Getting Users to the Mobile Web

Creating content and Web sites is one thing, but how do you actually get users to access them via their mobile phone?

WAP Push

WAP push messages are messages sent to a mobile phone that direct the user toward WAP content. While they may appear similar to SMS messages, these are a different type of message. The WAP push message contains a link that a user can follow to access WAP content.

Sending rich messages to mobile phone users can be tricky. Until there is increased general awareness of the types of messages that can be sent to and from mobile phones, MMS (multimedia message service) messages can represent a problematic push-marketing medium. However, a WAP push message can direct users to rich content, enabling a sense of user control over content viewed.

Semacode is the name of the company that developed software for reading two-dimensional (2D) bar codes. It has an application that integrates Semacode tags with Facebook. Check it out at http://

Two-dimensional (2D) bar codes are similar to one-dimensional bar codes in that they can be scanned to access the information encoded, but 2D codes can contain a lot more information. In addition to this, with appropriate software, these codes can be photographed with a mobile phone, which then unpacks the information contained within the bar code.

Does that sound a little complicated? Essentially, the software that can be installed on the mobile phone turns the phone into a scanner. Information such as URLs (uniform resource locators), telephone numbers, or business names can be encoded in the bar code. When the code is scanned, the information is displayed on the phone. If this is a URL, for instance, the user can then visit that Web site without having to enter any additional information into the phone.

There are two encoding types in use: Datamatix (DM) bar codes or Quick Response (QR) bar codes. These can be open source or proprietary. The type of bar code affects the amount of information that may be stored in the bar code, while the standards used can affect the number of bar code readers that can successfully read the bar code. 2D bar codes are often also referred to as tags. These tags can be used in offline advertising and marketing campaigns to push consumers toward specific Web sites. Instead of having to remember and type in a URL, a user simply has to photograph the tag in order to visit the Web site.

Mobile URLs

Most companies now think nothing of including their Web site address on marketing collateral. However, in many cases, when this collateral is being viewed by potential customers, it is the mobile phone that is closer to hand than the PC. Remember, the phone is always carried and always on. Some organizations are cognizant of this and are now printing their mobile Web site URLs instead of or as well as their standard Web site address.

Mobile Search

Internet search has become an integral part of our lives and is an important part of the mobile marketing mix. However, as with users’ intentions when accessing the mobile Internet, the needs of the user are different when compared to search on a PC.

The limitations of the device, the mobile phone, and the needs of the user are what drive the differences for mobile search.

First, with smaller keypads, whether QWERTY, touch screen, or numeric, users are likely to enter shorter queries into search engines on mobile phones. Search engine results need to be displayed on a smaller screen and need to be easy to navigate.

Users are more task driven when using mobile phones to search, seeking concise information that answers their queries as opposed to using search as part of a discovery process. Just as with search on a PC, there are two types of search listings for mobile phones: natural or organic results and paid-for results.

Natural Search
Optimizing Web content for mobile search involves optimizing content for mobile use in general. Navigation needs to be simple to use without a mouse, and Web site owners should consider ensuring that content most relevant to the mobile user is readily available.

Paid Search
Mobile search engines are seeking to create revenue from their services by offering paid listings in a similar fashion to traditional search. As technology develops, search providers are able to offer more sophisticated targeting options to advertisers. Geo targeting can be incredibly specific, allowing businesses to offer targeted advertising when a customer is located nearby.


It’s not only Web sites that can be designed specifically for mobile devices. Applications and widgets can be created that are specifically for the mobile phone. For example, Google’s popular e-mail service Gmail can be accessed via the mobile Web, or Gmail users can download a Java application to their phone that gives them access to their Gmail account. The application presents a user experience that has been tailored to the mobile phone and can even be tailored to a particular handset.

Similarly, Apple’s popular iPhone uses apps, allowing iPhone users to access all manner of Web applications.

As of 2008, apps represent a marketing opportunity for products and companies reaching out to a tech-savvy, affluent community. Widgets can be products on their own, such as the Baby Monitor for the iPhone, or they can be used to market other products.


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