According to Google, the question that businesses should be asking isn’t whether or not to invest in mobile, but how. And Google is right there to provide the answers with the release of The Mobile Playbook, Mashable reports.
Coauthored by Google’s Head of Mobile Sales and Strategy Jason Spero and Senior Product Marketing Manager for Mobile Ads Johanna Werther, The Mobile Playbook: The Busy Executive’s Guide to Winning with Mobile asks “five crucial mobile questions” that business executives should explore: How does mobile change our value proposition? How does mobile impact our digital destinations? How is our organization adapting to mobile? How should our marketing adapt to mobile? How can we connect with our tablet audience?
Addressing each question, the Playbook also offers several strategies that businesses can use to understand their mobile potential, including using focus groups and surveys to get a sense of their audiences’ mobile habits. Additionally, the guide features case studies of various companies that have been using mobile technology successfully.
“Our goal is to help companies at all levels of mobile sophistication and experience to adopt the concrete mobile strategies that can help you win…in mobile,” the Playbook introduction says. “This space isn’t a sandbox anymore; the mobile revolution is sailing ahead at full steam, and your customers are on board. Embracing mobile can help you win the moments that matter, make better decisions, and go bigger faster, but you’ve got to start somewhere.”
So, how can Google’s guide be applied to the news industry? Well, for starters, Google suggests that “mobile-optimized websites” are key for engaging consumers who actively use smartphones. According to Google’s research, 40% of customers “have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience.” Rather than adopting a strategy that reduces mobile to a “third screen,” then, news organizations should make mobile sites easier to read and navigate than their desktop websites in order to establish reader loyalty.
In terms of mobile apps, Google also suggests that branded apps are crucial. This seems particularly relevant to the news industry; as we previously reported, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism annual State of the Media report found that readers often go directly to news websites or apps when searching for news, especially on tablets. Legacy media especially, then, should focus on the newspaper’s brand when designing and promoting an app.
And, Google says, smartphone and tablet strategies can also be used to help build a brand—so lesser-known news organizations can compete in mobile by creating rich, interactive media that attract consumers, from HTLM5 web apps to video. In the words of the Playbook, “Let rich media shine on tablets.”
The question of how news organizations should approach digital media is a complex one, as several publishers explained earlier this month during WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Europe conference in London. Although Google’s Mobile Playbook doesn’t seem to have been designed with newspapers in mind, some of the questions that Spero and Werther raise, particularly about digital strategies, could certainly be applied to the news industry, especially in light of the 2012 State of the Media finding that about 50% of mobile owners get news from their smartphones. As Google said in its Playbook, the mobile revolution is well on its way.