— 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/​s​a​t​u​r​d​a​y​-​n​i​g​h​t​-​l​i​v​e​/​v​i​d​e​o​/​t​e​c​h​-​t​a​l​k​-​i​p​h​o​n​e​-​5​/​1​4​2​0​7​59/

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