The Mobile Web Sucks
Just when I think my arms are around everything from taxonomies and content management to ad networks and e-mail delivery, the mobile web rears its ugly head.
Whether it's apps, WAP, SMS, QR codes, webclip icons, blah blah blah, publishing to an iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry takes up more and more of my time. So because my day can't be spent in other areas that need my attention, the mobile web sucks. But boy do I love it!
Launched 16 months ago, some of our publications have seen impressive increases in traffic to their mobile websites that is forcing us to pay more attention to them. Last month, 10 percent of the total visits to Dealerscope.com came from mobile devices that automatically were re-directed to a WAP site hosted by the great people at Mofuse. A year earlier, just 2 percent of traffic to that same website was from mobile devices.
After getting the sites up and running with some RSS feeds and zero custom styling, one of the first things we did earlier this year was create an ad program that includes custom landing page development for our clients. Any advertiser that tests mobile website advertising should direct people to a properly formatted landing page. I've included two examples, one of which is an advertiser of ours that has seen strong click-thru rates from a 234 x 60 pixel, half banner ad unit. The other example is not one of ours, but one I liked from Microsoft.
We recently started working on a more customized design for the mobile sites. There's also ongoing discussion about creating specific pages for different devices as well as different ways to integrate our digital editions.
I think the ultimate goal for any publisher should be to create a web presence that is consistent anywhere. Take a quick look at qvc.com the next time you're on the mobile web. The home shopping company is a leader in replicating the user experience from the desktop to the mobile device.
A case could be made for using plug-ins for popular content management systems like WordPress, but publishers not using those tools will have to look at other options. Regardless of the direction you choose, there should be a lot of interest and excitement about the mobile web and other opportunities. Hopefully, your only interest is not just getting in the Apple App Store.