Google recently published a document entitled Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile. You can download the PDF here. It’s a quick read and worth a close look.
I’ve long felt the publishing industry is too focused on simply delivering the print experience on digital devices, something often referred to as “print under glass.” That strategy has created new revenue streams over the past 10 years, but it’s not the end game. Mobile represents opportunities for new methods of engagement and discovery; that’s precisely what Google’s document outlines with plenty of interesting stats.
For example, the document notes that “we check our phones 150 times a day” and then reminds us that each session is barely a minute long. That might be an average length but I’ll bet the mean is even shorter. How often do you pull your phone out for only a quick, 10-20 second peek at your email inbox or news? That’s probably my typical session length and based on what I see around me I’m confident it’s the case for plenty of others as well.
So what about that oft-used scenario of pulling the phone out to read an e-book while standing in line at the grocery store? That’s clearly something publishers fantasize about but consumers rarely, if ever, do. It’s more info snacking and short, bite-sized pieces of content that are consumed in most of these mobile sessions.
That trend isn’t changing anytime soon. As the Google doc states, in the past year mobile sessions have increased 20% while session time has decreased 18%. We’re shifting from longer desktop sessions to shorter mobile sessions.
Google asks this very important question: How does your brand perform on keywords searches that are vital to your business? Don’t just focus on search results ranking, btw. You may appear at the top but does the resulting link take a visitor to a terrific mobile experience? Responsive design is part of that, but the more important point is that the destination page is constructed with content or a call-to-action perfectly designed for those 10-20 second mobile session bursts.
What does a great, mobile-optimized destination page look like? For one thing, it’s probably a single screen requiring no scrolling on even the smallest of phones. If you can’t deliver on that promise you need to focus on giving the visitor a reason to provide their email address for more details. Again, everything should be designed for an extremely short user session.
On page 8 Google says that that video how-to searches are still on an extremely steep growth trajectory. They’re up 70% year-over-year and far from plateauing. Your business is probably built around written content, but if you’re in the how-to space you’ve got to think about how to remain relevant as more solutions are discovered via mobile searches and delivered in video, not written, format.
Take a few minutes to read and highlight elements of Google’s report. There’s a lot of terrific information here and I guarantee it will both inspire you as well as force you to think about the importance of reframing your brand around mobile. There’s so much here, in fact, that I want to revisit the document in next week’s article. So stay tuned for part two where I’ll highlight several other important points as well as share a use-case for how mobile can complement, not replace, print.