Mobile website errors can frequently impact advertising and marketing campaigns, even for large brands like Microsoft. As mobile website advertising grows, it’s critical that site landing pages perform flawlessly.
Gartner, commScore, Nielsen Wireless and other mobile research companies predict a five-fold increase in mobile marketing and mobile advertising during the next few years.
As ads rapidly increase on mobile websites, brands ad other advertisers are challenged to achieve consistently excellent mobile user experiences. New companies that monitor mobile websites are working with large brands to monitor and optimize website performance.
Listen to my podcast interview with Eric Hansen at SiteSpect, a company addressing mobile website performance.
Mobile Website Microsoft Advertising Experience
Recently I had a Microsoft B2B mobile marketing experience while using the ZD Net Mobile Reader on my BlackBerry Curve.
After receiving a Google email alert, I clicked a link in my BlackBerry mobile browser taking me to the ZD Net mobile website. Instead of news, ZD Net displayed a link asking me to download the ZD Net Reader.
Since I’d already downloaded the Reader, I quickly loaded the mobile app on my BlackBerry and within a few seconds I viewed ZD Net Reader’s news and blogs page.
At the top of the screen was a banner ad for Microsoft. “Advertisement – Windows Server 2008 – Check out the buzz.“
I ignored the mobile banner ad at first, then decided to check out the “Microsoft mobile ad experience.” I clicked through to a Microsoft mobile website. In a few seconds, a Microsoft site for IT professionals appeared promoting Windows Server 2008.
Result: “HTTP Error 500: Internal Server Error…” Choices: click “OK” or “Details.” In the past on my BB, I’ve managed to overcome this error by choosing “details.” Click.
“Server Error in ‘/Everybody’sBusinessApplication – Runtime Error.”
After clicking on a few additional articles about Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 software I gave up. The same error message appeared in each case when trying to access Microsoft’s website.
Researching the HTTP Error
Off to the regular Internet on my iMac. Googled “server error 500.” .23 seconds later, I discovered 3,100,000 Google hits related to the server error. When I changed the Google search to “wireless service error 500,” Google delivered 1,200,000 hits–nearly a third of the total. Clearly, mobile website users are experiencing similar server problems on the mobile Internet.
According to About.com, “The 500 Internal Server Error is a very general HTTP status code that means something has gone wrong on the website’s server but the server could not be more specific on what the exact problem is.”
Then I thought:
“This is a Microsoft mobile website” with “Windows Server Experts” shown at the top of my BB screen. “Why am I seeing this?” “If I were an IT manager interested in Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008, what would I think about Microsoft, its brand and software?”
Mobile Marketing and Advertising Ecosystem
As the mobile marketing industry experiences massive growth, it’s mired in a complex ecosystem of handset manufacturers, thousands of carrier-branded and unbranded unlocked mobile handsets, each running on a handful of different operating systems, browsers and displays.
Hundreds of new handsets are released each year, while older, legacy handsets remain in operation throughout the world. The complexity of mobile handsets in the total ecosystem grows exponentially each year complicatating mobile ad delivery to large brand mobile websites. This is especially critical in mobile commerce.
But hardware and software differences among the 4.6 billion mobile handsets are not the only factors impacting mobile marketing and advertising efficacy. Multiple companies are involved in the mobile marketing ecosystem.
Mobile marketing companies create mobile campaigns. Mobile “aggregators” coordinate “short code” allocation in SMS campaigns across operators. Wireless carriers, mobile search engines, advertising networks, technology, website optimization and mobile analytics companies create, sell, transmit, measure and monitor millions of SMS text messages and banner ads delivery daily. Advertisers and publishers create and run mobile websites.
Mobile publishers, working with ad networks, fight to fill ad inventory. Regulators and industry associations, such as the Mobile Marketing Association, set standards and best practices.
Ensuring that large brands, such as Microsoft and other advertisers effectively manage and monitor their mobile websites is paramount as advertising increases on the mobile Web.