In the US, more than 166 million people – 53% of the population – own a smartphone. We carry them with us wherever we go. So, it’s no surprise smartphones are a key target of advertisers and e-commerce providers. The vision of smartphones replacing wallets is just too good to pass up. Case in point, Apple just announced Apple Pay payment solution in conjunction with the iPhone 6 launch.
But just how likely are consumers to use their phones to make purchases outside of a new app or scheduling an Uber pickup? To gauge consumer interest in using smartphones to complete transactions, we thought we’d take a look at the performance of Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on smartphones and desktops.
PLAs are unique in that they are predominantly used by retailers to showcase a product; so, we aren’t seeing consumers react to ads for services or information. Also, unless you’re in the market for a new Razor Scooter, odds are you aren’t going to search and click on an ad for one. Consequently, PLAs are a good barometer for getting a pulse on consumer online shopping behavior.
First off, the click-through rate (CTR) of PLAs on smartphones is higher. The gap varies, but more recently in June, 2014 the CTR of smartphones was 33% higher than desktops. This would indicate consumers seem to favor their smartphones for browsing and researching products. Makes sense. For the last few years, the story has been that smartphones are used to research but when it comes time to pulling the trigger, the transaction either takes place on a desktop or in a store. A smartphone is rarely used to complete the transaction.
To answer that question, we looked at the conversion rate of PLAs for smartphones versus desktops. Since these are ads for specific products, the likelihood of a conversion rate for a PLA being a transaction is very high. Desktops still rein king when it comes to completing transactions with a conversion rate 135% higher than smartphones in June; however, what’s interesting is the growth in conversion rate on smartphones.
Year over year, the conversion rate for PLAs on smartphones has increased 120%. But what does this mean? It means consumers are completing more transactions on their smartphones. This is likely due to not only familiarity and comfort with doing so but also retailers and technology providers like Google making the transaction process easier and much more mobile friendly.
Get ready to ditch your wallets.
Back in March of this year, we predicted that mobile was on pace to surpass desktop paid search on Google by the end of 2015. Tablet conversion rate has already exceeded that of desktop, and mobile adoption and engagement continues to grow.
The pie charts above, taken from the Marin Global Online Advertising Index at the conclusion of Q1, show that marketers have yet to catch up to the growth of this increasingly important medium. Take the US for example – click share on desktop was only 64%, yet spend share was significantly higher at 73%.
Still trying to get buy-in for greater investment in your mobile programs? Here are some stats you’ll want to know:
As marketers catch on to mobile, there is still some low-hanging fruit. For example, be sure to provide your customers with a good mobile experience. Don’t send them to a brick-and-mortar store if there’s no inventory for the product they’re searching for. Consider whether you’d be better off providing a mobile browser or an in-app experience. And always provide immediately helpful sitelinks.
Looking for more mobile data or best practices? Check out our previous blog post 3 Tips Every Mobile Marketer Should Know, or click over to our Benchmark Report: Mobile Search Advertising Around the Globe.
Now that you’ve had a chance to check out our mobile benchmark report (download here!), it’s time to think about how to use this data to most effectively reach your audience. Best practices for mobile devices differ from those of desktops in a few important ways, so keep that in mind while crafting your strategy. Here are some tips to get you started:
With mobile adoption growing by the day across the globe, it has become critical for marketers to keep pace and leverage this consumer behavior. The potential gains are huge, and the market is only getting bigger.
Our much anticipated mobile benchmark report is here, packed full of data and graphs that illuminate the mobile search landscape. Make sure to download your full copy of Mobile Search Advertising Across the Globe: 2014 Annual Report.
The report show that as consumer adoption of mobile devices has been increasing at a blistering speed, digital advertisers have matched the momentum, moving ad spend onto mobile devices to take advantage of this new channel. With mobile devices already accounting for over one third of all paid-search clicks, it’s clear why everyone has their eye on smartphone and tablet advertising. Smart allocation of ad spend on mobile will help advertisers stay ahead of the competition, as the landscape morphs into a more interconnected, mobile consumer-base.
In 2013, we saw US mobile click share break the one third mark with spend share close behind. Smartphones make up the majority of the mobile clicks and spend, emphasizing the widespread adoption of smartphones and increased ad integration within these devices. In addition, smartphones and tablets have comparable click-through rates compared to desktops, while mobile cost per click remains lower than that of desktops. This means that performance has caught up, but competition on mobile isn’t full-blown yet.
Our data shows similar trends across the world, with mobile click and spend share growing at a remarkable pace. In some regions, mobile advertising is growing even faster than in the US. Across Europe, mobile device adoption has led spend share to nearly double in the last year, and click-through rates have shot above that of desktops. This is a strong indicator of the emerging value mobile devices hold for performance advertisers.
The pace of worldwide mobile adoption has changed the digital marketing paradigm on a global scale. With smartphones and desktops adding another layer of complexity on top of the conventional desktop model, advertisers have more opportunity to reach their audience than ever before. To learn about the opportunity to expand into new markets, or simply to benchmark your own campaigns, make sure to download the full report here.
Based on our analysis of retailers’ search ad performance on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, ad spend, impressions and clicks reached all-time highs, signaling consumers were quite active this last week hunting for the perfect gift at the perfect price
While desktops still captured the lion’s share of impressions, smartphone impressions increased 140% and tablet impressions rose 84%. Smartphones grabbed their highest share of impressions on Thanksgiving Day, hinting that indeed consumers were likely sneaking a peak at their phones while waiting for pumpkin pie or waiting in line for early deals.
Impressions on desktops hit a high on Cyber Monday, probably as consumers returned to work and “multi-tasked.”
Mobile Clicking with Consumers
Click share across devices tell a similar story. Clicks on smartphones increased 68% and tablets 42%, with smartphones capturing 10% more clicks than their tablet counterparts. On Thanksgiving Day, smartphones grabbed 20% of clicks, tablets 17% and desktops 63%. When consumers returned to work on Cyber Monday, the share of clicks on desktops increased, capturing 74% of total clicks. Tablets and smartphones were split at 13% apiece on Cyber Monday.
Retailers Spending to Win
Spend overall was up 27%, but with mobile usage on the rise, especially when shopping in-store and on-the-go, retailers increased their investment in mobile-based ads compared to last year. For the three shopping days, spend on smartphones was up 93% and on tablets 64%. Cyber Monday saw the biggest bump in spend across devices, with retailers increasing spend on smartphones 123%, tablets 77% and desktops 24% compared to Cyber Monday 2012.
The fluctuation in performance across devices and each holiday underscores the impact of a multi-device world on retail advertisers. As consumers take their shopping sessions across devices, advertiser need to ensure they have a presence on each, take into account the differences in consumer behavior on each device, and optimize their campaigns for each form factor to drive more revenue throughout the busy holiday season.
The Marin Global Online Advertising Index is comprised of data from hundreds of large-scale advertisers and agencies that collectively invest more than $5 billion in annualized spend through the Marin platform. The data analyzed by Marin for this snapshot reflects a subset of Marin’s direct and agency clients managing active advertising programs for the retail vertical from 11/26/13 through 12/02/13. All data is accurate as of December 2nd, 2013, but subject to change.
The growth in mobile adoption and incorporation of mobile search into daily consumer activities continues to drive innovation in paid search, most noticeably with Google enhanced campaigns. Though the impact of enhanced campaigns has been mixed, capitalizing on new revenue opportunities in this multi-device world requires search marketers to remain agile and efficient—focusing their efforts on optimizing for the mobile experience. The following best practices will help advertisers engage their mobile users and acquire more revenue with enhanced campaigns:
With mobile adoption increasing, it’s no surprise that 70% of mobile searchers use click-to-call. To help facilitate this behavior and increase on-the-go engagement, implement call extensions across your campaigns. Creating a direct way for mobile users to quickly and easily contact your business is an effective strategy for driving customers to your brick-and-mortar locations or guiding them through the conversion funnel. As with all ad extensions, be sure to implement an appropriate call tracking solution to tie back ROI.
Last but not least, Google made a recent update to Ad Rank which now takes into account the expected impact from ad extensions and formats. In other words, ad extensions can now have a positive impact on the position of your ad on the search results page.
Capitalizing on additional revenue opportunities in a new and somewhat untested search landscape will require a comprehensive approach to enhanced campaigns. Continued investment in ad technology and efficient execution of the above best practices will ultimately drive success and win the battle for revenue in this multi-device world.
When Google introduced campaign-level mobile bid adjustments with enhanced campaigns in February, advertisers were concerned with the potential loss of control and precision over mobile bids. To address this, Google announced in April the addition of group-level mobile bid adjustments. For advertisers with large-scale campaigns, this added functionality allows search marketers to set granular, group-level mobile bid adjustments based on varying performance by device.
Since Google’s update became available in May, Marin has been working to fully integrate this functionality into our patented bidding algorithm. Today, we’re excited to announce that Marin’s bid optimization solution will now calculate and recommend group-level mobile bid adjustments for enhanced campaigns. In addition to calculating keyword-level bids for desktop and tablet devices, Marin will also automatically calculate optimal mobile bid adjustments to maximize mobile performance based on user-defined key performance indicators (KPI). These recommendations are calculated on a nightly basis, where significant performance data is available. For advertisers looking to optimize their enhanced campaigns in a multi-device world, Marin provides you with the control and precision required to maximize mobile clicks, conversions, and revenue.
For more information on optimizing enhanced campaigns with Marin Software, please contact your Client Services representative or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the last 6 months, you’re no doubt familiar with what is arguably the biggest change in search advertising since the launch of AdWords – Google’s Enhanced Campaigns. The invention and launch of Enhanced Campaigns from the search engine giant has made it easier for advertisers to scale their campaigns to take advantage of the, now significantly sized, mobile audience.
In the US, mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) now account for 25% of overall clicks from search . More than 50% of the UK population now owns a smartphone and some sites receive more than 30% of traffic from mobile devices, so the importance of mobile commerce cannot be ignored .
We’re often asked by advertisers of all different sizes, from different verticals, how to make the most of the opportunity. Today’s blog post outlines four ways for advertisers to embrace mobile search and ensure that you do not miss out on engaging with the growing mobile search audience.
Mobile e-commerce (Mobile Site Links)
Web users all around the world are using smartphones and tablet devices throughout the purchase cycle. Retailer and service providers are benefiting from increasing levels of user-confidence in mobile devices; a study by eMarketer showed that 61% of respondents had purchased a product online using a PC, with smartphone and tablet users less than 10% behind, at 52%. During the research phase, the results are even closer, with 50% of worldwide internet users reporting using a PC to review a brand or product online, the same percentage report using a smartphone and 52% have used a tablet .
Retailers and service providers are ahead of the pack with the majority now offering a fully-functional mobile website. The next step is to make it easy for potential customers to find your website: ensure maximum keyword coverage through correct migration to enhanced campaigns and calculate mobile bid adjustments to reflect any differences in performance you see across different devices (for more information, please read our white paper, “The Search Marketers’ Guide to Enhanced Campaigns”).
Click to call ads
For brands whose products or services are often bought over the phone rather than online or for those who do not yet have a mobile ready website, click to call ads are a great solution. These ads work in much the same way as traditional mobile search ads; the fundamental difference is that instead of clicking through to a website, the click on the ad triggers a call. The resulting sales and revenue from these calls can be tracked and attributed back to the keyword search so that bids are optimised correctly.
App download ads
New research from eBay shows that mobile apps involving retail products or services had a 42% success rate for reaching launch stage, with just shy of 73,000 retail apps made available in app stores last year. Both online retailers and traditional bricks and mortar stores have embraced the world where there is always “an app for that” by creating user-friendly apps that provide mobile users with an alternative to visiting the full mobile website. Small screen size inhibits use of mobile websites on smartphones as it is simply too fiddly to input strings of information and smartphone users are often in public places where they may not feel comfortable typing out payment information. Apps are particularly attractive to users on smartphone devices as they facilitate the storage of personal information, such as credit card details, so that they do not have to be manually entered on a small screen in a public space.
Joining online and offline
One of the emerging tactics used by high street retailers is to offer vouchers that are redeemed by simply showing a code on your smartphone at the point of sale. This is a highly innovative, trackable use of mobile which should not be missed out on. Geo-target mobile ads to the areas close to stores or restaurants, promote the voucher in the ad copy to foster click-through and make the voucher accessible within one or two clicks of the landing page. When users redeem the voucher in store, you have a reliable way of quantifying the footfall driven through mobile advertising. This strategy can be taken further by using a technology such as Revtrax who can pass keyword information via the voucher code so that in store redemptions can be attributed to individual keyword clicks for powerful optimisation.
Earlier this month, Facebook announced a new social-based home screen experience for Android devices called Home. Though Facebook has insisted that they aren’t developing a new phone or operating system, Home certainly comes close and stands to change the way consumers and advertisers engage across Android phones and tablets. Let’s take a look at how Home’s immersive experience will impact the way advertisers engage on-the-go, social consumers and what risks stand in its path to success.
What Does Home Do For The Consumer Experience?
According to Mark Zuckerberg, the goal of Facebook Home is to “transform your Android phone into a great social device.” To do this, Home unifies the user’s News Feed, messages, and notifications on the home screen of any Android device. This friends-first experience makes Facebook messaging the centerpiece of communication, reducing the need to use voice or texts to engage with your social circle. Because of this intimate and socially-immersive environment, Home differentiates itself from any other smartphone experience in the market. As a result, it’s caught the attention of social advertisers as a new and highly relevant way of engaging their customers.
How Does Home Impact Advertisers?
With users spending more time on their mobile devices, and with more competition from other forms of entertainment and communication like music, gaming, video, and texting, Facebook has felt the impact of an industry shifting to mobile consumption. However, even with consumers’ fragmented attention, the average Facebook mobile user in the US still spends an average of 30 minutes per day on the Facebook app. Home is primed to dramatically increase this level of daily Facebook engagement, and this is great news for advertisers. Marin believes that Home will:
What Risks Does Home Face?
Home will be an uphill battle for Facebook with multiple risks involved. With development resources committed to monthly updates and a tablet version still in the works, Home could limit Facebook’s focus on their mobile app, impacting the user experience for the vast majority of Facebook’s users and slowing down innovation within the app. Additionally, Home might not scale. Competing with Apple and Samsung won’t be easy, since these companies have figured out their distribution models and have developed a loyal following. Finally, Google could change their licensing agreement for Android, making it difficult for Facebook to continue innovating on Home. Though it remains unclear if these risks will become a factor, for now, Home remains an intriguing piece of mobile technology that will undoubtedly have the attention of advertisers throughout 2013, and possibly longer.
Over the last three years, the rapid proliferation of tablet devices has changed the way consumers and advertisers interact across the search landscape. Consumers now rely on their tablets more than ever before to gain access to local business information, product details, reviews, coupons, and competitors. And advertisers responded with relevant ads targeted towards these tablet users.
However, the way these devices are used by consumers today has resulted in a seismic shift in thinking by Google. In an effort to simplify the management of paid search campaigns across devices, location, and time of day, Google upgraded AdWords with enhanced campaigns in early February. According to Google and their data, the line between desktops and tablets is blurring, with search behavior and engagement on the two devices aligning.
A recent 2013 mobile report: The State of Mobile Search Advertising – How Smartphones and Tablets are Changing Paid Search released by Marin Software supports Google’s claim that consumer behavior on tablets and desktops share increasing similarities. However, the data also validates the perception that desktops and tablets are inherently different and perform accordingly so. Regardless, to remain successful in a multi-device world, search marketers must embrace enhanced campaigns and continue delivering a relevant and engaging ad experience.
What Does the Data Say?
Over the last two years, tablets have become a device segment that search marketers can’t ignore. In fact, the share of overall paid search clicks served by Google on tablets increased from 6% to 10.7% in 2012. Consumers are increasingly using tablet devices to research and make purchases on-the-go and, more importantly, in the comfort of their home where desktop devices have traditionally reigned. Marin projects that by the end of 2013, the share of tablet clicks will double in the US, accounting for 20% of Google’s paid search clicks.
In 2012, paid search conversion rates for tablet devices increased by 31%, while smartphone and desktop conversion rates increased by 9% and 7%, respectively. By December 2013, Marin estimates that tablet conversion rates will surpass those of desktops. In addition to this rapid rise in conversion rate, Marin also found that tablet ads are continuing to outperform desktop ads. Click-through rates (CTR) for search ads on tablets were 37% higher than ads delivered on desktops, with the average cost-per-click (CPC) on tablets 17% lower than on desktops. As a result, advertisers increased paid search spend on tablets to capitalize on this opportunity; and by the end of 2012, the share of spend on these devices had increased to 10%, eclipsing the share of spend on smartphones for the first time in history.
Different, But Equal
Tablets will certainly play a crucial role in the future of paid search, but whether the line between desktops and tablets will continue to converge and blur, or diverge and remain distinct, has yet to be seen. Even though these two devices share similarities in search behavior, they continue to perform differently. Perhaps this is a result of their unique user experiences—desktops with their large screens, mouses, and primarily fixed locations; versus tablets and their touchscreens, smaller search real-estate, and portability. Marin’s mobile report appears to support the notion that different user experiences result in varying ad performance. As a result, we expect Google’s enhanced campaigns to evolve as the market demand for additional functionality becomes evident.
The New Multi-Device World
With the migration to enhanced campaigns underway, search marketers must now prepare for a desktop-and-tablet-combined world. Gone are the days of separating campaigns to target these devices individually. Campaigns and landing pages must now be optimized with both the desktop and tablet user in mind. Two strategies that marketers are implementing today include: limiting the amount of Flash-based content on websites, as iPads don’t support Adobe Flash, and using finger-friendly buttons and links.
In an already highly competitive search landscape, enhanced campaigns will change the way advertisers engage with consumers. Sophisticated search marketers will need to continue investing in technology and reestablish best practices in order to successfully drive media and acquire revenue in the new multi-device world.
Download the comprehensive 15 page global mobile report here.