Google’s well-publicized philosophy includes the promise to “Do No Evil.” With that in mind, is the company out to do good or make money with the launch of GoMo, an initiative positioned as a driver to better mobile web sites produced for brands?
In practice, businesses can go to Google’s GoMo website at howtogomo.com to access a so-called GoMoMeter. This tool lets companies see how their sites look and perform on mobile devices, and offers “personalized” recommendations to assist businesses in the task of developing a more mobile-friendly experience for their sites.
While hardly unique, the GoMo site has information about current mobile trends, best practices for launching mobile sites (like listen, learn and iterate), a list of developers ready to help companies build sites for mobile (there’s the make money part), and much more. And, if you need more support, you can find what you need on Google’s blog.
How I See It: Any effort to grow great experiences on mobile counts as a good deed. However, it’s the part of the initiative that encourages companies to “get personalized recommendations” combined with the convenience of having a ready “list of developers” that has me questioning whether Google is altruistic or just seeing dollars. I believe it’s both. Yes, we all benefit from efforts (particularly when they are driven by industry giant Google) to mobilize web sites. But Google also has a lot to gain if more sites are mobile. In a mobilized world, Google can serve more ads and bring in more revenue. Google is a for-profit company – and its shareholders won’t have it any other way. The GoMo launch gives me one more thing to ponder: Will this initiative make Google a one-stop-shop for marketers to get everything they need, from strategy to site building? Or, will marketers continue to prefer a system of checks and balances, one that is only possible if they have other partners (not just Google) as part of the mix? Right now the answer is some marketers will and some marketers won’t. We’ll know more after brands start using GoMo and report their experiences.
Apps by the numbers
Regular readers of this column know that I consider the Pew Research Center to be an excellent source of mobile data and trends.
This week, the center shares survey results that are once more a must-read.
Specifically, Pew reports that the share of adult U.S. cell phone owners who have downloaded an app to their phone nearly doubled in the past two years – rising from 22 percent in September 2009 to 38 percent in August 2011. Further, the share of U.S. adults who purchased a phone already equipped with apps also increased five percentage points in the past year, from 38 percent in May 2010 to 43 percent in the current survey.
These findings are from a survey conducted from July 25-August 26 among 2,260 adults ages 18 and over, including surveys in English and Spanish and on both landline and cell phones.
According to Pew, when both groups are accounted for—those whose phones came equipped with apps and those who have downloaded their own—fully half of U.S. adult cell phone owners (50 percent) now have apps on their phones. In May 2010, that figure stood at 43 percent. Looking at all U.S. adults, 42 percent now have cell phones with apps.
The center said that while app downloading is on the rise, it is still concentrated in certain demographic groups.
While the portion of adults downloading apps has grown since 2009, their demographic profile has not changed markedly, even with the addition of tablet computers to the mix. App downloading on cell phones remains concentrated among young adults, those with higher incomes and education levels, and those living in urban and suburban areas. In May 2010, cell phone app downloaders were also disproportionately male when compared with the full U.S. adult population, but the gap between men and women has decreased.
How I See It: Dig deeper when considering whether to include an app in your strategy. The study provides critical data about how people use the apps – or, in many cases, don’t use the apps — and whether an app on a phone is the same as an app on a tablet (hint – they’re not). Does a brand need an app? There is no simple answer. In fact, the question is much more complicated than it appears at first glance. In contrast, answering the question whether all brands need a mobile website is a breeze. In my view, they most certainly do.