You need to make your site mobile friendly, but where do you start? Here's how to engage the mobile consumer.

Google's mobile playbook screenshot

How You Can Invest in Mobile: 7 Essential Lessons from Google’s Mobile Playbook

Thu Apr 5, 2018

The second edition of Google’s Mobile Playbook addresses a key question for aspiring mobile marketers. Fewer organizations are questioning whether they need to invest in mobile, but most of them are not sure how to go about it.

The examples and recommendations in the playbook are dominated by consumer retail companies.

We’ve collected the top 7 lessons from the playbook that any business or organization can use when developing a plan to master mobile marketing.

1. Understand mobile consumer behavior and expectations

Your customer might be the exact same person when she switches from device to device, but her behavior changes dramatically, as do her expectations of interacting with your site.

Even though a surprising 68% of mobile searches happen at home, mobile traffic is spread evenly throughout the day than any other kind. The mobile consumer is always on, expecting access and availability, task-oriented, and location-focused when outside the home.

According to Google, 3 out of 10 mobile interactions lead to a positive business outcome, and a stunning 86% of online purchases involve at least one interaction on a mobile device. You could lose a customer forever if your mobile offering is sub par. This is something we covered in more detail in our recent webinar with Yottaa.

2. Adapt your value proposition to meet mobile needs

How your customer interacts with your business will vary according to where they are, and the business you’re in. If you can sell your product online, then your site should make it as easy as possible to complete a sale on a mobile device. If sales can only happen in store, make it easy for customers to find store locations, view real-time inventory information, or place an item on hold until they can pick it up. Enable prospective students to register or check in to an open house or information session via mobile. Allow prospective car buyers to book a test drive. Make event tickets downloadable to a mobile device the moment they are purchased.

Whatever it is you offer, and regardless of whether completing transactions online is an option, consider what would be most useful to a potential customer when they are on the go and looking at your business.

3. Design mobile-specific experiences and destinations

There are different schools of thought about how to deliver content and functionality to mobile users. The three main options are investing in making your site responsive so it’s optimized for any device, building a dedicated mobile website that serves different content, or developing a branded application that customers can download and keep on their smartphones.

Whichever option you choose, avoid trying to replicate your desktop website experience on mobile. On mobile devices you are dealing with the restrictions of data plans and bandwidth, screen sizes, browser and operating system variety, and reduced visitor patience.

However, you also have distinct advantages such as built-in location services, touch screen gestures, phone cameras, and other features that don’t exist on desktop computers. Is it more valuable to allow a mobile customer to search for store locations or to tap into their GPS and automatically display the closest option along with hours and contact information?

Structure your content and prioritize mobile needs, then build from there.

4. Use location to your advantage

Location and proximity are huge advantages when trying to drive in-store traffic via mobile. Companies have dramatically slashed their cost per click by using Google’s AdWords to serve mobile-targeted ads when prospective customers were conducting searches while out and about. They bid more aggressively on selected local searches, adding an additional level of focus so the customers they reached were closer to a store visit or making a purchase.

For small businesses with limited budgets, location-targeting is essential and a great opportunity to get the most value for their AdWords spending. For those who choose not to advertise, investing in mobile SEO and design optimization will still yield great rewards if they supply a timely and seamless customer experience.

5. Give mobile a seat at the strategy table

Mobile is redefining the customer-business relationship in ways as dramatic as social media. It can no longer be an afterthought addressed once your marketing plan is well defined.

Google recommends naming a “mobile champion” within your organization, someone who can tie in mobile opportunities and resource needs into your planning process early on. This person can also be tasked with defining the appropriate metrics for evaluating mobile success and assess whether mobile strategy management should be a centralized function in your organization, or divided among different functional areas with mission-critical mobile goals.

6. Plan for multi-screen interaction

It’s not uncommon for a typical mobile users to use a smartphone while watching TV (68% do), or to be streaming a movie on a tablet while doing work on a desktop computer. It’s equally likely that even when not juggling two screens at once, your customer will interact with your website on several different devices in the course of the purchase cycle.

This underscores the need for a consistent and seamless experience across devices (exactly why optimization is critical) as well as adding platform-specific enhancements that make each individual experience native to that device instead of just an adaptation of what can be found elsewhere.

7. Define new metrics to measure mobile ROI

Understanding that mobile users jump from device to device, change their expectations based on device and location, and demand immediate gratification on mobile means that traditional measurements will fail in assessing mobile business performance.

Collect as much data as possible to understand your customers’ mobile behavior and better define what to count as a conversion. Whether the goal is getting them to call your office, book an appointment, order an item, share an announcement, or walk into an actual store, establish ways to track the interactions that matter most, and redesign and refine your mobile offering to make those interactions fast, easy, and intuitive.

Read the entire mobile playbook here to view detailed recommendations, action items, and case studies of successful mobile implementations.


Karo Kilfeather, content marketing manager at Percussion Software
Karo Kilfeather
Content Marketing Manager | Percussion Software

Karo was born in Poland, and learned to speak English by watching "Saved by the Bell" reruns during her first summer in the U.S., which has left her unable to go through life without occasionally breaking the fourth wall. As Percussion's content marketing manager, she oversees and creates content that drives website traffic, engages followers, and helps fill the marketing and sales funnel. She writes about content management, content marketing, SEO, social media and web design, and how to make it all less complicated.