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Google: Effective mobile strategy means HTML5 and screen-agnostic approach

The key to an effective mobile Web strategy starts with HTML5 and ends with a screen-agnostic approach, meaning the site is viewable on smartphones and tablets, according to a Google executive. 

During the ?Mobile Advertising: Right Person, Right Time, Right Message - Finally!? presentation, a Google executive discussed the ways that mobile marketing has the opportunity to reinvent the way that consumers interact with brands. The session also presented best practices for companies to make the most of their mobile marketing campaigns.

?An astounding number of people have a mobile device that allows consumers to behave differently,? said Avinash Kaushik, digital marketing evangelist at Google, Mountain View, CA.

?Mobile is an incredible marketing platform that can?t be replicated through traditional mediums such as print or broadcast,? he said.

?Mobile analytics will only be relevant if mobile marketing experiences are done correctly.?

Mobile package
The one key takeaway from the Google presentation is for companies is to create a well-rounded mobile strategy, including mobile apps, a mobile Web site, QR codes and a mobile search campaign.

Mr. Kaushik used an example from Skullcandy, which created a unique app experience.

Skullcandy recently used an Android app that let users find nearby surf, snow, skate spots, going beyond its reputation as a company that sold headphones.

?The most precious real estate on any platform is an getting your brand?s icon on a user?s desktop,? Mr. Kaushik said.

For brands and companies with a powerful Web site, an mobile-optimized Web site is crucial.

According to Mr. Kaushik, the key to an effective mobile Web site is taking a screen-agnostic approach with a HTML5-based solution.

For example, a mobile site created for BMW was optimized for Android smartphones but did not fit Android tablets.

For retailers looking to compare mobile sales to online sales, adding different features can help.

Electronic retailer Crutchfield?s mobile Web site includes a different phone number for consumers to contact than is available on the company?s Web site, providing a means for tracking where sales are coming from.

?It is critical to include different phone numbers for mobile and desktop Web sites to measure a complete ROI,? Mr. Kaushik said.

Although QR codes are often sloppily pasted over marketing materials without a clear message, mobile bar codes can elevate a campaign if used correctly.

One example of a company using efficient QR codes is California Giant Berry Farms, per Mr. Kaushik.

The company used QR codes on packages of strawberries, which led consumers to an optimized, interactive landing page where they could enter a contest and interact with the brand.

Additionally, electronics giant LG used in-store QR codes that let consumers comparison shop, view reviews and learn more about LG?s line of televisions.

?With any marketing you do around QR codes, whatever you learn you can keep doing,? Mr. Kaushik said.

?Mobile helps answer consumers? questions in real-world situations where you can be in charge of grabbing the consumer,? he said.

In the coming months, Mr. Kaushik expects for augmented reality to play a bigger role in QR codes.

Mobile search is also a huge opportunity for companies to get a simple, quick message out to consumers.

Compared to desktop search advertising, mobile search advertising needs to accomplish three things ? it needs to let consumers click on an optimized Web site, call a number if they need help and drive traffic to a location.

?One of the cool things about mobile is how local it is to target consumers,? Mr. Kaushik said.

?When it comes to mobile advertising, do not think of a platform as a way to drive to just a Web site,? he said.

?Rather, think about multiple ways to engage with consumers.?

Measuring mobile
Companies can use three ways to measure their mobile efforts via ad platform performance, Web site performance and business performance.

?Measure for keywords, costs and click-through rates for every click,? Mr. Kaushik said.

?If you measure every click that happens, it makes experimentation easy because you are able to understand the effectiveness,? he said.

Companies can also switch up their headlines to see which keywords get the most hits.

For companies using Google?s Admob, it is important to remember that phone calls do not get taken into account with their analytics because they are considered offline interactions.

When looking at desktop experience, companies need to look at how traffic breaks down by device to better optimize their mobile Web sites.

According to Mr. Kaushik, every mobile measurement report needs three types of metrics- acquisition, behavior and outcome metrics.

?Never look at a report that does not include all three, ignore generic reports and always make a custom report,? Mr. Kaushik said.

Companies also need to understand the difference between micro and macro conversions and the ways that people are using mobile compared to desktop.

Mr. Kaushik used Target as an example of a company that has differentiated its online and mobile efforts with mobile efforts that include coupons, GPS and loyalty programs.

?Mobile is a platform that cuts across everything we do,? Mr. Kaushik said.

?It is the only way to optimize your company with a platform that will dominate your life,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York