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It’s fair to say that Google has a vested interest in encouraging brands to make better use of mobile, but it can’t be denied that it also makes a very compelling argument.

At Bite’s Empty13 event this morning Google’s MD of UK and Ireland Dan Cobley spoke about the need for a mobile strategy and how the technology is changing the way brands communicate with their customers.

Kicking off with a stat attack, Cobley pointed out that smartphone penetration is now at 62% in the UK and is predicted to reach 75% by the end of the year.

He also predicted that mobile search queries would exceed the number from desktop by the end of the year.

Furthermore:

  • People check their smartphones 150 times a day, which means there are an almost infinite number of brand connection possibilities.
  • 30% of smartphone users bought something on their device over Christmas.
  • £5bn was spent on ecommerce over the Christmas period, of which almost one-fifth (£920m) was on mobile and tablets.
  • But, 43% of top 100 UK brands are not mobile optimised.

Cobley also pointed to a CapGemini study which found that businesses that were quick to embrace ecommerce are now 26% more profitable than those that dragged their feet, which he suggests will also happen to those that are slow come up with a mobile strategy.

An example of this is Tesco – it launched its first website in 1996 and is now the biggest online grocery retailer in the world.

It was also quick to launch a mobile site back in 2008, and is now at the forefront of mobile innovation with well-known trials of interactive mobile stores on the Korean subway and at Gatwick Airport.

After a quick demo of some of Google’s latest mobile technologies, including the extremely impressive Google Now, Cobley mentioned several other examples of brands finding new ways to interact with consumers using mobile...

Band-aid 

To try and comfort children in their hour of need, Band-Aid teamed up with Disney to embed videos of The Muppets in their plasters using augmented reality. 

By downloading an app and aiming an iPhone or an iPad at one of the Band-Aids, users could watch hidden videos of Kermit, Gonzo and Miss Piggy. 

It’s an example of how mobile can ad an extra digital layer to physical products, creating the internet of things.

Skyfall

To promote the new James Bond movie, Sony Pictures created a banner ad on YouTube that allowed users to control a motorbike chase scene on their desktop computer using a smartphone.

When users clicked the ad they were shown a QR code that connected their mobile to the game when scanned.

Cobley said this is a great example of how mobile can lead to immersive brand experiences, rather than just fleeting glances at a banner ad.

Wham City Lights

This smartphone app allows event organisers to create a light show that plays by synchronising the displays on the audiences’ smartphones.

It means gigs and concerts become more of an immersive experience, but also requires everyone in the audience to download the app.

Stick-n-Find

An example of how mobile can be functional as well as entertaining; Stick-n-Find allows you put a small Bluetooth sticker on any item which then acts as a tracking device.

A radar function on your phone means you can track down items you often lose, like your keys or wallet.

David Moth

Published 13 February, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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