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6 Mobile Marketing “Must Haves” - Part 1

Chris Nelson

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Mobile marketing #1: Build a mobile-optimized site

In the 1989 film Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner, he hears a voice telling him “If you build it, he will come.” While this somewhat applies to mobile marketing, it can more accurately be stated as: “If you don’t build it, he definitely won’t come. And, if he does — he’s not coming back.”

Building mobile-optimized versions of Web properties is foundational for many mobile marketing efforts. Mobile landing pages ensure mobile users are more likely to take desired actions, and mobile-optimized sites generally have a better organic presence when searches are conducted on mobile devices. Though some may not recognize the differences between the desktop and mobile search experience, smart marketers are mindful of these differences and seek to capitalize on them.

Mobile users have higher engagement and satisfaction levels when they encounter a mobile-optimized site, and you gain the benefit of your marketing dollars working harder for you.

If we look at the volume of mobile search in Google across 15 of the top pharmaceutical brands (below), we can see that users are searching these brands on mobile devices more frequently than some may realize. In fact, across 800 keywords analyzed, an average of 17% of brand searches were on mobile devices. For example, in the graphic below, 21% of all searches for Seroquel were via mobile device.

Mobile users have higher engagement and satisfaction levels when they encounter a mobile-optimized site, and you gain the benefit of your marketing dollars working harder for you. Building a mobile-optimized website ensures consumers and professionals alike are finding your information regardless from which device they are searching. And chances are, if you move quickly, you can still be the first among competitors to have a mobile-optimized site.

Mobile marketing #2: Advertise in mobile

Once you have a mobile website, you’ve opened up the mobile advertising channel as a new opportunity for your brand. There are a variety of ways to advertise in mobile; below are a few key areas that you should consider for your 2012 marketing plans.

Mobile paid search

Search engines are the most visited sites on mobile devices. It may not be obvious, but the major search engines treat mobile search differently than desktop search. Advertisers can bid on mobile-specific search terms, show mobile-specific ads, and direct users to mobile websites and landing pages.

You are likely running desktop search programs already. Thus, a quick/easy win would be to launch a mobile paid search campaign. As with desktop search, Google owns the lion’s share of mobile search. Additionally, they are pushing hard to keep their mobile search dominance for the foreseeable future. So, if you have to prioritize your mobile search efforts — start with Google.

Note: It’s important to keep your desktop and mobile search campaigns separate, so you can manage them individually. This will help both performance and cost.

Mobile display advertising

As mobile Web usage and traffic increase, so does the amount of mobile display inventory available. According to comScore Mobile AdMetrix, the number of U.S. advertisers using mobile display ad campaigns has more than doubled in the past two years. And response rates and impression levels are comparable to traditional online campaigns. Mobile display banners are essentially miniature versions of traditional display banners, and can be static or interactive. There are many partners that a brand can leverage to advertise in mobile display; here are a few to consider as part of your consumer marketing mix in 2012: Google’s AdMob Network, Microsoft Mobile Advertising, and Greystripe.

In addition to using mobile ads to reach consumers, a handful of professionally targeted mobile partners exist including Epocrates and Physician’s Interactive — Skyscape. Another approach to mobile advertising would be to include a multi-channel approach to existing advertising efforts, for example, if your brand is advertising on WebMD’s website, include an ad within WebMD’s mobile channel.

In-app advertising

The growth of mobile applications has led to the rise of specific mobile advertising networks that specalize in ads displayed within these “app networks.” They are very similar to display banners but are contained within a mobile application instead of a mobile site. Similar to mobile Web banners, these app banners can be static or interactive. While still not completely fleshed out, ad targeting is available based on downloaded app content, demographics and geography, but still not by health condition.

Mobile marketing #3: Ensure your desktop site functions on tablet devices

Tablet devices such as Apple’s iPad® continue to shift the way we interact with technology. A recent study by Nielsen claims that one-third of desktop and laptop owners are transitioning their technology use toward tablet devices. In recent months, we’ve seen tablet usage on some of our clients’ sites grow to be as much as 50% of total mobile usage. This is particularly impressive as the tablet market has only “existed” for a little over a year. Tablet device use is growing at an even more rapid rate among healthcare professionals, as illustrated by this infographic. The growth of the tablet market is undeniable.

Typically tablet users are served the desktop version of the website. The larger screen size allows for easier interaction with desktop content than a typical mobile user. But, it is important to understand the space and technology limitations tablet users have. Many aspects of a standard desktop site may not function on tablet devices. Additionally, interacting with your “thumb” on a touch screen is much different from interacting with a mouse.

Plan on reviewing your desktop sites, and determine if any Adobe Flash interactive tools and videos should be updated to be tablet compliant (i.e., HTML5). This is primarily due to the fact that Apple’s iPad has the lion’s share of the tablet market, and it does not support Adobe Flash. And, take a look at the layout of the site to ensure that users can easily interact with their “thumb.”

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