Mobile Search continues to be a hot topic as more publishers are putting up mobile websites and off-deck site discovery continues to be a challenge. Through our Publisher Network of over 200 mobile websites, we see that off-deck traffic is growing and now represents nearly 40 percent of mobile web traffic. Surprising to some, unlike the online world, less than 4 percent of total mobile web traffic is driven by search engine discovery.
Perhaps the recent announcement by Yahoo! (see this article in MediaPost) that they are opening up their search APIs to third-party developers will improve these numbers. By allowing publishers to integrate search into their applications, Yahoo! will hopefully enable more relevant search results, improving user experience and reducing the number of clicks it takes to get the information mobile users need. Other advancements in voice-enabled search from the likes of Yahoo! and V-Enable will hopefully also improve the quality of mobile search. Of course, as discussed in a recent panel at CTIA, most voice recognition requires a certain level of human intervention (think 411), which is what inspires companies like ChaCha. During a panel discussion at Search Engine Strategies, Crisp’s Tom Limongello participated in a panel on mobile search, describing the realities and challenges in effective mobile search. (Read more on MobileMarketer.)
While mobile search continues to grow, to promote site discovery publishers need to market their mobile sites through existing channels and enable visitors to easily access and bookmark their site. For example, if you visit CNNMoney.com, and click on mobile, the site allows you to enter your phone number to receive an SMS message with a link to the site. Other companies, such as Visa Signature, are including a short code or mobile website URL in their outdoor and event marketing to create an immediate call-to-action. Liken mobile to the early days of the web when suddenly companies began putting their website address on all their marketing materials and advertising.
According to Nielsen Mobile, more than
13 percent of the (oops, thanks for the correction) 32 40 million mobile subscribers in the U.S. access the Internet from their phone monthly (as per Nielsen.) Of the sites that consumers are visiting, we see over 60 percent of them are still going to "on-deck" sites, with another 27 percent of traffic going direct to the address or bookmarked sites. In fact, only a mere 4 percent of mobile web traffic is driven from search. This shows that consumers are looking for information that not only is fast and relevant, but also from publishers that they trust.
Given the awkwardness of the phone interface, the size of the screen, and the nature of the medium, the average consumer does not want to take chances on sources they are not familiar with. In other words, quality counts. Crisp understands these needs and how to automatically optimize content for a myriad of device types. So it is no wonder that five sites that were created and powered by Crisp have been nominated for Webby Awards.
In the News category, Crisp-powered sites dominate, with three out of five nominations -- CNN, USA Today, and NPR. Under Entertainment, two of the five sites nominated are powered by Crisp -- Bravo and Cosmopolitan.
Premium publishers turn to Crisp for sites that are scalable, reliable, well-designed and superiorly constructed--making our Mobile Publisher network of over 200 sites one of the largest in the United States.
It has been a few years since I've attended a CTIA conference but I must say, not much has changed. While they've added a Mobile Entertainment Pavilion, it still remains largely a carrier-centric show with infrastructure and handset companies making up the majority of the exhibitors. During the "Addressing Usability in the Wake of the iPhone" panel, which Boris Fridman, CEO of Crisp Wireless was a dominant panelist, I was still surprised to hear phrases like "the year of mobile" still being bandied about. While the panelists had a frank and, sometimes charged, discussion about the monetization of the mobile web, the audience was still concerned with addressing usability concerns of the mass market -- those millions of phones out there with un- or under-utilized web browsers. In fact, one of the truest statements came from the panelists who commented on how he just wished his phone didn't spend so much time in the charger. As I left the session, I noticed all the people standing around at recharging stations and realized my battery issue wasn't unique to my Treo. Color touch screens, messaging, web browsing, these are all energy hogs that need to continue to be addressed as functionality continues to rise. One of the more surprising comments I heard was a Mobile Entertainment Live, when, during the "What Sucks" panel, speaker Lucy Hood, formerly of Fox, stated that "Texting was mobile's killer app." I haven't heard killer app being discussed in a while but I was happy to hear it clarified as mobile's "first" killer app. Otherwise I would hate to think that nothing lay ahead and the trend that swept Europe years before making it big in the U.S. is the best we can talk about at Mobile Entertainment Live. Luckily, amidst the jargon, euphemisms, parties, gambling, and trade show same old-same old, it was good to see more and more publishers coming to the table to enter into mobile or expand their presence on the mobile web. Others are getting serious about monetizing through mobile advertising and delivering value to their early advertisers with tools such as MicroSite Builder. And I was happy to see the Mobile Entertainment Live audience engaged with our video presentation, even if I did feel bad for the guy with the PowerPoints who presented second to a much smaller audience. Check it out yourself on YouTube. CTIA...thanks and we'll see you in San Francisco in the fall...and seriously reconsider moving back to New Orleans.
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