two-letter country code name. • Improved “guessability” because your customers and consumers will simply It’s why they use .uk in Britain and .fr in France. add .mobi to your brand • A concise, memorable and friendly name for a mobile user to easily remember This means that, when combined with your brand or business name, .mobi and type is the only name that indicates you have • A unique handle for your mobile site that differentiates the mobile experience a mobile-friendly Web site. from the desktop experience Excellent examples of guessability Mobile Content Discovery ©
  5. 5. Findability 4 But guessability is only part of the discoverability game. Your site must also be findable. How does a search engine work? A word or phrase entered into a search bar on a browser becomes a free-text query that While discovery is about more than just search – visitors don’t just find your site though search is sent to the search engine. The computer engines, but also via directories, blogs, reviews, word of mouth and other means – search is especially behind the search engine has an index of all important at this early stage of the mobile Web, because users aren’t yet familiar with how to find the words or phrases that appear on every mobile Web content. page on every Web site on the Internet. To build this index, search engines visit (called Findability is all about making sure that your Web page is at least considered by the search engines “spidering” or “crawling”) every page on the as they crawl the Internet looking for words. No amount of SEO technique will help you move up the Internet searching for keywords. Search engines relevancy ranking if your pages are not first on the list of results. start their crawls with what is called an Internet zone file. The Internet zone file only contains The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical naming system for computers on the Internet the name of your home page. The search and it impacts findability. The most important thing it is used for is to translate the name of a web engine spider crawls your home page and then visits each page that your home page links site into the numerical identifiers that are required to make connections – the IP addresses. to, and every page that those pages link to Think of it as the Internet Directory Service where you provide the name – for example and so forth. Thus, to get your site indexed, and the DNS returns the phone number (or in this case the IP address), you must make sure that your site is either Because of the way the DNS works, you only get one shot at having a search engine listed in an Internet zone file or is somehow find your mobile site, since you only get one entry in the ICANN Internet Zone files – the files search linked to a page that is in an Internet zone file. engines use to start every crawl. Once the index is created, it is then “inverted” so that instead of the Web pages pointing to Your .com entry will almost certainly already be used for your desktop Web site home page. the words, the words point to the index. You won’t get another entry for your mobile site if you use a naming convention other than .mobi, such as m., mobile., wap. or any other non-standard convention signifying a mobile website. The new inverted index is optimized for Only your .mobi address will guarantee you an additional entry for your mobile Web site. searching against the words that are entered into the search bar. Each word typed into the search bar is then used to create a list of web This is a really important issue, particularly as Google seems to have changed its approach pages that contain those words. The search to mobile search. engines use advanced algorithms to rank the search results in an effort to mimic what a typical user would consider relevant. Mobile Content Discovery ©
  6. 6. Google changes 5 In the recent past, Google listed mobile sites in a section of search results called “Mobile Web” below the main Web listing. Google now appears to have changed its policy on this to better represent sites that have a mobile-friendly view. To demonstrate this, try searching for “BMW” or “ZAGAT” on the mobile version of Google. For almost all mobile devices, you can often see and listed within the top three search results. This demonstrates that, despite the very high page rank of and, Google’s algorithms choose to display the made-for- mobile version first in the list. This is a relatively recent change, but an important development of which mobile marketers need to be aware. It’s also a wake-up call to Web site owners, many of whom allow mobile users to view their desktop Web site via the phone or rely on the search engine to “transcode” their desktop site. If you want to have a really bad mobile experience, do exactly the same search on the mobile version of Google, but this time search for “FORD” or “GAP”. Note how the customer is taken to a poorly transcoded experience courtesy of the Google transcoder, simply because these brands don’t have a good mobile site. BMW search listing on Zagat search listing on Mobile Content Discovery ©
  7. 7. 6 Device-specific sites and findability Some brand owners are creating sites that are specifically optimized for smartphones, particularly the Apple iPhone (which incidentally accounts for 50 times the search requests of any other device). Consumer research organization Nielsen has stated that smartphone usage drives mobile Web usage. Because these phones have the ability to access full HTML web pages, it could mean that, in reality, there’s no specific mobile content to index and rank. However this is the wrong approach for content owners. Just because users are using a fully-featured iPhone doesn’t mean that they aren’t looking for mobile-specific content. People on the move are still looking for sites to provide the kind of quick response information – phones numbers, train times – regardless of the device they use. And marketers also need to bear in mind that these devices make up only a tiny percentage of the four billion mobile phones in use today. If you know that your site’s audience all use smartphones, a tailored approach makes sense. But if you don’t, do you really want to exclude part of the audience? Mobile Content Discovery ©
  8. 8. So how do your make you site more discoverable? 7 1) Use a .mobi to point to your mobile Web site The main players in mobile search This ensures that you get a unique zone file entry to make sure you’re considered for the search Mobile search engines fall into four categories: index. At dotMobi, we recently conducted an experiment to test whether using the .mobi naming convention offers better search results than using other approaches to mobile site naming. The big brands from the PC Web Google and Yahoo are serious participants We created unique, random web content and deployed that same content against several in mobile search by any measure. Microsoft, AOL and Ask all also have mobile search different addresses including: offerings. See,, msn. • which also pointed to mobi,, • which also pointed to • which also pointed to The white-label providers • which also pointed to Led by Medio Systems and JumpTap, • which also pointed to who are normally behind the mobile operators’ own-brand search engines. With the best • with auto-detection logic which pointed to for mobile phones white-label providers, you should only need • to register your mobile site once to be found on all client search boxes. The log files on the web pages showed clearly that the pages pointed to by and The small number of consumer-oriented, mobile search engines were both crawled by the Google spider within twelve hours of being published on the Internet. Such as Taptu and 4Info. In addition, when the random generated words were typed into a Google search bar, only the .com See and and the .mobi pages were found. After two weeks, the only two naming conventions that made it into the search indices were the .com and the .mobi. None of the others were findable at all. Numerous niche players Who focus on vertical sectors and catalog search. 2) Follow many of the same guidelines as with the traditional Web There’s nothing inherently different about mobile SEO – best SEO practices apply to the mobile and traditional desktop environment. You need to follow the best-practice guidelines and make sure each page has a descriptive title; add tags; and use HTML headers for header. Mobile Content Discovery ©
  9. 9. 8 So how do your make you site more discoverable? (continued) 3) Register your site with as many search engines as possible And then as many mobile portals as possible. In addition, make sure your site links to other relevant mobile sites and encourage them to back-link to you. Search engines rely on cross-links between sites to map the Web and many mobile sites have no links at all. 4) Use auto-detection and switching links Most users will type in a name into the search bar that they already know and if they know you by your .com,, .de, .org, .net, or some other TLD name, you’ll want to satisfy them if they are on a mobile phone by directing them to the most suitable, mobile optimized, content. Furthermore, provide links or switching icons on your PC site to your mobile site and vice versa so that your users can control what content they want to view. 5) Think local Efficient mobile search allows marketers to reach buyers with offers that are relevant to their immediate interests. The importance of local search is growing fast because it’s far more measurable than a traditional organic listing. The number of mobile searches will increase in future as mobile phones become more sophisticated. Marketers must make sure they show up in these results.’s Dublin’s restaurant listings Mobile Content Discovery ©
  10. 10. 9 Three key differences between mobile and desktop content The first is the screen form factor. Even with the emergence of full-featured desktop-like browsers on platforms like the iPhone that have the ability to access full HTML web pages, presenting information. The mobile platform is limited – by size of screen, keyboard flexibility and, often, bandwidth. Traditionally, search engines that recognize a consumer is searching from a mobile phone have tried to adapt (called transcoding in the technical jargon) the Web site content to work on that phone with varying levels of success. Another central difference is the motivation of the searcher. Unlike most desktop searchers who have the screen real estate to cope with detailed, highly graphic information delivered over several pages, mobile users tend to want concise, snackable, and actionable information – the telephone number of a restaurant, what the weather will be like tomorrow, what time the movie starts and the like… Furthermore, the search behavior of people on the move is different – and mobile webmasters should be aiming to provide content that is relevant to people on the move. That means the site owner must optimize the mobile site around different keywords. Google itself has recognized this with the introduction of a specific mobile keyword tool that it recommends instead of traditional desktop keyword tools like Keyword discovery and Wordtracker.’s Ski forecast Mobile Content Discovery ©
  11. 11. Mobile discovery and promotion 10 Mobile ads increase brand awareness If organic mobile search is the ‘pull’ of discovery, display advertising, shortcodes, and other similar promotional mechanisms are the ‘push’. Both are vital constituents of a discovery strategy - Dynamic Logic has undertaken over 30 the yin and the yang of mobile marketing. mobile research studies in the US and the UK measuring the branding effects of mobile advertising campaigns across a number Mobile advertising of industry sectors. The campaigns included Mobile advertising in many ways resembles the traditional online advertising business that it sprung display ads on mobile WAP sites and downloadable mobile applications. from. Analysts argue that mobile advertising is worth in excess of $5 billion around the world today, mainly because of the size of the addressable market of mobile device users – almost 1.5 billion By comparing responses of people exposed people have access to the Internet via a mobile device. eMarketer predicts that spending on mobile to the mobile campaigns to those not ads will triple by 2011. Ad network Millennial Media believes that spending on mobile display ads exposed, Dynamic Logic concluded that is mushrooming: it estimates the current worldwide market for mobile display ads is $125 million mobile advertising can be effective in raising brand metrics throughout the purchase to $130 million, $100 million of which is new inventory added in the last 12 months. funnel, delivering an average of +23.9 percentage points in Mobile Ad Awareness. As in the online world, display units are made up of text links, advertising banners inserted into Average increases in Brand Favorability and mobile website pages and video ads. Paid for search models now exist that allow text ads to be Purchase Intent of +5.4 and +4.7 percentage shown in response to keywords entered on search bars. Almost 90 per cent of this advertising points, respectively, support the ability of (according to research company Dynamic Logic) is aimed at generating direct response. mobile advertising to change consumers’ attitudes towards a brand and to drive intent to purchase. According to eMarketer, this year’s mobile advertising spend is estimated to be nearly $5 billion globally, to triple by the year 2011. Yet, only 13% of all mobile advertising is intended for branding Dynamic Logic believes these surprising compared to 87% for direct response. results may stem from the very newness of the mobile advertising medium. The role of mobile advertising networks, such as Millennial Media and AdMob, are critical here, They say: “People may be intrigued and pay more attention to the advertising on their bridging the gap between a network of mobile Web sites that want to host advertisements and the mobile phone since it is presented on a advertisers who want to advertise. Advertisers buy mobile ad space from the networks’ inventory and smaller screen and is located in a less cluttered they, in turn, pay the mobile Web site owners revenue for allowing the placement of adverts on their environment compared to the Internet.” Web site. Mobile Content Discovery ©
  12. 12. Mobile discovery and promotion (continued) 11 HipCricket‘s Smart Codes Two industries have recently ramped up their mobile ad spend dramatically in the last 12 months: and Jiffy Lube consumer-goods companies increased budgets by nearly a third, according to Nielsen in 2008, and the automotive industry nearly doubled its mobile spend, surpassing $300 million. HipCricket, a Seattle-based firm offering a host of mobile marketing and advertising AdMob sees the increase in interest in mobile ads across the board: the company said ad requests — services, claims real success with short which occur when a user clicks on an ad — tripled in 2008, reaching more than five billion a month codes for Jiffy Lube, a well-known American towards the end of the year. automotive service company. Listeners to a radio show in Ames, Iowa had the SMS short codes chance to win free oil changes for a year from Jiffy Lube by texting a short code. SMS short codes are the memorable SMS text numbers widely used on print advertising, TV and radio Everyone who entered received a mobile advertising, on marketing promotional literature, on-pack marketing and on outdoor advertising. coupon offering discounts on various They are five or six digit numbers and are assigned by mobile operators, who vet every application services from the speedy car service before provisioning and monitor the service to make sure it complies with service rules. chain and were able to opt in to receive future promotions. Roughly half the Short codes allow consumers to: people who redeemed the coupon • Respond to a promotion or offer were new customers, more than twice • Request more information to be sent immediately to the mobile phone as many as other advertising campaigns • Request a call-back normally deliver. • Receive a promotional mobile coupon or discount voucher • Make a mobile SMS donation to charity Another advantage of short code • Register a vote or take part in a poll / survey campaigns is the granular data they can • Receive a link to your mobile website provide compared to other advertising. Companies can use different short codes to track performance of campaigns on Brands are using short codes as a way to first introduce their mobile content, allowing the consumer a billboard, heard on a radio ad, or read to text message the brand at an event, in store and off any traditional media. in traditional print ad. Check out Mobile Content Discovery ©
  13. 13. Mobile discovery and promotion (continued) 12 SMS initially received negative media coverage being characterised as a new form of spam delivering unsolicited content to consumers’ phones. In recent times, strict guidelines have been established by mobile operators and marketing industry associations. The DMA and MMA have been active in supporting privacy guidelines for the industry, more information can be found at and Legitimate short code campaigns require explicit opt-in by the user. The result is that SMS has become the most popular branch of the Mobile Marketing industry with several hundred million advertising SMS sent out every month in Europe and North America. Bluetooth proximity marketing Bluetooth marketing systems have been on the rise in recent years. Most campaigns, such as one pioneered successfully by Smirnoff, are based around “hotspot” systems which consist of content distribution via Bluetooth. The technology has the advantages that it is permission-based, has higher transfer speeds and is also a radio-based technology and is free of charge. Mobile Content Discovery ©
  14. 14. 13 Conclusion Brands are beginning seriously to explore how to use the mobile web to distribute their content to users. The challenge they must overcome is how to provide the means for users to discover the information and products they seek while on the go. Improving a brand’s mobile content discovery depends on: Guessability Having a name for your mobile website that consumers will instinctively guess. When people don’t know your desktop website URL, they guess “”. When they’re looking for your mobile website, they guess “”. Findability Make sure your Web page is at least considered by the search engines as they crawl the Internet looking for words. A .mobi name is the only top-level domain name that’s exclusively available to mobile sites that meet best-practice standards of usability. Brands only get one entry in the ICANN Internet Zone files – the files search engines use to start every crawl – for every top level domain name they have. Your .com entry is already used for your PC home page. You won’t get an entry for m., mobile., wap. or any other non-standard convention. But you do get one for .mobi – the entry for your mobile home page. A .mobi name makes your site perform better on search engines and come out higher on the results pages of relevant searches. Great ‘push’ marketing This is mainly about display advertising (a combination of text links, advertising banners inserted into mobile website pages and video ads) and short codes, although other technologies, such as Bluetooth proximity marketing, are beginning to develop. Mobile push is proven not only to generate leads and have higher click through rates than traditional online marketing, but also to add lustre to brand marketing and awareness. Mobile Content Discovery ©
  15. 15. 14 Resources The mobile Web is the single greatest opportunity facing every major brand. The only way to maximize your return on mobile marketing investments is to optimize your mobile sites for mobile users and mobile devices. We hope this eBook has helped you to think about the mobile web in a different way. We also hope that you’ll join the dialog and make use of our online resource for marketers, Your developers probably already use the free guides, testing and development tools available on, but just in case, you might want to send them the link. Mobile Content Discovery ©
  16. 16. About dotMobi 15 dotMobi is backed by fourteen top players in the mobile web. dotMobi Web sites We exist for one reason: to accelerate the mobile web and promote best-practice mobile sites. The Web resource for mobile marketers. Our investors are some of the biggest names in the mobile web: Check out the expert advice, case studies, “best practice” videos and blog. Get your mobile site fast. A quick and easy usability test for your mobile site. A great site for tech-inclined people. These industry leaders founded dotMobi to promote a thriving mobile Web and encourage best-practice site development for positive consumer experiences. Revenue from the .mobi name registrations is ploughed back into the market in the form of developer tools, marketing resources, best-practice guides, training and accreditation and new applications such as DeviceAtlas (, the industry’s most comprehensive database of device characteristics. Mobile Content Discovery ©