Google's HTGM Site May Help SMBs Go Mobile

This morning Google has launched a new site (HowToGoMo) intended to educate marketers large and small about the importance of mobile, and direct them to vendors that can build sites for them. I've written up the announcement and initiative generally at Search Engine Land.

The site offers mobile case studies, data on why you need a mobile site ("61% of users are unlikely to return to a site that’s not mobile-friendly") and the ability to see what your site currently looks like on a smartphone.

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The most interesting part of the site from my perspective is a vendor marketplace together with a set of filters that help you choose one. The questions or filter fall into three categories: 

  • Do you want to build it yourself? 
  • How much do you want spend annually (less than $1K or more than $75K)?
  • How quickly do you need one (one day, week or month)?  

There are 12 vendors that are likely to see a bunch of new leads from this site (Google isn't making any money from the leads). It will definitely help SMBs and enterprises accelerate mobile site adoption. As I wrote yesterday, In March of this year Google reported that the overwhelming majority (79%) of its top advertisers didn’t have a mobile-optimized site. But a new report from a firm called the Acquity Group found that 37% of the Internet Retailer 500 now do.

Just nine months ago, the overwhelming majority of small business (SMB) owners didn’t consider mobile an important marketing channel. In February 2011 we found that SMBs had very limited understanding and usage of mobile. Roughly 83% said they were not doing any form of mobile marketing.

However a more recent survey by Borrell Associates, among 484 small business owners, found that “four out of every five plan to spend money on mobile marketing this year; [and] on average these businesses expect to devote more than 20 percent of their ad budgets to mobile initiatives.” The survey also reported that 56% of these SMB respondents had been pitched mobile marketing solutions by “vendors or media outlets.”

In the larger context of yellow pages publishers and other SMB sales channels pitching mobile, as well as widespread adoption of smartphones by small merchants, this Google initiative -- especially its vendor marketplace -- will help speed SMB mobile site adoption.