– This post was co-authored by Adobe Optimization Consultant, Russ Lewis –

Do you remember what you were doing in 1999? Worrying about Y2K? Investing in the hottest .com company of the week? Jamming to some Prince? Well it feels like 1999 just happened all over again, but this time in 2009. Mobile has been knocking at the door for years.

Your company may have an old WAP site that was created years ago and just hasn’t been updated. Maybe an intern built you an iOS app last summer because someone recommended that you must have a mobile app. Whatever the specific scenario, it is safe to say companies understand now that mobile is a necessary component of digital marketing.

Just like the website in 1999, companies must find out what their mobile presence should be. Now that we’ve made the jump and created these sites/apps, how do we optimize them? Take a look at your website back in 1999 and ask yourself what you were doing back then.

Look at today and see how much the site has evolved. I’m sure different functions or tasks were introduced. Several redesigns probably occurred. Your business model may have even changed as a result of the internet and advancements of what could be performed online.

After looking at your website in 1999, does it feel like your mobile presence is at the same starting point?  Do not be dismayed! This is a common feeling that many clients express and fortunately we have had the opportunity to help brainstorm and kickoff mobile testing programs across various types of clients.

Here are some simple steps to follow that will help you keep the mobile party going and avoid getting left behind in Geo-Cities.

Find Your Opportunity

The first step to mobile optimization is determining where the opportunity lies. To find the answer to this question, begin with your analytics. Find out what your traffic and revenue as a percentage of your total traffic/revenue is currently.Also, analyze the trends YoY of mobile interaction with your digital properties to see if it has been accelerating. A couple of reports to use in SiteCatalyst are the Mobile -> Devices -> Mobile Device Type Reports (see below):

SiteCatalyst Device Report

We have made a large assumption here that revenue is your key success metric. This may be different from desktop vs mobile. Determine a clear definition of what success is on your mobile platform. If users cannot purchase your product on a mobile device, we may want to optimize for lead generation or engagement.

All of this discovery will indicate how you should proceed with mobile optimization. It is important to make this decision based on both the numbers and the company strategy because there are times where it currently does not make sense to dedicate resources to optimization.

What to Optimize?

So the mobile audience is there and we see an opportunity, now what? Just like a desktop site, there are a thousand places we can begin optimization.  The very same principles that apply to desktop sites apply to mobile. Before optimizing, determine a clear definition of what success is on your mobile platform. That said there are lots of new opportunities with mobile.

Begin brainstorming and putting together a road-map of mobile testing initiatives. While you are putting together ideas, keep in mind that your mobile device has much more to offer to you, the marketer, as far as personalization goes.

Here are some (definitely not all) key features of a mobile device that a mobile application and/or mobile website have enhanced compared with desktop sites:

  • Geo-Location Data – both mobile application and mobile websites can access the GPS location of the device.  A mobile user is most likely viewing your mobile app/mobile site at different locations within a given day – keep this in mind.
  • Call Functionality – Both mobile applications and mobile websites allow for a visitor to instantly call you through a tap of a button activating a mobile device’s dialing feature.
  • Social Media – Most social media platforms allow you to access their data via an API allowing for you mobile applications to take advantage of the data that is made available. This, however, usually requires the permission of the user.
  • Unique Device ID/ Mobile Equipment Identifier – Each mobile device has some sort of unique device ID. This potentially can be used to tie a mobile device with a customer ID that you have associated with that customer on your back-end servers. This would allow for deeper personalization from your app to the user.

Apple no longer allows developers to access the UDID (Unique Device ID). However, the new Adobe Mobile SDK can now generate its own unique ID own that can be used in place of this.

  • Mobile Alerts/Notifications – Mobile Applications, once permission has been allowed, can push notifications to the user instantly. This is a feature that mobile websites cannot control but SMS messaging could potentially be used as a substitute (granted you have access to the phone number of that user).

These added features are wonderful and provide a lot of opportunity, however do not get lost in the technology. Remember the basic principles of optimization.

Mobile is a behavior, not a technology. It’s about accessing content wherever you are… It’s really the use that is mobile, not the device,” stated Interactive Advertising Bureau’s lead mobile evangelist Anna Bager.

Brainstorm all the current ways people are interacting with your mobile site/applications, and think of future behaviors that you may be able to encourage. After having that list, see what fits with your overall company objectives. Those ideas that overlap with strategy are where we can execute.

An example strategy may be to move tablet users from a desktop site over to a mobile experience. Testing into this could involve a simple redirect from the desktop site to a mobile one when the device is a tablet. The destination mobile page could have a link back to the full desktop site just in case visitors want to return to what they know.

How to Implement Test&Target

Test&Target can be used on both mobile websites and mobile applications. Implementations vary based on the platform being used.  Implementation costs mark a key decision gate in your process to determine what path will take the least amount of effort and result in the largest pay off. Here are some considerations:

Is it a Mobile Website? 

Mobile OptimizationIf so, the majority of the time T&T can be implemented just like it is on your website. There are some mobile frameworks out there that require a modification of traditional implementation, and if this is the case, please work with your consultant.





Is it a Mobile App? 

Mobile OptimizationAdobe now newly released Mobile SDK’s that are written for all the major mobile operating systems for in-app testing that can be found here.



The Jump Start

With strategy in mind, here is a handful of testing ideas to help get you started:

  • Better to be Safe than Sorry (Mobile Web):  So, you finally spent the resources to produce that spiffy new mobile website for your tablet or mobile visitors. Are you sure the new mobile site experience successfully compels your visitors to do what you want them to do compared to your older non-mobile friendly site? You could be frustrating your mobile users rather than enriching their experience.

Test Idea: Setup a simple redirect test that compares your current desktop site (control experience) vs. your new mobile site (challenger).

Be sure to setup your overall success metric as one available on both platforms (mobile vs desktop) to allow an “apples to apples” comparison. This will help you to truly learn the value of your new mobile experience which you can bring back to your key stake-holders.

  • Don’t Sit App and Relax (Mobile App): If your company decided to go the direction of spending resources on a mobile app for iOS, Android, or any of the other mobile device make sure to have a sound strategy in place on how to promote your  app. You spent too much money on development resources to sit back and hope users will stumble upon your app on within App Store – start testing out different approaches to drive app downloads.

Test Idea: If your non-mobile site has a link to download your app try testing the effectiveness of an interstitial landing page that explicitly promotes your app upon arriving on your homepage. Setup a redirect test that filters half your mobile traffic to your current site page and the other half to an interstitial mobile-friendly landing page promoting your app.

Remember, the interstitial mobile landing page should provide clear and specific value propositions as to what benefit a mobile visitor will receive in return for downloading the app. Also, be sure to include a way for the mobile users to easily by-pass that interstitial page in order to avoid frustrating those visitors if they have no interest in downloading your app (can’t win them all!).

  • Fingers – Not Clicks (Both Mobile App & Mobile Web):  Your mobile application or mobile website requires the use of a finger or thumb of the user. The pin-point accuracy that a mouse allows no longer applies. Some of us have fat fingers (guilty as charged) and we require a much larger surface area to successfully tap on to what we are aiming for.

Test Idea: Utilize Test & Target to test different target areas/buttons sizes. An example being to setup up different experiences that modify the CSS of those elements (mobile web) or return JSON offers (mobile app) to test which surface area is most effective.

Your mobile experience must be touch-friendly or you risk frustrating your mobile users.

  • Immediate Contact (Mobile Web):  One of the coolest benefits of HTML5 is being able to take control of the mobile device and launch a call if the visitor takes action by tapping on a button within the page. This essentially allows you to take a visitor straight from seeing your phone number to making the call to your business without the risk of visitor distraction (bounce-risk).

Test Idea: Setup a campaign that tests your current static phone number vs. an interactive “Click/Tap to Call” type button utilizing the HTML5 hyperlink with the tel:protocol feature.

Example HTML:
<a href=”tel:+18587775454″ class=”clicktocall”>Call for a Free Quote! (858) 777-5454</a>

Remember to utilize different phone numbers between experiences to accurately attribute call volume to each test experience.

Swipe, Touch, Go!

Remember, if your business isn’t thinking about mobile optimization then most likely your competitors are. Mobile phones are once again revolutionizing the ways marketers can reach out their audience. Don’t be stuck in 2009!

And for whenever you may begin to think mobile marketing is a bit daunting….http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/tech-talk-iphone-5/1420759/

Best of luck and look for more mobile practice tips in the future!!