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Google recently launched its new mobile playbook, replacing last year’s edition, in which it gives details on how marketers can improve their mobile strategy.

Here we’ll take at a look at the key points that Google raises, mainly the five questions which it believes businesses need to ask themselves in relation to mobile marketing, and provide you with Econsultancy’s own research and understanding within each area.

1. How does mobile change our value proposition?

More than 1bn of the 5bn mobile phones in the world is a smartphone, and we are arriving at a point now where that it is the primary screen the user looks at. It’s the always-on, always addressable device that marketers can have 24/7 access to.

Potential customers can be found wandering anywhere, and often all it takes for a retailer to get that customer through the door is a good mobile site or app.

According to Google’s own research 94% of smartphone users search for local info, 51% visit the store they searched for and 29% make a purchase.

Of course the danger of always-online smartphone use means that while the customer is in your store they can easily compare your prices to those online, and you lose the sale.

This is called showrooming. Almost 24% of UK shoppers admitted to showrooming last Christmas.

Google suggests combatting showrooming by building your own digital relationship with the in-store customer, basically embracing their digital openness by providing in-store QR codes and presenting online reviews (like CNET ratings) on in-store products.

Google also suggests matching the online experience by offering similar perks: same day delivery, in-store pick-up and offering to order the customer any out of stock items from the store website and having them delivered for free.

We have our own post on how to deal with showrooming, 13 ways for retailers to deal with the threat of showrooming, which includes advice on offering unique instore only products, providing free wi-fi and drawing your customer’s attention to your online site or app, giving them the ability to redeem exclusive online vouchers and even price-matching.

2. How does mobile impact our digital destinations?

A common question asked is whether a business should create a mobile website or an app?

Google's normal reply is 'do both' of course. Even though according to this research 85% of consumers favour apps over mobile websites, the creation of a mobile site or responsive site is a must for any ecommerce business, as you can’t afford to lose potential customers who favour one over the other.

Google suggests that if you have to prioritise one over the other, your business should definitely build a mobile-optimised website. 57% of mobile users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site, and 40% have turned to a competitor after a bad mobile experience.

Other key takeaways

Make sure you design for mobile rather than merely taking content from your desktop site. The choice between responsive design and adaptive design will come down to your own business model.

There isn’t a one-size fits all solution. Here’s our post on responsive design and whether you really need it that will provide some added insight.

Understand the different mindset that a mobile user has compared to a desktop user. They will probably be further down the purchase funnel than their desktop counterpart, and while they're out and about they need clear navigation, large icons and a quick loading time.

Here’s our guide to 11 gorgeous examples of responsive design that could help responsive site development.

After you have built a continuously optimised, well performing mobile site, now is the time to develop you app, in order to 'enrich your relationships with users'. Here’s the six ingredients of a great mobile app that should be applied to your ecommerce app.

3. Is our organisation adapting to mobile?

To ensure someone in your organisation ‘holds the mantle’ for mobile, and has the requisite sense of urgency, Google recommends assigning a mobile champion within your company.

If you’re only a small enterprise this may just be an individual, however for larger organisations, where mobile is fast becoming a major segment of your business, this can be a decentralised team, distributed through every facet of your company.

To see how your organisation can adapt to mobile, I highly recommend our report on Mobile Sophistication and Strategy.

This report looks at how organisations are approaching mobile, their performance so far and plans for the future. It also explores organisations’ capabilities in mobile analytics and measurement, as well as specifics around the optimisation of their mobile programs.

There’s also information on how apps are the primary path to revenue, which ties into Google’s second question, and further best practices in mobile platforms and mobile data.

4. How should our marketing adapt to mobile?

A recent Nielsen study estimated that 68% of mobile searches actually occur at home where there are other larger screen devices available.

This goes back to the ease of access and always-on advantages of mobile devices. As websites improve their optimisation, this figure will only increase.

Google suggests that it's necessary to understand when, where and how close your mobile customers are when they search. Location, proximity and time of day can be used to refine your search marketing strategies. 

Again our report on Mobile Sophistication and Strategy can help your business to achieve this.

Although mobile has increased the engagement between business and customer, the conversion figures are still relatively low. 3 out of 10 mobile searches result in a valuable business outcome (this figure counts visiting a store or calling a business as a valuable outcome, not just purchasing a product.)

Searching on mobile then making a purchase instore or on a desktop device is ruining the attribution model. Google recommends including these other valuable business outcomes (phonecalls, store visits, app downloads) in your results as users were driven to these channels by mobile.

Here’s a look at how 14 brands that increased conversion rates via responsive design.

5. How can we connect with multi-screening audiences?

90% of consumers move sequentially between one device to another to complete an online task. Simultaneous multi-screening is becoming the norm. 40% of smartphone users watch TV while browsing their smartphones on a daily basis.

Encouragingly for ecommerce businesses with a good responsive or adaptive mobile website, 65% of multiscreen consumers say they begin their shopping process on a smartphone. 

Check out our report for the Multiscreen Marketera study which addresses this rapidly shifting consumer media consumption behaviour and examines many questions applicable to this behaviour: common triggers of device switching, the impact of multiple device usage on brand recall and the online/offline media split for the multi-screen shopper.

65% of smartphone users in the Multiscreen Marketer report say it’s very common that sites don’t work well for their device. Tablet owners are significantly more likely to use their mobile devices to take an action sparked by something they’re watching.

Google suggests that marketers need to realise that mobile is the first screen, 84% of multiscreen experiences involve mobile, therefore this is the first place marketing campaigns need to be optimised.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 15 October, 2013 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (4)


Cayenne Red

Great article! I particularly want to comment on the point that businesses won't recommend a site with a poor mobile website. Many small businesses can't afford to have lots of multi-platform websites but as a smart phone user, I can tell you that I do get irritated when websites are not adapted for mobiles. Especially if it is a large corporation. So many small companies forget about digital marketing and multi-platform websites etc, but it is without a doubt one of the most important things a company needs to consider from the very beginning!

about 3 years ago



I’ve had no trouble finding success using Google Adwords and using the mobile option. The keyword finder is really straight forward makes for a quick start up on a campaign.

about 3 years ago


Marketing Infographics

Nice article.
This study shows "How important is mobile marketing and making websites compatible with mobile devices"
All the information is given with great details and stats.
Thanks for sharing such a great articles :)

about 3 years ago


Suparna Rao, Business Solution Analyst at Boston Technology Corporation

In a lot of companies, while there is a lot of thought given to crafting mobile strategy and how it can help reach business goals, not much attention is given to how the mobile project can actually be delivered - and successfully at that . I think it is equally important to keep mobile project management strategies in mind while answering the 5 questions you have mentioned. That is the key to a successful mobile strategy - In case you are interested, here is a post - http://mlabs.boston-technology.com/blog/a-5-step-guide-to-running-a-successful-mobile-project-

almost 3 years ago

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