Mobile Commerce - not iAds - Will Drive Growth in Mobile Advertising

Mobile commerce sales more than doubled this year, writes Bill Siwicki of Internet Retailer. Reaching 3.4 billion dollars by the end of 2010, it's already bigger than mobile advertising, estimated to be less than a billion dollars per year.

This is great for online retailers and also means that we're about to see a major shift in the way ad dollars on mobile are spent. There's a good chance that pay-for-performance ads, placed by online and brick-and-mortar retailers, will dominate mobile ad spending in a few years' time.

The beauty of e-commerce is in direct measurability of how advertising and marketing perform. As online retailers go mobile, enabling new revenue streams, they'll have a strong incentive to figure out the best performing mobile marketing channel (whether it's mobile SEM, display or retargeting) and spend as much as possible on customer acquisition. Their competitors will follow, driving demand for mobile inventory in a way that expensive branded iAd campaigns can't.

Then there is the local aspect. In his interview on Charlie Rose's show, Groupon's Andrew Mason talked about his vision of "the holy grail of local" - bringing pay-for-performance online advertising to millions of boutique businesses around the globe. Today's Groupon is doing just that, but in a very desktop-centric way with insufficient targeting (most of the business I get Groupons for in Vancouver are simply too far away). Not too long from now, Groupon and its clones will get into a bidding on war for highly targeted mobile inventory on behalf of their client SMEs. This will bring yet another monetization opportunity for developers & publishers.

The future is bright for mobile advertising and commerce as the market grows rapidly while geting more tech-savvy. Without a doubt, 2011 will be the most exciting year yet!

Great Mobile Stores

What makes a great mobile store? How can you decrease bounce rates, increase the number of returning visitors, and boost conversion rates?

Let's look at some examples of mobile commerce done right.

Alibris mobile

Mobile visitors to, a leading online bookstore, are automatically redirected to the mobile version of the site which offers a user experience optimized specifically for handhelds.

As is the case in all mobile design, it is crucial to start by selecting content that's suitable for your mobile visitors. Below, highlighted in red, are the main content blocks that were mobified on Alibris's desktop site.

When selecting pieces of your desktop store to take mobile consider the following tips for creating a great user experience:

  • Be strategic about choosing content: look at your traffic analysis and see if mobile visitors are already favoring some areas of your site over the others.
  • Consider featuring a less popular desktop section by placing it front and center on mobile.
  • Be mindful of your visitor's potential circumstances: what situation would they be in while browsing your website? According to a [recent survey][] 9 out of 10 mobile shoppers use the mobile web while in-store.

The next step is good design which can be boiled down to:

  • Cutting down content.
  • Simplifying the website.
  • Eliminating clutter.

Some of the challenges involved are making the selected content fit while retaining legibility and brand consistency. Product galleries with nice big images and a large, easy-to-read font size all contribute to an aesthetically pleasing experience that will make your mobile store memorable while motivating your customers to return again and again.

Are you an online store owner? Launch your mobile store today!

The Curious Case of M-Commerce SEO

The debate about mobile URLs has been going on long before the .mobi TLD was launched in 2005. In the past couple of days, Jeremy Keith and James Pearce wrote up some good articles on the subject. Will the mobile context require different URLs? Should we aim to have the same link work well on all devices? This remains to be seen - but it's absolutely clear that the current state of affairs, at least in mobile commerce, is unacceptable.

Here are a couple of examples of mobile stores and the URLs/domains in place (compared to desktop links for the same item):






These are major global brands we're talking about (powered by UsableNet & Digby, respectively) - breaking many SEO basics on mobile. They'll be facing the following issues:

Negative impact on search rankings - for mobile & desktop.Search crawlers get confused by mobile pages located on a different domain with its own URL structure.

Challenges tracking affiliate revenue.Affiliate-driven purchases are a significant revenue channel for many retailers, tracking them becomes difficult or impossible in these scenarios.

Problems with mobile item discovery through search & social.Whenever you get redirected to a mobile homepage instead of the item you were looking for, this is the cause.

Pay attention to your mobile URLs and don't break the web - mobile user experience depends on this!

Mobify Weekly (12/09) - Mobile Strategy Becomes a Must for Retailers

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Mobify Weekly where we post the hottest stories from around the world of mobile web.

4G users will spend twice as much time on the mobile Web The non-4G average of 18 minutes spent browsing the web on mobile is said to double to 36 minutes as the new technology becomes more widely adopted. Some interesting stats inside on where 4G is taking us.

Mobile Strategy Becomes a Must for Retailers "The mobile shopper is often the most desirable demographic for retailers. They have a modern phone, a pricey data plan and tend to spend a lot of money," said Matt Poepsel, vice president of performance strategies at Compuware's Gomez . "Yet, some retailers are providing their worst experience to their best shoppers. That doesn't make sense," he added.

How important is BlackBerry to mobile commerce? Last week RIM had acquired The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), the company behind Android's UI. BlackBerry is in need of a stimulus in the "looks" department to remain relative in the future of smartphone / mobile web / m-commerce markets. Could this be it?

Google Widens Its Lead In Mobile Ads; Bulk Of Money Is Online, Not In Apps Mobile ads inside smartphone apps are only comprising a small portion of total online advertising revenue while mobile web continues to grow and dominate native apps.

Survey: Gen Y Prefers Mobile Internet Lots of interesting facts and stats taken from the recent survey by Opera on where, how and for what Gen Y is using the mobile web.

That's it for this week folks! Have a terrific weekend and we'll see you all next Thursday!

Mobify Weekly (12/02) - Gen Y screaming ‘encore’ for the mobile web

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new issue of Mobify Weekly! Here are some cool stories covering mobile web that we've run across during the week!

Survey: 9 Out Of 10 Mobile Shoppers Use The Mobile Web While In-Store Majority of users will turn to their mobile device to compare prices while shopping at a brick-and-mortar store and more than half of those will turn into purchases. Yet, only a small percentage of stores have mobile optimized websites which leads to lost revenue.

U.S. Mobile Ad Revenues To Reach Nearly $3 Billion By 2014 New report shows staggering further growth in the mobile advertising market. This will, no doubt, attract new players to the already competitive lineup of mobile advertising giants.

Gen Y screaming ‘encore’ for the mobile web "We have often said that the next generation will grow up knowing the Web mostly through their mobile phones." says Jon von Tetzchner, Opera’s co-founder, and Opera has provided the stats to prove it. Many interesting points are provided such as Generation Y's overwhelming disdain for physical newspapers.

eBay Mobile Sales Up 146 Percent On Cyber Monday “This holiday season’s strong growth speaks for itself: mobile is the future of shopping,” said Steve Yankovich, vice president, mobile for eBay. Judging from the exponentially growing mobile sales numbers all across the board we couldn't but agree more.

Seven essential ingredients of your mobile strategy These days it's all about the mobile web! The tipping point has been reached and the influence of mobile can be witnessed in every part of our daily lives – from mobile shopping to reading the news and going on Facebook.

That's all for this week folks! Have a fantastic weekend and see you all next Thursday!