Mobile First: Google Tells Us Why

Move to mobile. 

When asked about marketing, that’s the first piece of advice you’ll hear from John Thornton, one of Google’s digital marketing consultants. In a recent talk with the American Marketing Association’s Richmond chapter, Thornton stressed the growing potential for companies who put their brand’s mobile experience first. Use of tablets, smartphones and on-the-go tech has skyrocketed since 2010, accounting for more than $40 billion last year in advertising sales alone. 

It’s a force that can’t be ignored, but what’s so sexy about optimizing your website or app for mobile?  All signs point to the future.  It's about engaging customers where they are.  Online usage has already taken over TV consumption - and mobile site visits are quickly creeping past desktop and laptop numbers.

Thornton said Google employs a See-Think-Do model to create an end-to-end experience for users of their app. Instead of relying on results immediately, the company considers a variety of factors to make an app that champions functionality. By focusing on what their customer is seeing and thinking, Google creates an experience they hope will resonate with their users. 

“Brands can be build on great user experiences,” Thornton said. “When a mobile app wows me with simple interfaces or seamless design, I’m left with better feelings about the company as a whole.

A prime example of an app’s effect on brand experience is Gumulon, a game app created by Stride Gum. In the game, the user controls the main character simply by chewing gum, which is picked up by the front-facing camera on a smartphone. Playing the game doesn’t necessarily lead to the customer buying pack of gum directly, but the unique experience leaves them with positive thoughts about Stride as a company. 

We're just beginning to scratch the surface of what's possible through mobile technology.  As creators, if we think mobile first, we'll be ready for what's next.

“Phones aren’t going away. Mobile will get bigger, better, and will keep being part of people’s lives,” Thornton said. “Mobile shouldn’t be scary. It helps us do more.”

Tommy McPhail