Recent studies by Forrester show that most brands fail to adequately invest in mobile. However, brands that allocate the correct budget can see exception returns on mobile investment.

Forrester Research recently predicted that in 2015, most brands will fail to adequately invest in mobile, but that’s probably not because companies don’t understand the importance of mobile. This lack of investment is more likely due to factors such as budget allocation, the steep learning curve associated with rapidly evolving technology, and finding and hiring the right talent to design and implement an effective mobile strategy.

A recent survey reported that 28 percent of chief information officers (CIO) surveyed had no mobile technology strategy. However, the vast majority of businesses that could benefit from mobile most likely already know they need a strategy but may be unsure of the best path forward. So let’s get to work and uncover the best practices for success.

Advice for Budget Allocation

Let’s start with some good advice from Forrester Research. Earlier I mentioned that budget allocation is a factor in developing a mobile strategy. Forrester makes a very strong case that tablets, while technically mobile, are used more like PCs than smartphones. Therefore, Forrester advises that when reallocating the budget for optimization strategies based upon device, the budget for tablets should be reallocated from the PC budget as opposed to the smartphone budget.

Crucial Elements of a Mobile Friendly Site

In late 2014, Google announced that they are adding a “mobile friendly” label to their mobile search results, creating what industry insiders called "Mobilegeddon." Mobile friendly sites are those that use software that is compatible with mobile devices, use text that is easily readable on mobile, automatically size to screens, and fit content to screens to that users don’t have to zoom in (Read more...) scroll horizontally.

Now let’s look at an example of a site which does mobile well. The Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation, or Metarail, serves more than 300,000 passengers a day in Chicago’s metropolitan area, and its mobile site hits all of the marks that make for an exceptional user experience.

For the busy commuter carrying a briefcase, shopping bags, or holding the hand of a child, the simple, easy to read screen provides just what is needed to know on the go, such as train schedules, station locations, and weather advisories. The site also allows users to manage their own ticket orders. Here is a screenshot of the mobile site:metrarail-chicago-first-article-picture

Comparing this with the desktop site, we see that consumers can read new stories at their leisure and discover other useful information and promotions, such as “Metra Takes You to the Chicago Auto Show.” Here are the screenshots:metrarail-chicago-image-one


By the way, how do we know this implementation was successful? Metra, having adopted a content management system (CMS) with digital asset management (DAM) capability, was able to measure an increase of 200 percent in electronic ticket sales following the redesign.

The Role of SEO

Optimization is at the heart of all digital marketing strategies. The work of SEO practitioners has evolved greatly since the dawn of this discipline a few decades ago. No longer siloed, SEOs still work to drive organic traffic, but must now function as part of a cross-functional team, interfacing with content producers, creative professionals, user experience professionals, marketers, and digital strategists. . Integrating SEO at every phase, including the development, implementation and testing of your mobile strategy, is crucial to success.

We’ve talked about some basics, including budgeting and the look of a mobile site. In my next post, we’ll start to get more technical as we discuss three different types of mobile configurations which are:

• responsive web design

• dynamic serving

• adaptive design/separate URLs

We’ll analyze the benefits and drawbacks of each to help you choose the most appropriate configuration to provide the optimal user experience to your customers. In the interim, please add to the conversation with comments, advice or questions.

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