SES Chicago: Interview with Cindy Krum, Director of New Media Strategies for Blue Moon Works

The Search Engine Strategies event returns to Chicago in a month (December 8-12) and features a really impressive lineup of speakers and sessions. We’ve interviewed Cindy Krum, Director of New Media Strategies for Blue Moon Works, who was very kind to talk us through the latest developments in the mobile search and advertising industry.

Otilia Otlacan: SES Chicago and Mobile Search – what topics will you be covering, can you give us the highlights?

Cindy Krum: I am honored to be speaking on the Mobile Search Battle Update panel with Bryson Meunier, Rachel Pasqua and Phyllis Reuther. I have spoken with Bryson and Rachel before, but I this is my first time speaking on a panel with Phyllis. The session will be just before lunch on the first day of the show, and it has a lot of insightful mobile search experts.

I will be giving a lot of statistics about where and what people are searching for from their mobile phones. I’ll specifically spend time talking about on-deck search options, off-deck search engines and downloadable mobile search applications. I will also talk about how true web-browsing phones like the iPhone and the gPhone are changing mobile search behavior, and what that means to us as mobile marketers preparing for the future.

O.O.: Surely the economic recession is an over-discussed subject by now, but can you comment if there is an impact on mobile internet usage, search in particular? Are people more conscious these days of the higher costs of mobile search?

C.K.: Many of the US mobile phone carriers have begun offering flat-rate data packages, so the people who have opted into those flat-rate packages will not be affected by the recession. Cost will be a deterrent to mobile search for the rest of the mobile subscribers, but this has always been the case. Some carriers are also testing programs that allow users to decrease their phone bill by watching ads, and we may see programs like this expand or grow in the future.

The economic turmoil may increase the length of time people will wait to replace their mobile phones, and since much of the growth in mobile web search has been driven by the newer, more web-capable phones, a delay in phone replacement is a concern. I don’t think it will be enough to turn the trend; it may just slow or delay the growth slightly.

O.O.: The readers are keen to discuss mobile advertising as the next big thing for 2009. What are your views on the mobile advertising growth, what can we expect?

C.K.: Companies like AdMob who have been operating in the red for some time are finally cash-positive, so I think it is fair to say that mobile advertising is coming of age. I have been speaking for a long time about making one website work well in both a traditional and a mobile setting, and that will be true for mobile advertising too. It has to be seamless, and we can’t rely on the user to get to the right website or remember two domains.

It will be important for mobile advertising companies to offer a service where ads are intelligently served, based on the device accessing them. Not only do we want mobile ads to go to mobile devices, and traditional ads to go to traditional devices; but we want ad networks to recognize the type of device that is doing the searching, and serve ads that are relevant to that device demographic. It is no secret that the demographic buying BlackBerries is different than the one buying SideKicks; Mobile ad networks need to do a better job leveraging that type of information.

UK mobile carriers are already using this type of ad targeting on their networks, because everyone in their ‘on-deck’ portal is a subscriber, and I believe this kind of targeting will soon make it to the United States. Google AdWords is also allowing marketers to target ads based on carriers, and this type of innovation will be vital for mobile ad networks to maintain their superior click through and conversion rates.

O.O.: Staying in the mobile advertising area, what solutions do you see to ensure that ads are unobtrusive on such small screens? What about measurability of mobile ad campaigns – any technologies you’re particularly fond of?

C.K.: In addition to making mobile advertising as targeted as possible, it will be more important for advertisers to be subtle in mobile advertising. Mobile devices are considered much more personal than traditional computers so advertising can feel like much more invasive on a mobile phone. I think branded games and downloadable applications will be a great way to advertise to your mobile audience, without being too pushy.

Mobile tracking and analytics is still quite difficult because most web tracking is based on JavaScript, which is not executed by a number of mobile browsers. While most of the major ad networks offer technology that will allow you to track performance of your entire mobile website, (instead of just your ads,) there are no great mobile-specific analytics platforms available yet. Your best bet is always to use a combination of analytics programs, but when you are working with mobile data, understand that you may not be getting the complete picture.

O.O.: Your company, Blue Moon Works Inc., how does it fit in the relatively new and chaotic landscape of mobile marketing and advertising? Any service or product highlights for 2009 that you would like to present to our readers?

C.K.: Blue Moon Works, Inc. is a new media marketing agency, and mobile website optimization is just one of our specialties. (We also offer consulting for traditional SEO, PPC, email and analytics.) Blue Moon Works is a resource for agencies, development companies and content owners who want to create a mobile website that will rank well in mobile search without compromising their existing search engine rankings.

There are a lot of companies that can build you a mobile website, but not many of them understand the full impact that the mobile site can have. Mobile sites can provide a bad user experience for your audience, or create duplicate content issues and indexing problems with the search engines, which can hurt your brand and your traffic. At Blue Moon Works, we offer expert consulting; we will help you determine how the mobile website should be structured and coded to create the best mobile user experience, rank well in mobile search results, and not create problems for your traditional search results.

About Cindy Krum
Cindy Krum is the Director of New Media Strategies for Blue Moon Works, Inc. ( She brings fresh and creative ideas to the Blue Moon Works team, speaking at national and international trade events about mobile web marketing, social network marketing and international SEO. Cindy also writes for industry publications, and has been published in Website Magazine, Advertising & Marketing Review, Search Engine Land, ODG Intelligence, and quoted by many respected publications including PC World, Internet Retailer, TechWorld, Direct Magazine and Search Marketing Standard. Cindy also currently serves as the co-chair of the SEMPO Mobile Search Committee, and is an active member of the search community. Cindy is passionate about bringing creative online marketing solutions to clients, and working with clients to develop high level mobile and international marketing strategies.

About Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC — A Division of Incisive Media PLC
Incisive Media PLC is a specialist business information provider, based in the UK with offices in North America, Hong Kong, India and Mainland China. The company’s activities are currently built around ten core industry sectors – mortgages; marketing services; financial technology; retail investment; capital markets; risk management; insurance; legal services; private equity and photography. Information is provided via a wide range of channels–in print, in person and online. Funds advised by Apax Partners, a leading global private equity group, recently completed the successful de-listing of Incisive Media from the London Stock Exchange alongside the existing management.
Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC is the marketing services division of the company and incorporates leading websites Search Engine Watch, the ClickZ Network and their associated events series including Search Engine Strategies. These properties were acquired in 2005.

For more information on SES Chicago and other shows in the series, see