4 Mobile Takeaways From Affiliate Summit West

So another Affiliate Summit West has come and gone. This year’s event was another exemplar brouhaha of networking, learning, and partying

On the learning side, Affiliate Summit probably has the highest quality sessions of every conference I attend regularly. And this year, what really lent to that quality, for me, was the number and depths of revelations that presenters shared about the mobile space.

1. The Mobile Market is Bigger than the Desktop

In his session titled Mobile Marketing – The 97 % Response Rate Channel, Bryan Williams had a number of stats to share. And the overall message: mobile is bigger than the desktop.

And it’s not just bigger in the sense of being a newer, untapped opportunity. It’s just outright bigger:

  • While there are 2 billion desktops and laptops worldwide, there are 6 billion mobile phone users.
  • Furthermore, SMS has a 96 percent open-rate.

2. Mobile SEO is a Priority

In the session Mobile Affiliate Site Strategies, panelist Michael Martin underscored the important of SEO’ing your site for mobile today:

  • While there were 150,000 mobile sites in 2008, there are are 3.1 million today
  • Also, mobile search has grown 500 percent in the last two years

The marketer can draw two conclusions from this: First, the mobile space has grown 5 times more competitive, meaning marketers have to ramp up their game. Secondly, with there also being 5 times more searchers, marketers also have a reasonable incentive (i.e. market opportunity) to do so.

As Martin also pointed out, marketers don’t have to create a .mobi site. Rather, creating a mobile site within a subdomain or subdirectory is not only cheaper, but better for SEO purposes, as it will benefit from the pre-established authority of the top-level-domain (TLD).

Also, just as with desktop sites, if your mobile site loads quickly, it’ll rank better. So make sure your mobile site has appropriate CSS.

Other things to consider are having an XML site map and making certain your site is touch friendly. These are also factors that will affect your mobile SEO.

3. Dumb it Down

In that same session, Scott Bain dispelled a common (and almost intuitive) myth about mobile users. Namely, that the majority of mobile users are on smart phones.

In fact, 75 percent of US mobile traffic comes from “dumb phones”. So if you only target iPhone and Blackberry users, for example, you’ll miss out on a lot of traffic.

This further underscores the importance of mobile SEO. After all, if 75 percent of users aren’t coming in through apps, then having a findable WAP site is all that much more important.

4. Contextual Increases Conversions

Another panelist in the Mobile Affiliate Site Strategies session was Keith Posehn, and he brought in his experience as a mobile affiliate. Posehn had some good advice on increasing mobile conversions by focusing on the user’s context.

For starters, you shouldn’t just cram a web app/site onto a small screen. Rather, you should only do what’s natural for a mobile device, and avoid forcing the user to do anything. So again, having a mobile site that’s been optimized for usability is important.

Similarly, when developing mobile sites with HTML5, you should make them tap-only, try to use icons over text, and use only essential javascript. This will make for a more intuitively usable site, and prevent unnecessarily high load times. [Update: Keith emailed me and pointed out an error. I originally wrote “stick with javascript” rather than “use only essential javascript].

Mobile on the Move

We’ve all been hearing for sometime now, how mobile is the next big frontier. Well, all indicators seem to be pointing at 2011 to be the year that mobile marketing starts to really go mainstream.

For affiliates then, the time to getting their sites up off of the desktop and primed for mobile devices couldn’t be better. Doing so now will probably put them just enough ahead of the curve to be cutting-edge, and just in time to ride the wave of critical mass.

About CT Moore

A former Staff Editor here at Revenews.com, CT Moore is a recovering agency hack with over a decade experience leveraging search, social media, and content marketing to help brands meet their business goals online. He currently provides digital strategy consulting to start-ups, SMBs, enterprise level companies through his consultancy Socialed Inc.. CT is also an accomplished blogger and speaker who educates groups and companies on how they can better leverage different online channels.

Twitter: gypsybandito

8 Responses to 4 Mobile Takeaways From Affiliate Summit West

  1. affiliatetip says:

    I think the advice you shared from Keith Posehn was the best: " avoid forcing the user to do anything".

  2. Kyle White says:

    Thank you for that! I wanted to attend this session more than any other, but an important meeting with a publisher came up.

    Do you recommend any credible blogs that are focused on mobile marketing? Such a fascinating area and I want to go to the best sources.

    Thanks again.

  3. Greg says:

    I'm brand new to the Affiliate program but the info is very enlightening.

  4. abdelwahab says:

    Thanks for all the information

  5. abdelwahab says:

    Thanks for all the information

  6. Frank says:

    Good information, thanks for sharing

  7. […] Definitely mobile is the next big frontier. Worldwide there are 6 billion mobile phone users versus 2 billion desktop and laptop users. In 2008 there were about 150,000 mobile websites. Today, the number is exceeding 3 million (a 500% growth in 2 years). These data from ‘Affiliate Summit West’ are reported by CT Moore. […]