[cross-posted on the Google Mobile Ads Blog]

It’s time for our third post in our Mobile Insights series featuring expert views from our mobile ads team. This week’s guest contributor is Adam Compain, a Mobile Specialist at Google. Adam explains why it’s vital to create a mobile website now versus later.

In the early days of the Web, businesses didn’t believe their customers were online, nor did they think the Internet would become a viable medium for customer interaction. Companies were hesitant to build websites, let alone advertise online.

Of course, the Internet ramped up faster than anyone imagined. Companies that hesitated were left behind and those that took action became industry leaders, reinventing their business models to become more efficient and profitable marketers. In this new age of mobile computing, how can you ensure your business remains present? Build a mobile site. Research has shown that web retailers can increase consumer engagement 85% with a mobile-specific website (1).

At Google, we’ve worked with many advertisers who’ve already built excellent mobile experiences for their users. Each one of the examples showcased below focuses on the needs of a mobile user and is designed for ease of navigation on a mobile device. These sites, all stemming from different industries, prioritize content, use a simple layout and are designed specifically for touch interaction with large buttons.

Blue Nile                 esurance                 CreditCards.com

Meanwhile, 79% of large online advertisers do not have a mobile site (2). Those who have not taken action may be harming their relationship with potential customers: 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% said they’d visit a competitor’s mobile site instead (3). Throw in the astonishing rate of mobile web adoption - which is ramping 8x faster than the desktop web did in the mid 90's - and the importance of having a mobile site is clear. (4).

Think about the 4-inch mobile screen as your new storefront. It may be the most important one you ever have: it’s always open; it’s in the hands of nearly everyone, and it’s increasingly how people are finding your business. As important as it is to have a mobile advertising strategy, it’s even more vital to build a mobile website that delivers a seamless and satisfying experience to your users.

Avoid falling into the trap of marketers in the mid 90’s who didn’t think the Internet would evolve into a viable medium for customer interaction.

Ready to take action? Download our new two-page guide: “5 Easy Ways to Mobilize Your Website”.

Posted by Adam Compain, Google Mobile Specialist

1. Research by Brand Anywhere and Luth Research, “Supply and Demand of the Mobile Web” Nov, 2010.
2. Google Research, 2010
3. Compuware, “Why the Mobile Web is Disappointing End-users,” March 2011
4. Mary Meeker, Economy & Internet Trends, Oct 09