HP marketer: Brands that do not optimise websites for mobile are ‘driving with the handbrake on’

Barney Dunne and Peter Meliniotis

Barney Dunne and Peter Meliniotis at Mumbrella360 today

One of HP’s top marketers said today that brands that have not optimised their websites for mobile in the wake of a major change to Google’s search algorithm are “driving with the handbrake on”.

Talking at the Mumbrella360 conference in Sydney this morning, Barney Dunne, senior director marketing optimisation solutions, Asia Pacific and Japan, Hewlett-Packard, told his audience that the recent ‘Mobilegeddon’ Google algorithm update had not been the apocalypse that some had expected, but company websites that have not been updated will have fallen behind their rivals in the search rankings.

‘Mobilegeddon’ is the term used to describe a change in Google’s algorithm – made in April this year – that would push websites that are not optimised for mobile devices down its rankings.

“Was it [Mobilegeddon] the apocalypse that everyone predicted? No. But search results did fall for a number of brands – and not just small companies,” said Peter Meliniotis, head of technology at digital agency APD Interact, who was co-presenting with Dunne. “Even Amazon was affected,” he said.

Some brands tried to negate the effects of Mobilegeddon by spending more on search engine marketing, Dunne said. “They threw SEM at the problem. But it was a very short term, tactical and expensive thing to do.”

Some companies argued that their customers “didn’t care” what their mobile website looked like, but Dunne said that badly organised images and video on websites were slowing down the experience for customers.

“No matter how friendly the experience looks, you’re driving with the handbrake on if you haven’t optimised your site for mobile,” he said.

Brands are worried about being perceived as slower than their rivals, Dunne noted, pointing out that the falling attention span of consumers means that users will go elsewhere if a mobile site is too sluggish.

“The attention span of people using devices is shrinking. You’re lucky if you can get one second of attention. The situation is getting worse as people use different devices; we’re are seeing a shrinking attention span for each,” he said.

Meliniotis added: “Mobile-first is a buzz word. But we’re getting to the point where it’s mobile-only for many people. They don’t use just a laptop or desktop anymore. For them, mobile is the only device. If you want to reach anyone, you now have to use mobile now.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing