The Harsh Wake-Up Call Google Delivered With Enhanced Campaigns

For all the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing over Google’s announcement of Enhanced Campaigns, there is one inescapable fact brands must deal with: they are operating in a mobile world.

Consider these statistics:

  • Since the start of 2010, smartphone traffic has grown from 2.5 percent of all Internet traffic to 12.5 percent – a 400 percent increase.
  • Over the next five years Forrester projects a 200 percent growth in smartphone contribution to overall e-commerce sales.
  • 43 percent of the U.S. population now carries a smartphone.

And yet brands are still not mobilizing to the necessary degree. In May of 2012 the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that barely half of the Fortune 500 were “ready for mobile” in the most basic sense. Only 55 percent (275 companies) had a mobile-optimized corporate website. While some had mobile brand sites, but not corporate, there was still one-third (169 Fortune 500 companies) without mobile-optimized websites.

So, what’s a brand to do?

The obvious first answer is to develop a mobile strategy and build the requisite mobile sites. But that was the recommendation in 2010, 2011 – and one more time in 2012.

The famous definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” At the risk of being considered certifiable, I’m going to make two alternative suggestions that start with the premise that mobile is going to be the most important aspect of your business in five years’ time.

  1. Solve your mobile problem with Facebook. Specifically, the money you invest in owned development and paid reach. Any company that is heavily invested in social and not mobile-ready is a company that will not be in the next IAB study of the Fortune 500. This isn’t to say social isn’t important, but if your Facebook page is a “hub” and you lack a mobile solution, you have done the equivalent of buying the best car imaginable and opting against wheels.
  2. Take your current website redesign and trash it. You want a new website for your brand? Sorry, not gonna get it until mobile is fixed. Take the resources, take the funding, and throw them all at mobile.

What’s comical about these suggestions is that Google has openly solicited to create mobile sites for brands at no cost. And yet brands would rather walk around with their pants undone than address the issue. In this digital world we live in, I put a lot of stock in what the keepers of the greatest amount of data do. When Google, ruler of the data roost, says “The world is mobile, we are mobile,” I take it very seriously. Any brand that doesn’t match that level of sincerity is a brand that will find itself with diminished market share in short order. And then they can face trying to wake up from that.

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