Google Tells Businesses 'Fall In Love With Mobile'

Companies that don't invest in mobile websites and ads will soon get left behind by customers, predicts Google's global head of mobile.
Mobile World Congress Preview: 10 Hot Devices
Mobile World Congress Preview: 10 Hot Devices
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Google, the power behind the popular Android mobile operating system, wants businesses to wake up and go mobile.

"Consumers are having a love affair with their smartphones," observed Jason Spero, head of Google's global mobile operations, in a blog post. That love affair--deduced through mobile ad revenue and survey data rather than prurient surveillance--is transforming consumers' lives and changing the way businesses engage with their customers, he said.

Google has an interest in playing matchmaker: The company's mobile advertising revenue in 2011 was about $2.5 billion. But you're welcome to believe that Google is only looking out for businesses befuddled by all things mobile.

Businesses haven't responded to mobile devices with quite the same zeal as consumers, but they are curious, if not already convinced. To help brands find success in the mobile space and establish stronger ties with their mobile customers, Spero argued that companies have to "truly operationalize mobile."

[ Google Android is an incredible success. See Android's Success: By The Numbers. ]

"This year we are challenging businesses to fall in love with mobile, align their organization for mobile success, and create a mobile website," he said. "The companies [that] choose to ignore their mobile customers will miss an incredible opportunity and risk getting left behind."

Remember Microsoft and Windows Mobile? That's the kind of left-behind that Spero is talking about.

In a separate blog post, Google on Monday noted that four out of five online publishers lack a mobile-optimized website, and are thus at risk of "losing their fastest-growing audience."

Google recently completed a survey, with the help of research firm, Ipsos, about how consumers use their smartphones. The findings underscore why businesses should care about mobile.

Smartphone ownership has reached 44% of the total population in Spain and 38% in the United States. Smartphone owners use their mobile devices a lot, with 93% of U.S. users reporting daily usage.

Better still, the majority of the smartphone elite have used their mobile devices to search online after seeing an offline ad. And 88% of smartphone users in the United States say they notice online ads. Also, smartphone owners are avid users of online video, mobile apps, and social networking services. Finally, over one-third of U.S. smartphone users have purchased products or services over the Internet with their phones, an activity that's expected to become more prevalent.

If the survey statistics aren't compelling enough, Google has released some new tools to help businesses create mobile websites. These include: the GoMoMeter, which shows how a website appears in a mobile browser; a list of companies that develop mobile websites; and guides for agencies, advertisers, and publishers.

Spero predicts one million small businesses around the world will build a mobile website this year. Of course, prediction becomes easier when you work for a company that has an interest in, and the means to realize, your vision of the future.

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