Mobile advertising is the talk of the town and it has been for quite sometime.  It makes sense right?  According to a Google webinar, mobile queries in the U.S. have quadrupled over the past year.  Also, according to a study done by Google, 79 percent of smartphone consumers use their phones to compare prices, find product info, and, in general, to shop.  In fact, 70% of smartphone users utilize their smartphones

while they are in the store!  Furthermore, 90% of smartphone searches result in an action such as purchase, visiting a business or a click-to-call.  The mobile realm is expected to continue to grow, as three times more smartphones are being activated every minute around the world than there are babies being born (Google Webinar).

According to another mobile study, by Gartner, mobile web browsers will surpass desktop browsers by 2013.  By 2014, through the rise of mobile internet adoption and advances in mobile payment, the majority of the world’s adult population will be able to make electronic transactions, according to the same study.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Because, according to a study done by Brand Anywhere and Luth Research, 51% of consumers are more likely to purchase from retailers that have mobile-specific sites, yet, according to Google, 79% of large online advertisers don’t have a mobile optimized site.  Don’t think you need mobile landing pages? Check out how your site looks on a mobile browser. Exactly. Read on. 🙂

A few things we know about mobile consumers:

They are looking for information and they want it ASAP.  If they didn’t need it right away, they most likely wouldn’t be searching for it on a smartphone. Make information readily available.  Put important information at the top of the page and navigational links at the bottom.  Take it easy on the navigation and, more importantly, put all necessary information on the landing page.  Cell phones are known for dropped connections and the last thing you want is someone deep in the conversion funnel to get frustrated and drop out because navigating the site is inconvenient.

You may be able to quickly scroll and zoom your mobile browser but that doesn’t mean everyone does it with such speed and ease.  Whittle down the information.  Determine the content that you need to have and then slim it down even further.  (Come on PPCers, put your character-limit-skills to use!)  Give the benefits and the call to action in a clear, concise, and straight forward manner.  Make sure that, in the little space that you have, the traffic knows what action they are supposed to take and the value of doing so.

Mobile users are probably a. in a hurry b. multitasking or c. all of the above.  Don’t make them jump through hoops.  Do you really need to know their first name, last name, date of birth, favorite color, and what they expect to name their firstborn right now?  Try asking for minimal information and follow up later, if possible.  Visa’s new digital wallet could be a mobile game-changer.  In the fall of 2011 mobile consumers will be more capable than ever of making snap purchases on their phones.

With that in mind, let’s get to the fun stuff.

10 Mobile Landing Page Best Practices:

  1. Keep it simple: be as concise as possible.  Google recommends having the page viewable at an arm’s length.
  2. Don’t use flash.  I repeat, don’t use flash.  Not all phones support it and those that do don’t always execute it as well as would a desktop browser.  Currently , 44% of the top 500 internet retailers show flash to iPads and 20% of all internet retailers show flash to iPhones, neither of which support flash, according to Brand Anywhere and Luth Research.
  3. Put the most important information at the top.  If users need to be redirected, quickly and easily allow them to navigate into the space they are looking for. E.g. shirts, shorts, shoes, etc.
  4. If users must scroll; make them scroll down, not across.
  5. Make conversions easy and obvious.  As I said earlier, make it obvious what you want your viewers to do.  On that same note, make your submission button functional.  Don’t make it too small or put it too close to another link.  We all know how frustrating it is to accidentally click the wrong link on a mobile browser and have to wait for it to load or reload.
  6. “If you got it flaunt it.”  There’s so much you can do on a mobile browser: use click-to-call, maps, and location based promotions to your advantage!
  7. Minimize the load time.  It doesn’t matter how awesome your site is if no one waits long enough to see it.
  8. Keep URLs short, in case they come back later and have to type it all in.  Plus, if they have to type it all in, you need them to be able to remember it.
  9. Keep page titles short.  This brinks on SEO but your users want to know the page they are on.  Most mobile browsers only show up to 40 characters and when bookmarked, show 25 or less.
  10. 10. Provide a link to the desk top web page.  If users are more comfortable browsing  the web page that they know and love, allow them to do so, just don’t expect that everyone will feel that way.

Hopefully, you’re ready to create a mobile landing page or at best, feel armed to explain to your client why it is important.  I would certainly encourage you to segment your traffic and see where your traffic is coming from.  One of my clients receives nearly 40% of their traffic through mobile devices, not including tablets.  We’ve conquered the mobile best practices: separated out the campaigns, lowered bids, etc. and are now in the midst of preparing mobile landing pages, so expect a follow up post with data-oriented results versus desktop landing pages.

Any other mobile tips?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Also, if you haven’t already, you should also check out Abby’s case study on mobile advertising, which contains a few best practices of creating mobile campaigns.

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