Ahead of our upcoming webinar on Micro-Moments and Mobile-First Behavior, I had the pleasure of interviewing Timothy Williamson, Sales Engineer at Progress®, the company behind many mission-critical business applications including the Sitefinity Web Content Management platform and the Sitefinity Digital Experience Cloud. I asked Tim about a variety of topics including micro-moments, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and mobile-first indexing. You can listen to our conversation above or read the full transcript below.
Micro-moments are moments of intent - purchase moments, research moments, and discovery moments - that happen on a mobile device. Do you see these moments increasing or decreasing over the next 2 years? Why is that?
Tim - I don’t see the raw volume increasing so much over the next two years; not like we have seen in the past. The shift has pretty much happened. But, now our awareness to those moments and the results of what that awareness allows us to achieve…that’s going to increase and that’s where the real opportunity is.
Mobile devices - those are only one of the places that these micro-moments are even happening. They’re also happening on the desktop, in email, on social media, and still in many cases in store. So, really, a unified cross-channel strategy is going to pay off here.
Google focuses on the mobile device when discussing micro-moments, but you mentioned that they are happening on desktop and in email too. Could you explain further?
We’re not just running campaigns and gathering data from mobile websites, we’re also running campaigns and collecting data from our desktop applications, our desktop websites, email campaigns; whenever someone receives an email and clicks on a link that’s a data application. That’s a micro-moment we can track and use that information.
Should organizations be taking a mobile-first approach to website design and the customer journey?
Many organizations have already adopted a mobile-first approach and they’re seeing success; increased engagement, conversion rates. By putting something first, though, everything else…by definition isn’t first and it needs to be about the [full customer] experience. I realize that kind of makes things a little bit more ambiguous. But, the companies that are really dominating digital, so to speak, that’s what they are doing.
How important is mobile-optimization in your organization's technology roadmap?
Well, it’s important, of course. Mobile is definitely a “thing” and like every other “thing” it can benefit from optimization and better tooling. We have provided industry-leading solutions for quite some time, from our responsive layout engine in Sitefinity to our end-to-end platform for building mobile apps. Of course, by end-to-end platform I’m talking about NativeScript, that’s our open source framework which allows developers to build native apps for iOS and Android, and Kinvey, our mobile back-end of the service.
According to Google, "we're heading toward an age of assistance where, for marketers, friction will mean failure, and mass messages will increasingly mean "move on." Share your thoughts as to how marketers can move toward friction-less marketing particularly on mobile devices.
That’s going to come back to things like personalization, journey optimization…those cognitive insights. [Marketers need to be] leveraging the treasure trove of information that our websites, our mobile applications…all of those systems are generating every single day. When you distill it down, it’s still [about] the right message at the right time.
Sitefinity 10.1 offers support for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which is a Google backed open-source initiative focused on providing a lightning-fast method for enabling content loading. This initiative prioritizes the user experience on a mobile device in styling and functionality over anything else. Care to share your thoughts on AMP and why supporting it is so important?
Well, AMP is awesome! It’s fast. It shows up higher in search results currently, and generally, it’s just a better experience. When I’m searching for things, I personally tend to visit pages with that little AMP logo first. I’m pretty sure that some social networks are redirecting to AMP whenever possible. Twitter, for example, I read…that they point users to AMP content whenever they are browsing [Twitter] Moments. Actually, I’d be willing to bet money that there are folks who without even knowing it only see AMP content on their mobile device. And, circling back to Sitefinity, I said AMP is awesome and it’s becoming more and more important to marketers [that’s why] things like that get incorporated into the product.
In November, 2016, Google announced experiments to make their index mobile-first. What does this mean for how organizations will look at the mobile site? Thoughts on what role the desktop website has in the future?
Before the push for responsive, it was really common for organizations to create…mobile-optimized versions of their site. Unfortunately, in that particular context “mobile-optimized” was usually code for less stuff than on desktop. And the problem was that search engines were indexing sites, they were indexing the desktop version and then offering those up as options to someone on a mobile device. When the visitor clicked, they’d get redirected to that mobile page and it potentially didn’t have any of the information that they were looking for. So, it was a “lose” for the search engine. It was a “lose” for the organization. And, it was a “lose” for, most importantly the visitor. My point is that all of the pieces play a part here; the mobile site is important; the desktop site has always been important and both will continue [to be] important.
Let's discuss mobile apps for a moment. There's an interesting article on your blog, "Every Sitefinity Developer Can Be a Mobile Developer." Essentially the point was that "everything [developers] are comfortable with in Sitefinity, [developers] can also do in NativeScript. Could you elaborate on this a bit?
That article does a great job of drawing similarities between the types of things Sitefinity implementers are already familiar with and the key concepts in NativeScript development. I would say that any .NET developer looking to get into mobile development would find it useful. Blog posts like that are really great to help bridge the gap between technologies and get the message out there that you can do this!
A big thank you to Tim Williamson, Sales Engineer at Progress, for taking the time to discuss micro-moments with us. Portions of our conversation will appear in our webinar, Micro-Moments and Mobile-First Behavior. We hope to see you there.