ASW11 Coverage: Mobile Affiliate Site Strategies

Disclaimer: This post is live blog coverage of a session at Affiliate Summit West 2011. All that follows this italicized paragraph is based on the presenters’ words and are not those of NVI. If you feel that anything below is a misrepresentation of what was said, please leave a comment below.

Moderator: Dush Ramachandran (@DushR)

Panelists:

  • Michael Martin(@googleandblog)
  • Scott Bain (@scottbain)
  • Keith Poshen (@http://twitter.com/kzorz)

Michael Martin on Mobile SEO

There were 150,000 mobile sites in 2008. There are 3.1 million today. And they’re growing in traffic. For example, the mobile ESPN site now gets more traffic than the desktop site.

The goal of Android is to grow mobile search. In fact, mobile search has grown 500% in the last two years. Android users also search twice as much as users with other devices.

To create a mobile site, you don’t need a .mobi site. In fact, for SEO purposes, you should create your mobile site within a subdirectory or subfolder.

Just as with desktop sites, your mobile site should load quickly to rank better. So have separate mobile CSS. Also, have an XML site map. Finally, make sure your site is touch friendly.

If your site is powered by WordPress, WP Touch is a good plugin for rendering mobile sites. Also, a good tool for testing your mobile site is MobiReady.

Scott Bain on Buying Mobile Media

Google, Yahoo!, and Bing all offer a way to buy local mobile traffic. But there are other places to buy traffic, as well — including Twitter, Facebook and MocoSpace.

Only 25% of US mobile traffic is from smart phones. The remainder comes from “dumb phones.” So if you’re only focusing on iPhone users, for example, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic.

When it comes to optimizing your traffic, you need to invest in some kind of analytics tool. Look at user agent data — e.g. what carrier you’re getting traffic from, and what kind of devices that traffic is using. If you’re not tracking this data, you’re just throwing traffic at the wall. This data will tell you which devices convert and which don’t — allowing you to optimized user experience.

Also, your traffic should be mobile specific. Don’t just squish your website down.

Know where your user is in the buying cycle and make creatives according to that. This way, you won’t pay for unqualified clicks.

Consider using click-to-call, but be wary of the “OMG factor.” This is when users click, realize that they’re actually calling, and then hang-up. So know where your users are in the buying cycle, so you’re not paying for calls that aren’t going to convert.

There is also email-bridging — i.e. letting them email you with a click. But you can’t do more than 3-4 fields on forms on forms, because users will lose interest.

Keith Poshen on Monetizing Mobile Users

When it comes to apps vs HTML5, they each have their facored use. HTML5 is still being explored. It lets you do a lot more with your mobile site, but it still doesn’t stand up to a dedicated app.

The issue with HTML5 is mental bandwidth. Mobile users have short attention spans. So the less effort required, the more usage you’ll get. Icons are also very powerful; they create visual experience, helping the user interact with a page more easily.

You should also develop for as many platforms as possible. And if you can’t, go with HTML5 and wrap it for each platform.

The user’s context is also paramount. You need to know what your users is doing at that moment. The more you know about your users, the better.

Cramming a web app/site onto a small screen is stupid. Only do what’s natural for a mobile device, and don’t force the user to do anything.

Screen size and functionality should fit the device — e.g. not too many fields. Keep the user-interface intuitive. And offer a link to the regular site.

For HTML5 sites, stick with tap-only and light javascript so that it loads fast (i.e. 15 seconds or less).

Mobile ads rely on clicks (i.e. not CPM). Pay per call is great for locally relevant content, but you should keep it relevant to the content (i.e. search term, page content, etc.). CPA, however, is still in its infancy.

iTunes in-app purchases are also very lucrative. Apple skims 30%, but they are still worth if you want to monetize mobile traffic.

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