Yahoo Gemini (Plus 6 Reasons Your Mobile Strategy Matters)

With the launch of Yahoo’s Gemini program – which is specifically designed to target mobile Yahoo users – marketers are once again reminded to revisit their mobile advertising and marketing strategy.

Ignore mobile at your own peril. For the U.S., and many countries with high average income, smartphone penetration is quite high, often more than 50 percent (source: Google “Our Mobile Planet“). If your target audience skews high income or high disposable income, nearly every consumer or business person in your target audience will have a smartphone. Can you really afford to ignore that consumer’s online searching behavior just because it’s on a computer the size of one’s hand? Clearly not.

One fascinating element of the Yahoo Gemini launch (as well as the Bing Platform for that matter) is that both platforms consider tablet usage situations and user experiences to be different enough from desktop devices to require the provision of tools to target tablets and desktops separately. If tablet users are important to you, then the transition of Yahoo traffic over to Gemini from the Bing interface is even more important than it would be only for smartphones. (As you are well aware, Google has chosen to roll tablet traffic into the general pool of desktop clicks within AdWords as part of the enhanced campaigns “upgrade.”)

Conversations with the Yahoo team indicate that Yahoo plans to aggressively drive mobile usage of Yahoo’s search, and therefore the Gemini platform (managed through Yahoo Ad Manager) will be an important part of campaigns for many marketers. Don’t think for a minute that Yahoo doesn’t matter or isn’t big enough to bother with. Hundreds of millions of people still use Yahoo on mobile devices. The Gemini rollout will be phased, both from the perspective of traffic served and advertiser involvement, so you do have some time to prepare.

Here are some initiatives you should consider and some strategies that may help you take your business to the next level.

1) Adaptive Design. If you’ve been postponing moving your Web presence to an adaptive design, now is the time to take the plunge. Tablet and smartphone traffic has reached a tipping point where if consumers find a site that is difficult or impossible to navigate on their device, they abandon and move to a competitor’s site that provides them with a better user experience. Rare is the consumer who is so loyal that he or she is willing to put up with a poor user experience in order to give you money or become a lead for you to follow up with. Certainly for e-commerce websites, moving to adaptive design is a major undertaking, but for many websites deployed on the latest generation of content management systems (CMSs), including open-source platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, moving to an adaptive design is straightforward.

2) Replace Adobe Flash Elements on Your Site With HTML 5 Animation or Navigation. The most popular tablet’s OS and the second most popular smartphone OS is Apple’s iOS, which doesn’t support Adobe Flash.

3) Consider Navigational Changes. While changing navigation for mobile users may seem to be covered under the adaptive design initiative, the reality is that it often takes a special meeting internally to think through how the navigational options should changed for users based on device. For example, should a store locator be heavily featured on landing pages or general navigation? What about phone numbers?

4) Changing Success Metrics. If you’ve changed your navigation to highlight the kinds of behaviors that your prospects want to engage, keep in mind that mobile visitors may not always be in the same stage of the buying decision cycle, even for the identical keywords driving visitors to your site from a desktop. Phone calls and store visits may not be easy to track, but there are ways you can track both – either within the platforms or with third parties. Even unique coupon codes can be effective in quantifying impact.

5) Go Social. Much social activity occurs on the mobile device, so for some industry categories, consumers and prospects will be open to engage with you via social media after arriving at your site.

6) To App or Not to App? The wave of “everyone needs an app” is long gone, but for some marketers with a compelling value proposition for their customers, apps still make sense.

Take the time to stop fighting the daily fires we all fight as marketers and revisit your mobile strategy and initiatives because mobile traffic has exceeded desktop traffic for many sites. It’s time you gave the mobile visitors a great experience.

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Screenshot shows a Google search for outdoor grills, the shopping ads shows images with “in store” showing the product is available nearby.