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Last night marked the inaugural Ottawa Search & Digital Marketing Meetup at The Hard Rock Cafe in the Byward Market. Dozens of Ottawa area marketing professionals and students gathered for a night of networking, education and discussion. WebFuel in association with McGill Buckley hosted Google Canada’s Agency Lead Nectarios Economakis who spoke about the emergence of Mobile Marketing and why it’s still not too late to be early. Working the registration table I got a chance to see a lot of familiar faces, as well as meet many new people. Thank you to everyone who made it out, and for those who couldn’t attend, here is my recap of last night’s event.

Mobile Marketing: it’s still not too late to be early

The event’s MC Steven McGill of McGill Buckley took the stage at 7:00 pm sharp to welcome everyone to the event and to introduce our speaker, Nectar Economakis. Dressed in a sharp suit, he exuded confidence. Despite some minor microphone problems, Nectar captivated the crowd with his calm nature and strong voice. Nectar began by asking the crowd “Who owns a smartphone?”. Pretty much everyone. The majority had iPhones. Another sizeable chunk were BlackBerry users and one or two people used Android. But remember, this crowd is unique – we are mostly marketing nerds and geeks (sorry, but it’s true). Look at our entire population as a country – by the end of 2014, half of Canadians will own smartphones. That’s pretty incredible. Furthermore, mobile is expected to exceed desktop usage in the next 3-5 years.

“Mobile is ramping up faster than any other technology we have seen in the past” – Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins

He goes on to explain that in past years, the trend with desktop usage is that it drops during the holidays – people are busier, they are out shopping, at family events, etc… But so is not the case with mobile. In fact, Mobile usage actually increases during the holidays. People’s mobile device have become their own personal shopper to help them find stores, items, best prices, reviews, etc. Also, how easy is it to pull out your mobile device at the table and show everyone a funny Christmas commercial on YouTube? Very easy. The thing with mobile is that it is always on, and is always on us. It allows constant connectivity.

So how is Google adapting to this shift?

Google operates under the assumption that people carry their mobile device with them everywhere. Based on that assumption, Google wants to build applications that will allow people to be more productive and entertained. Bottom line is that mobile should always come first. The mobile device has become an extension of the body. The camera is it’s sight, the microphone enables hearing, the speakers enable voice and the screen allows touch.

Nectar went on to show us a few video examples of how people are being both productive, and entertained using some of Google’s mobile applications. My favourite example was a video that featured a group of kids playing the classic game “Chubby Bunny” using Google Voice as the referee. Not only did this video make us laugh, but it showed the power of Google’s apps.

Key Mobile Trends Moving Forward

What does Google see for the future of mobile? The first has got to be entertainment. People don’t stand in lines anymore. They stand in lines and browse their smartphones. Here are a few stats for you – 125 years of Angry Birds is played everyday and there are 200 million mobile playbacks a day on YouTube. Wow!

Mobile is also immediate. At any point in time we can pull out our phones and make a call, write a review, send an email, book a hotel. We have so much immediate power at our fingertips.

Mobile compliments other media. During the SuperBowl in February, mobile searches on GoDaddy.com increased 315 times compared to 38 times on desktop. Why? People saw the ads and were intrigued. But when you’re sitting in the living room with your buddies watching the game, you’re not going to get up and go to your desktop – you’re going to pull out your smartphone.

Mobile is local. In fact, 1 in 3 mobile searches are local. After looking up a local business on a smartphone, 61% of users called and 59% visited. That is pretty amazing.

Last but not least, mobile is the ultimate shopping companion. 74% of users have purchased due to using their smartphone while shopping and 79% of smartphone users use their smartphone to help them shop. Whether it’s reading reviews, finding directions to a store or comparing prices, your mobile device is hands down your best shopping companion.

Three purposes for accessing the mobile web

  1. Entertainment – make the brand experience fun with a game or engaging video content
  2. Information – provide consumers with information about brands and product categories
  3. Transaction – help consumers get what they want, faster and easier
Five Steps to Get Started with Mobile
So as a business owner, what can you do now? Nectar outlines these five steps to getting started with Mobile – remember, it’s not too late to be early!
  1. First and foremost, create a mobile specific site. Nothing is more frustrating as a mobile user as when a website is not optimized for mobile.
  2. Next, think local! Create hyperlocal mobile-only ad campaigns. Studies have shown that these ads yield higher number of calls and a lower cost-per-click than desktop ads.
  3. Get creative with your creative. Using campaigns with click-to-call ads generally see a 6-8% increase in click-through-rate. Why? Because it is unique, and it is easy.
  4. Always track mobile independently and iterate. Mobile and desktop are two different platforms, and use two different strategies and campaigns. So be sure to always track independently, and compare results.
  5. Last, but not least, be integrated. 86% of mobile phone owners use the mobile internet while watching TV. How can you take advantage of a stat like this?
So, where do we go from here? Nectar puts his money on mCommerce (Mobile Commerce). This involves using your mobile device as a form of payment, which means no more wallet.
How has mobile changed the way you life your every day life? As a business owner, have you taken advantage of mobile? If not, it’s still not too late to be early!
WebFuel would like to thank Nectar Economakis for taking time to come speak on behalf of Google. We would also like to thank everyone who attended our inaugural event and we hope to see you at our next one!
Check out our photo album on Facebook of last night’s event!