Mobile Search in Action: Creating a Recipe for Success

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Increasing Site Functionality Across the Board

Most companies agree that mobile strategy continues to be an important part of business. As more people rely on their mobile devices for searches, the focus on that strategy will only increase. It will likely be driven, in part, by the increased capabilities of these devices over time.

Increased features and functionality are the goal for AutoTrader.com across all of its web channels, notes Goodall. He adds that users cannot yet sell their cars through the mobile function, but it's something the company is exploring. At this point, that capability is only available through AutoTrader.com's main site. One new feature the mobile site has is the ability for users to search for motorcycles, something site visitors had requested.

"We have a mobile development team in-house working on the development," says Goodall. "It's not going away. If anything, it's becoming more obvious that you have to cater different experiences to the devices and the users in their journey. We move a lot slower with our changes online. With mobile, there's an expectation. Things change fast and can't get stale. As phones get more powerful, as you go from 3G to 4G, you start to see there are more things you can do with it."

Kopp says that about one-third of Healthline Networks' total traffic now receives the mobile optimized experience, but with that experience comes an increase in overall engagement with end users. "We see 50% more engagement from users who get the mobile optimized experience," he says.

Goodall says AutoTrader.co.uk is continually growing its electronic userbase as people who visit the company via its mobile offerings also visit online. "It's a really deep, rich engagement," he says.

Costa says he expects more people will use their mobile devices for shopping in 2011 than they did in 2010. "In 2010, the name of the game was not to drive business, but to have a presence," he adds, noting that presence will be more of a requirement into 2011. Of course, widespread usability will remain a key challenge. Ensuring that all mobile device users can access these search capabilities, and that the search experience is a pleasant and seamless one, must be a top priority for organizations. Healthline Networks, like many companies, tracks what devices are being used to access mobile content, so these organizations know how important it is to provide device-specific solutions. Kevin Wrathall, senior product manager at Healthline Networks, says the company has noticed a big surge in traffic from users who have iPhone and Android devices.

Forrester Research's Glass notes that companies need to do what they can to minimize clicks and keep the interface simple. Interestingly, technology that has traditionally worked well on PC sites has the potential to work even better on mobile sites. For instance, use the "click to call" feature instead of adding just the telephone number to the mobile site. "Click to directions has the same unique value," explains Glass. "People are already on-the-go. They're not going to print out directions and go later. They're going to go now. Click to directions utilizes mapping technology that shows where they are, where you [the company] are, and the line in between the two points." It's a connection that mobile search will undoubtedly continue to strengthen over time.


Resources Featured in This Article

Auto Trader - www.autotrader.co.uk
The Catholic Co. - www.catholiccompany.com
Endeca Technologies - www.endeca.com
Forrester Research - www.forrester.com
Healthline Networks - www.healthline.com
SLI Systems - www.sli-systems.com

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