Don’t leave your mobile site to the IT guys

Last month the IAB published research which found that just 37 per cent of the UK’s 100 biggest advertisers have mobile optimised sites, despite predictions that the majority of search clicks next year will come from mobile. The news hopefully kickstarted the offending brands into addressing the issue, but marketers should ensure the look and feel of their mobile sites isn’t dictated by the bods in the IT department.

Lara O'Reilly

Brand managers should be prepared to pick up the baton for their mobile optimised websites and treat them as an additional and valuable marketing channel, rather than simply a UX issue.

With that baton admittedly comes compromise and the need to spend time defining exactly what a brand on mobile should look like. That said, the worst mistake to make is to simply replicate a desktop site with bigger buttons and less content in a bid to save time and money.

As much as it will pain whoever handles a brand’s legacy CMS to say so, arguably the best strategy is to start from scratch to ensure the mobile site provides the consumer with exactly what they need from a brand when they are on the go.

If you’re the marketer for a retailer, for example, chances are your customers are visiting your mobile site to check out your store opening hours or research the price of an item before they buy – brands should really put this kind of functionality front and centre of the mobile experience rather than whatever brand push happens to be on the homepage of the desktop site.

Mobile devices also offer unique functionality that desktop simply can’t compete with: the ability to swipe between pages, cameras, geolocation, click to call and so on. Consumers have come to expect these kinds of services as standard when they use smartphones and tablets, so it makes sense to meet these expectations rather than disappoint.

Marketers will also no doubt be aware that smartphone users tend to check their mobiles at regular intervals throughout the day, so it makes good sense to ensure your mobile website offers enough rolling information to keep consumers coming back. That would be an arduous task for the mobile team to pick up alone, but as Dave Coplin, Microsoft’s chief envisioning officer advised at the IAB’s “future proofing your mobile strategy” event last week, brands already have teams dedicated to producing content on a daily or more than daily basis in their social divisions – content that can easily be transferred to the mobile web.

Brands should not be complacent about their mobile web strategies and marketers who fob it off as a meddlesome tech job could be missing out on a vital and ever-growing sales and brand building channel. You wouldn’t ask your CIO to run your Facebook page, so it stands to reason that marketers shouldn’t let another department take ownership of the mobile web.

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