Structuring your mobile strategy

By Dean Vella | October 8, 2012, 1:02 AM PDT

According to Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, the upcoming year will be all about going mobile. Google intends to improve the speed of wireless networks, develop mobile payments and increase the number of inexpensive smartphones used globally. In addition, Google has taken an even more competitive stance by announcing that advertisers who have mobile optimized sites will rank higher in ad quality.

Google is not alone. According to MobileSquared, a research firm based in the UK, Facebook could generate $1.2 billion through its mobile advertising strategy in one year alone.

With smartphones and tablets gaining prominence, business owners are realizing the need to develop a mobile strategy. The question is: how to do it? Creating apps can be expensive, and, obviously, the mobile advertising method needs to more than compensate for the effort required to create it. Here are some suggestions on the various options available and their potential cost ratios as well news on the latest mobile trends from Google and Facebook. If 2012 does not prove to be the year when all businesses, large and small, go mobile, it will at least be the year when most businesses prepare.

Elements of a mobile strategy

The main questions to ask yourself in developing your strategy are these:

Does my business need an app or a mobile-optimized website?

Will my mobile strategy aim for marketing or directly creating income?

In deciding between an app or a mobile-optimized site, you want to consider the cost and your competition. Generally an app creates a much better user experience, but the downside is that you have to create different apps for the major devices, the iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Developing an app can easily cost $30,000 or more per device, and as companies compete, the ratio of users can change.

There are also great differences in the market when you compare the U.S. to the global scene. While Blackberry has fallen behind in the U.S., the phone has retained popularity on the global level. These numbers may aid you in deciding on the second question. If your mobile strategy is not about directly generating income, the high price of creating apps may not be worth your while. On the other hand, however, if your major competition has already gone the app-route, you may need to research which device is most likely used by your clientele and get started designing your effective app.

Mobile trends and how businesses benefit

Clearly, mobile advertising is on the rise and businesses will need to develop marketing strategies accordingly. If your business has an online clientele with a majority owning smartphones or tablets, now could be the time to get ahead of your competition and make your mobile strategy a reality. With the big guns like Facebook and Google demonstrating the reality of mobile trends, the time of guesses and uncertain predictions has passed. It is best to reassess the customer base, do the cost ratio analysis and create or improve your mobile presence. There is a great opportunity here to seize some new clients before everyone has made the leap to mobile.

Dean Vella writes about mobile media and topics pertaining to social media training for University Alliance.
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