How Google Is Transforming the Mobile Landscape | MMA Global

How Google Is Transforming the Mobile Landscape

February 17, 2015
Submitted by PadSquad

How Google is transforming the mobile landscape

    When Google talks, people listen. The search giant's announcement that it has begun labeling sites as mobile-friendly in search results is a significant step forward for the mobile web.

    Not only does this labeling help users on mobile decide whether to bother visiting a site -- because let's face it, nobody on a mobile device wants to struggle with tiny print and unnavigable menus. In the future, having this moniker will affect websites' search results. Google is sending the message to any laggards out there that they had better get serious about the mobile web.

    This news is truly a game changer for digital publishers. For the last decade, the search game has been about providing the right metadata as part of an SEO or SEM strategy to enable companies to get highly ranked in consumer searches. Introducing a new piece of that algorithm -- being mobile-friendly -- is now as important as being SEO friendly.

    Google has signified that it wants to advance the tools and experience around mobile devices in browsers on the web. (Companies that want to test how they are doing can also use a free tool that lets them put in an URL and determine how mobile friendly their site is.) A lot of people, however, are still bogged down in the app versus mobile web argument, believing that apps make the mobile web superfluous. Nothing could be further from the truth for digital publishers (not to mention online e-commerce websites). Those who fail to recognize this are not seeing the forest for the trees.

    Let's not forget that for many publishers, whether large or small, developing an app does not drive traffic, and therefore revenue, for their businesses. For them, the mobile web is of key importance. Whether you're talking about publishing giants such as Conde Nast or Hearst or an independent blogger, the majority of their traffic comes from search and social media referrals, and large amounts of revenue from advertisers who want to reach this audience.

    Specific to those media companies that have subscription and advertising revenue models, the dirty secret is that their typical mobile web audience dwarfs that of their native app audience. In many cases, getting 5 percent of a print subscriber's audience to use the corresponding native app is considered a success. As a result, for even the most well-known publishing brands, the mobile web provides them with an audience 10 to 20 times the size of those using native apps.

    This mobile web audience is only going to increase as the numbers of mobile users continues to soar. Already, in 2014, U.S. adults for the first time spent more time with their tablets and smartphones than with their desktop computers or laptops. There are already an estimated 5 billion mobile devices in the world as opposed to 2 billion PCs.

    While search in the U.S. is still dominated by desktop -- an estimated 25 percent of searches are mobile -- that is destined to change as sites become more mobile oriented and devices continue to proliferate. Starting this year, marketers in the U.S. will spend more on mobile search -- both PPC and SEO -- than on desktop for the first time, according to a new report from eMarketer. In countries such as India, mobile search queries already top desktop

    The world of search has changed because people now overwhelmingly are coming from mobile devices. In 2015, mobile will be considered digital. Google clearly doesn't want to miss the boat on this one. They are highly invested in the web. They understand the sea of change happening in mobile usage, and are using their might to give it a little push. Publishers that fail to grasp this opportunity to adapt their sites and their strategy to be mobile-first are in danger of missing the boat as well. If you are not thinking of digital from a mobile perspective in 2015, you could do just that.

    Daniel Meehan is CEO of PadSquad.