Mobile internet: the power of potential

“We are just on the cusp of what’s possible in mobile”

The words of Amy Wischler of dotmobi at last nights Mobile Marketing soiree at The Hospital. The company provide dotmobi domain names to brands transfering their online presence to mobile and are helping to transform the way we use the internet.

A whole new generation are growing up now who’ll have their first experiences of the internet on mobile handsets. The fact that we always keep our phones on us creates a unique one-two-one relationship that brands are only just beginning to see the potential of.

Back in November 2007, 85,000 websites were mobile. In February of this year 125,000 mobile internet sites existed. That’s a pretty steep growth rate. According to dotmobi’s latest survey, published in April:

“86% of us are interested in finding websites that are mobile friendly”

Accessing the internet on your phone has become part of the everyday but speak to almost anyone and they’ll say viewing the web on a handset can be slow and clunky. It’s difficult to access the information you want, it’s thought of as expensive and there’s a low format familarity that generates negative attitudes.

“We need a strategic approach to optimize the user experience. Creatively it’s a new challenge and you have to make the editorial work harder”

Behaviour is key. Brands wanting to engage customers have to overcome the limitations and recognize the benefits of the medium at the same time. There were some great examples given of companies that got it right.

Zagat, a worldwide restaurant guide, was a clever example of how to take advantage of the transition to mobile. They streamlined their content and installed a click to call option. Say goodbye to cutting and pasting numbers into your phone book or hunting around for a pen and paper when you need to make a booking.

The Spanish airline, Spanair, managed to utilize the hand held factor of mobile with their bar code check-in system – a development of the traditional online check-in system. You scan the barcode from your handset and proceed straight to the gate. So simple but so effective.

The presentation, detailing top ten mistakes of mobile marketing (covered below) was brought down to earth with some tough audience questions.

“Consumers want internet friendly mobiles, yes, but does that mean that people necessarily want a seperate domain name for mobile? Won’t that just confuse things for the consumer? Surely it should be left to consumers to choose the web format they recieve?"

With so many different handsets, servers and browsers out there how do you cope with the differentiation? Launched in February 2008, Device Atlas is software that quickly optimizes content for mobile. Potentially, getting rid of the problem of different formats for different handsets. The Apple iPhone, Nokia N95, N73, Blackberry and the Sony Ericsson W800i, to name but a few, are all compatible.

What’s really interesting, however, is that bloggers have cottoned on to the software and are embedding it into their blogs to see how it fares in Google Analytics. Obviously there’s even more potential in mobile internet than we first thought.