What Google’s mobile search update means for marketing

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You’ve probably heard Google’s recent announcement around mobile-friendly websites:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.

Over the last couple of years, Google dropped hints about mobile friendliness and now websites that fail to offer a good mobile experience will soon find themselves losing out to competitors. The search giant has already begun to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed.

Google released a guide to mobile best practices and a mobile-friendly testing tool ahead of the update but there are other ways to get ahead of the game…

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Embracing the mobile mind shift

Mobile technology has forced businesses to completely rethink how they win, serve and retain customers. Mobile is the latest and greatest competitive battleground.

However, Forrester Research predicts that very few marketing firms will give mobile the attention it needs in 2015 and will continue to consider mobile as just another digital channel. This could see marketers struggle to deliver results, differentiate their brands and justify the budgets they need to stay competitive.

Forrester argues that it’s critical for marketers to get more senior-level support as only 35% have the budget they need to support mobile initiatives. This should take the form of a shared to-do list across roles for applying technology, systems and processes.

Responding to mobile appetite

Marketers should review customer appetites for real-time offerings, flash sales, in-app purchases and location marketing. Forrester predicts we will see more businesses implement contextual pricing in 2015, as Uber has done.

Offering streamlined experiences

UK and US consumers use an average of 24 apps per month but spend more than 80% of their time on just five apps. Mobile-centred brands have realised this and evolved their approach to offer integrated experiences across devices. Uber, for example, lets consumers book a ride in its own app as well as directly within Google Maps.

Releasing mobile advertising from desktop design

In Western Europe, Forrester predicts mobile display ads will top €2 billion by the end of 2015. Marketers should make mobile-first ad creative a priority, rather than forcing desktop creative to fit a smaller screen.

Our specialist search team can help you prepare for Google's mobile search update. Get in touch for tailored advice today.