'No mobile strategy, no future,' says Google's Carrington

By Travolution
By Travolution
October 12, 2011 03:00 PM GMT

Searches from mobile devices account for 14% of Google’s traffic up from around 4% last year, underling the importance of having a mobile strategy.

Ian Carrington, the search engine’s director of mobile, told the Travolution Summit firms that do not have a mobile strategy do not have a future strategy. He said the year of the mobile came in 2008/09 following the launch of the iPhone 18 months earlier. Google itself first started building for mobile in 2010.

Google research has shown that more people are using mobile web than applications and although apps remain important firms had to take a more holistic approach to mobile.

Apps, he said are more about CRM whereas mobile web is more aimed at acquiring new customers.

“More people are using the mobile web than they are using applications but not a lot of people are thinking about it. Fifty per cent of people who start interacting with the web via a mobile phone start with a search. A lot of people are putting this off until tomorrow because they think it’s quite small.

“If you are not on mobile then your competitors will be. The way we see it is it’s better for us to cannibalise our own desk top business than for someone else to do it.”

Carrington said people expect to have a good experience on their mobiles and the advent of Near Field Communication (NFC) and the mobile wallet will only make their devices more personal.

Steve Jarrett, chief executive and founder of mobile and social media marketing platform Meplease said they will be people who will become unreachable outside of these channels. He said the extraordinary growth of devices like iPods and social networks like Facebook will affect all businesses.

Facebook has just extended its web applications to smartphones, meaning people will become ever more addicted to it as they have previously with television, Jarrett said. “It’s about one to many marketing but where the many groups are very carefully selected and sorted.

“You try to learn as much about those customers as you can so you can be sure the messages you are sending to the many channels are appropriate.”

Carrington said: “Decide what you want and flesh your solution out from there. A lot of people do not do their homework first.”

Jarrett added: “It’s about trying to widen the funnel at the top and get people to spend as much as possible at the bottom of the funnel.” However he admitted social and mobile made the job of attribution that much harder.

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