Mobile Search Will Change the Way Customers Find Self-Storage
By Amy Belasen
It seems like every year for the last five years or so, marketing analysts have predicted this will be the “Year of Mobile.” As we start off 2011, this prediction appears to be coming true. Mobile made some major leaps in the last two years, and it’s changing the way we do just about everything. We can use our mobile devices to make purchases, download maps, keep up with the news, play games with our friends and even read books. And, of course, we are now using our phones to search for local businesses.
One drawback is mobile devices and online marketing do not directly translate. Mobile devices require developers to create mobile-friendly websites using a different set of guidelines. Sites optimized for mobile devices can easily be viewed on a small screen without a lot of scrolling or zooming in and out. Best practices suggest designers consider user intent before selecting the functions and content used on the mobile sites they create. Some other technical considerations for mobile websites include:
- Mobile connections can be limited. Content must be optimized for both impact and technical considerations.
- Current mobile browsing software has set a new standard for technical capability. This allows developers to use advanced programming solutions.
- Mobile-device interaction often relies on touch screens, offering opportunities and challenges when translating traditional website designs.
- Unnecessary content must be avoided. Limit page elements to only those required to satisfy user intent.
- Mobile users are often on the move and require specific information that satisfies their needs at their fingertips. For storage, this might mean answering the basic questions: "Does this company have a location near me? Is it open at convenient times (including right now)? Are they within my budget?" If the answer to all three is yes, the mobile user is more likely to call.
According to the 2010 Morgan Stanley Internet Report, which is often used as a reference to identify Internet market opportunities, mobile will surpass personal computers as the most widely used Internet platform by 2015. Another recent study featured in MediaPost, and online resource for advertising media professionals, revealed mobile marketing may surpass traditional desktop online marketing in terms of effectiveness and audience. The study stated:
“From November 2007 to December 2010, mobile has posted better results than desktop online across key measures including aided and unaided awareness, ad awareness, message association, brand favorability and purchase intent. Mobile shows double or triple the percentage of online ad effectiveness in each of the metrics.”
No doubt, the effectiveness of local search in the mobile space has much to do with the success of mobile websites. People who search on their mobile devices are often looking for something nearby, and companies who are optimizing their sites to be found locally are the clear winners.
While these results are indicative of a market shifting to mobile, the desktop Internet sector is far from abandoned. The gap between mobile and desktop has actually decreased in the past year as a result of increased effectiveness in online marketing.
Ad awareness rates, or the ability for consumers to match an ad to a brand, will likely continue to reveal the value of a mobile marketing place. According to MediaPost, “Increased awareness could stem from the rise in rich media advertising in mobile and the proliferation of smartphones, where high-impact interactive ads are targeted.”
Self-storage operators need to continue focusing on optimizing their websites for search and engagement online. Desktop search isn’t going away anytime soon, but self-storage operators should prepare for the mobile shift.
Don’t have a mobile website yet? Maybe it should be your New Year’s resolution to get one.
Amy Belasen, marketing coordinator, assists with execution of the social and communications strategy for G5, a provider of self-storage local marketing solutions that help properties get found online, generate more qualified leads, convert more leads into new tenants, track marketing performance including offline, and optimize to the marketing sources with the best return on investment.
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