Saturday, 27 October 2012

Mobile revolution

The IAB Engage event here at London's Barbican Centre is starting to wrap up – Yahoo's Piers North is currently on stage with TV personality Dave Gorman, who is dissing SEO and describing the internet as a flighty teen.

It's been an interesting day all round, but some of the highlights have been complete surprises – Tesco wheeling on tech start-up StoreTrek to show off their interactive virtual store, and the IAB's own John Mew leading a light show on the audience's tablets and mobiles – and, for me, that's not as true of anyone as Easyjet marketing director Peter Duffy.

Duffy gave a very down-the-line and open look at the airline's marketing strategy, which by his own admission was ruthlessly commerical, ROI-focused. Easyjet is low-cost in more way than one – as Duffy said, it spends tens of thousands, rather than hundreds of thousands on marketing, and expect to see a ROI on that spend into the millions.

So it's good to see a company which is focused on cutting costs without ignoring mobile. It's had an app since 2010, which has been downloaded 3m times since then. Along with its mobile site, the channel makes up over three per cent of its total revenues – a figure which jumps as high as five per cent on weekends – and seven per cent of traffic. And on iPad, according to Duffy, those figures double.

“Everyone here knows, there is nothing short of a revolution going on,” said Duffy. “There's a massive lesson to be learnt by every company of what mobile means for their business. For us, we're focused on improving the customer journey, and mobile is absolutely a facilitator for that.”

Duffy also touched on mobile behaviour – the channel has a shorter booking time than the web, unsurprisingly, and mobile over-indexes for shorter domestic routes – and Easyjet's mobile plans going forward – being the first low-cost airline to introduce mobile boarding passes, and the difficulties of introducing that technology to more far-flung locations, and investigating delivering flight information through passengers' smartphones rather than tannoy announcement.

Frankly, none of what Duffy said was ground-breaking, and he took a fairly no-frills approach. But sometimes in this industry, that's exactly what you need.

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