Web marketing 101: Avoid the bounce

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

GWCC – Merely existing in the digital realm is not enough. Not according to Brian Schmidt, Google’s director of health services.

“If you’re only trying to reach customers online in a traditional desktop format, you’re going to be behind, because your customers are often not there,” he said.

With mobile device queries surging 102% year over year, Schmidt said the time is ripe for HME marketers to leverage mobile platforms, and, by doing so, make inroads into new demographics.

In five years, Google predicts that 75% of searches will occur on a mobile device. If websites are not optimized, consumers may be deterred.

“If they get directed to a traditional site, it may not be a good experience,” Schmidt said. “It’s not only about being found, but also having a compelling experience.”

Being directed to a non-optimized site on a mobile device is not uncommon. Forty-one percent of prospective consumers making HME-related queries report being led to mobile optimized sites “only occasionally.” And non-optimized mobile sites, according to Google’s findings, do not appeal much to physicians. Sixty-two percent of them reportedly abandon a mobile website if it is not smartphone optimized. In web analytics parlance, this is known as a “bounce.”

Fortunately, free solutions exist. Recognizing the shortage of sites compatible with mobile platforms, Google developed GoMo, a free service designed to optimize sites for mobile capabilities.

Another factor making digital marketing efforts a challenge, Schmidt says, is a more general ramification of the web as a medium—that is, the fact that it has made relics of conventional marketing models. In the past, gathering information about a product, getting it marketed to you, and purchasing it were all steps in the buyer-seller process that blurred together. With the web, however, a new, often prolonged, phase of information gathering often precedes the brunt of the marketing efforts.

“It’s now about creating a stimulus, and the desire to first have a conversation,” Schmidt said. “Then, further down the tunnel, we’ll market it to you.”