Google announced yesterday a 7% uptick in revenue growth for the quarter ending September 30, 2009, compared with the quarter a year ago. Google also used the earnings announcement to signal that the downward pressures from the recession appears to be subsiding. While the earnings call primarily focused on revenue and search trends, Google executives also discussed mobile marketing in detail (sources: Q3 2009 earnings call transcript and Extended Q&A Call Transcript). Here are some points that I wanted to highlight about the trends in mobile marketing:
Mobile search is experiencing a quarter-over-quarter growth rate of 30% in Q3 2009. The current momentum in mobile adoption is resulting in a simple pile-on effect. Demand for mobile is surging on the data side: according to a recent report by CTIA (source), wireless data service revenue is up nearly 40% in the past 6 months of 2009 (ending in September). Consumers adoption of smart phones is finally expanding; they are seeing how these devices simplify their life and enable them to be more productivity while away from the internet connected laptop or desktop. With these devices, they can easily communicate with their friends via text and research locations and/or products while in transit.
Mobile advertising offers Marketers a novel touchpoint to engage consumers. While Google executives admit that search volume is still light in comparison to other mediums, marketers are extending their campaigns to these devices because they can expose the consumer to one additional message. This is important because today’s advertisers need to smack consumers with multiple touchpoints to effectively wrangle a behavior out of them, like a purchase. Since advertising is still fairly new on these devices, Google executives claim that mobile advertisements are more effective at driving clicks. While it is understandable that consumers may find these ads more engaging, I’m hoping to find data on the effectiveness of the ad beyond the click. [NOTE: If you have some, please share!].
Marketers need to match the message to the mode when they interact with a consumer on a mobile device. A few big brands are toying with mobile commerce. For example, Starbucks recently released a mobile application that allows consumers to buy a coffee via an iPhone. While Starbucks seems to have found a gem of an idea, Google executives confirm that there are currently a limited number of applications that can engage a consumer on a mobile device. This is partly attributed to the consumer being in a different mindset or mode when they are on their smart phone. They are basically “snacking” on information. Additionally, Marketers need to recognize that their mobile message needs to be different than their email message because of the wide range of technology support on these devices.
Mobile is not going away. The final point that Google made is that they’re going to continue their investment in their mobile platform Android. Google has plenty of cash on hand so Marketers that are thinking that mobile marketing has no future should reconsider. While mobile advertising is still in its infancy state, it seems to be maturing at a rapid clip so marketers should not ignore the power of mobile.