Googles EMEA Head of Mobile, Ian Carrington, visited Oslo recently. Unfortunately, I didn’t know so I could not be there when he boldly pointed out that if you company did not have a mobile friendly web presence, you will loose market share. He also predicts that mobile commerce and advertising will grow significantly by 2015.
Here is a translated article on the topic from Kampanje.com.
However, there are a few things that puzzles me here… I totally agree that mobile web is the way to go and that the business as a whole will grow. Maybe by the numbers Carrington says, but I doubt it will have the desired effect for the ones who are spending the money. The reason is search. Mobile search sucks! Even if my estimate suggests that 13500000000 mobile searches are performed pr month on Google the search quality is poor. Generally, search today is a tool for desktop devices with a static context. Even if you get different search results with a mobile, Google need to work on that algorithm, because the relevance is too poor compared to experience one would get on a desktop. Even if 1 in 3 mobile searches has a local intent, and you want to find the closest shoe store, this is not the case for 2 out of 3. Local search is easy, the issue is the other 66%. This article from search engine land, points out a few other issues.
At this stage, it doesn’t look like any search engine out there is built for mobile. Or is it the web sites indexed by Google that need to change? (SEOs have a hell of a job optimizing sites for mobile search!)
So, for mobile commerce and advertising to explode, like everyone says it will, mobile search has to improve, SEOs need to understand and work with mobile and the last missing link: The backend systems need to support mobile as a sales and customer interaction channel (Ebay is probably moving in the right direction, even if they are missing some parts…(try searching for “ebay car” on your phone, and you see what I mean)). I guess this issue is related to the well debated term “One Web“.
As of April 2011, I cant see this happening any time soon. I mean, the three things I mentioned above is what is required to get a real explosion. The numbers Ian Carrington is telling us is really just natural growth when you think about the big numbers we are playing with in the mobile business.