In the afternoon of Day 1, I attended Mobile Search - The New Here and Now for Marketing at the OMMA Expo 2009.
The conversation started with the topic of how mobile search has evolved, from handsets to operating systems to browsers. Then the topic shifted gears to opportunities for advertisers.
The panel included a great mix of experts from hardware, software, agencies, and publishers.
Moderator: Rob Griffin, SVP, Director of Search, Data and Analytics, Media Contacts US
Tim Grace, Senior Manager, Consumer Products, Apartments.com
Matthew Greitzer, VP, Search Marketing, Razorfish
Raj Kapoor, Global Director, Product Planning & Marketing, Mobile Advertising, Microsoft
Diana Pouliot, Director, Mobile Advertising, Google
Jorey Ramer, Founder and VP of Corporate Development, Jumptap
Starting off were a lot of questions about the future of SMS search vs app search vs browser based search. It was pretty much unanimous that all may coexist in the future. With the exception of SMS, as some panelists were not sure about its future. It was noted by all that the original reason for apps were the lack of functionality and poor user experience with the browser search. But that has been changing and will continue to change in the future. This was the sentiment from the agencies and application developers on the panel.
The better apps and browser advancements are causing an increase in mobile phone search queries. As a result, publishers are thinking about mobile specific content. This improves the user experience as a whole which will come full circle and drive more demand for better search tools. Publishers will need to start thinking about their sites and how their results show in mobile search. It was noted that publishers should use their analytics tools and think about the needs of the mobile user before investing in and creating a mobile friendly site. Their needs are different and therefore they will require a different experience that the PC enabled site. Users using mobile devices are looking for instant answers vs research.
In the second half, the panelist focused on opportunities for advertisers. They were all excited about the opportunities and potential they saw in new apps, improvements in the browsers and experiences, and opportunity for more mobile content. It was noted several times that for those that have run mobile campaigns, the ROI has been great but the demand of mobile campaigns is not quite there yet.
The growth with mobile is starting to take off. Several agencies have started to create specialist organizations to manage mobile. It was noted that several advertisers from Automotive, Travel, and Entertainment were all in the game, and now is the time to think about mobile as part of your strategy.