Yesterday Google announced the rollout of enhanced campaigns, a major AdWords product release that attempts to simplify the management of campaigns across devices. With enhanced campaigns, search marketers will be able to target consumers based on device, location, and time of day through a single campaign. However, for search marketers that currently leverage separate desktop, tablet, and mobile campaigns, Google’s enhanced campaigns will remove some of the control and transparency we’re used to having. Additional details on enhanced campaigns can be found here.
What Does This Mean? To understand the implications of Google’s enhanced campaigns, let’s review the benefits and concerns.
Google plans to roll out enhanced campaigns across advertisers over the next few weeks. As a result, advertisers may not have immediate access to this feature within their accounts. By mid-2013, all campaigns are expected to have been transitioned to enhanced campaigns.
The rapid adoption of mobile devices over the last two years is changing not only how customers engage with advertising channels, but also how online marketers are allocating their advertising budgets. As online marketers are pushing more discretionary spend towards mobile advertising on smartphones and tablets, they need to think more about how they’re optimizing the mobile experience for their on-the-go customers. To help tee up this discussion, Gagan Kanwar, Marin’s Director of Research, sat down and shared three tips on mobile paid search advertising.
There’s no doubt that mobile search has had a groundbreaking year, gaining plenty of industry attention throughout 2012. Our Q3 2012 data found that search clicks on mobile and tablet devices accounted for 19% of total search clicks from June-August. At the same time, another trend has dominated the headlines in the retail industry as sales in physical high street stores have suffered, with well known offline retailers like Comet going into administration. Since 2000, online shopping has grown 7,300% (IMRG). The challenge for high street retailers has been driving footfall into their physical stores, as shoppers take to their laptops, tablets and smart phones to make purchases.
Mobile and In-Store Convergence
In December, these two trends will converge to create a huge opportunity for bricks and clicks retailers. Our Q3 Christmas Shopping Report for the UK identified that in 2011 mobile search clicks grew from 11% of all search clicks at the beginning of the festive shopping period in October, to 15% in December. As retailers were no longer able to deliver internet orders after mid-December last minute shoppers took to the high street, researching purchases on their tablets and mobile devices as they went.
This trend of high street shoppers using their mobile devices offers two scenarios for advertisers using mobile advertising in combination with a physical store:
The immediacy and urgent nature of these two categories of searchers makes them of a higher propensity to convert, meaning they’re high-value customers to advertisers.
How Can Advertisers Capitalise On This?
An effective paid search mobile strategy starts by separating out mobile and tablet from desktop-targeted campaigns. This results in two significant advantages. First, ad position is far more critical on mobile devices where real estate is limited. To increase mobile traffic and conversions during the festive period, leverage position-based bidding to ensure that ads are delivered within the top three positions. Second, include location ad extensions to quickly point on-the-go mobile shoppers to your nearest store location. Furthermore, consider the use of voucher codes in mobile ads during this period to draw more attention to your ads and promote engagement. In-store voucher redemption will enable you to track the effectiveness of your mobile advertising in driving offline conversions.
Read more about the state of mobile search advertising in the UK and how the emergence of smartphones and tablets changes paid search, here.
The Marin Customer Spotlight series profiles industry leaders and provides an informed perspective on current topics and trends. Last week, Katie Kieft, Search and Analytics Specialist at Fuor Digital, sat down with us (virtually) to discuss the state of mobile advertising and share a few industry best practices.
Marin: What are your thoughts on the current state of mobile advertising? Do you feel this growing segment of consumers is only available or profitable to a specific set of industries/verticals? What are your thoughts on the disparity between smart phone and tablet performance within the mobile segment? Do they require separate strategies?
Katie: In short, mobile advertising today is nowhere near where it is going to be in 5, even 2, years. One thing for certain, however, is that the slow progression mobile advertising has seen is certainly not from lack of effort. Advertisers continue to innovate, test, explore, measure the new technologies and advertising opportunities that come with this exponentially growing mobile segment. Currently, mobile search seems to have been adopted and proven successful faster than newer mobile advertising channels, possibly due to the ability to apply knowledge and best practices from desktop search to mobile search. The growing mobile segment—smart phones making up over 50% of the US cell phone population and tablets continuing to grow exponentially—is certainly large enough to offer availability/profitability to all industries. In my opinion, what’s more important than industry or vertical when predicting mobile advertising availability/profitability is how well developed a company’s mobile infrastructure is. For instance, a restaurant with a well-designed mobile site will most likely be much more successful with mobile advertising than its counterpart who does not have a mobile site. The user experiences and user behaviors between smart phones and tablets are just as different as they are between desktop and smart phones, so it is no shock that performance is different as well. Just as mobile and desktop strategies should be customized, having separate strategies for smart phone and tablets is definitely something that should be considered, if not done automatically.
Marin: Mobile device (smart phones and tablets) adoption and usage continues to grow with performance comparable to and sometimes surpassing that of desktops. What paid search strategies are you putting in motion to capitalize on this growing opportunity? How has Marin helped you in executing on these strategies?
Katie: The copy feature in Marin has really made duplicating desktop campaign structures to run on smart phone or tablet devices very easy and has been a big time saver. In regards to smart phone advertising specifically, we understand how much more important being in 1st position is, and with Marin’s bid override feature it is possible to bid to position automatically. This feature not only saves time but also has proven effective in improving performance.
Marin: If you could only recommend one mobile paid search best practice, what would it be and why?
Katie: Always separate smart phone and tablet device campaigns. As previously stated, smart phone, tablet, and desktop usage and experience are all unique and require separate strategies. In order to successfully run separate strategies, the campaigns must first be physically separated in the search account by targeted device. Without proper account structure, other mobile best practices will be harder to implement and campaign management will become more difficult, hence the reason I would recommend this best practice over others.
Implementing a mobile marketing strategy for paid search may pay large dividends to your web business. This article outlines the basic steps from evaluating the opportunity to building and optimizing a mobile-targeted search campaign.
The number of smartphone subscribers using the mobile Internet has grown 45% since 2010, and the majority of 25-34 and 18-24 year olds now own smartphones (64% and 53% respectively). 79% of smartphone consumers use their phones to help with shopping, from comparing prices, to finding more information on a product or service, to locating a retailer. Also, mobile and tablet usage has proven to be complimentary to desktop computer usage. The time for Mobile paid search marketing is now, and the following ideas will help your business capitalize on the opportunity.
The first step in defining a mobile marketing strategy is to estimate the number of monthly search queries your current keywords generate from mobile devices. This can be accomplished by using the Google Keyword Tool’s “Advanced Options and Filters” feature. If demand is significant, it is critical to develop a comprehensive mobile strategy.
Next, investigate what percent of your current traffic comes from mobile devices. This can be tested by opting select campaigns into both mobile and desktop targeting for a limited period of time. After the test period, use the “Segment” button in Adwords to view campaign data segmented by device type. Mobile is estimated to represent 15-17% of all SEM traffic for the Finance, Automotive, Tech, Travel and Entertainment industries. What percent of your brand’s search volume comes from mobile?
If there is significant mobile search volume and brand penetration, evaluate your current assets. Does your brand have mobile-optimized web content or SEM-specific landing pages? If not, plan to invest budget here. Also, be sure your current tracking solution is compatible with mobile in order to attribute conversions and revenue back to the keyword that generated the sale.
One paid search best practice is to create separate campaigns targeting only mobile devices (not desktop). The benefits of doing so are budget control, bid control (see “Bidding” section below), ad copy optimization and mobile-specific landing page targeting. If you already have campaigns targeting desktop, either copy the entire campaign or simply migrate your head terms and other high-traffic keywords.
The mobile customer is unique. When building a mobile keyword set, remember, mobile screens are small. Therefore, mobile search queries tend to be shorter than desktop queries, typically one to three words. Mobile search queries also contain more local information, such as zip codes and city names. In your ad copy, be sure to include a relevant call-to-action, such as “Receive a Quote on Your Phone”. Also, consider using advanced ad features such as click-to-call and click-to-download if you have the means to track conversions from these sources.
There is limited real estate on mobile search engine results pages, five on Google, only two of which are positioned above organic search results. Consider bidding important keywords to position two or better, and leverage your SEM management tool to build an alert to notify you if mobile keywords drop below your target average position. For keywords targeted to ROI or CPL goals, consider targeting separate performance goals based on historical conversion rate and value per conversion, as mobile traffic converts differently than desktop.
If your keywords generate a significant amount of searches from mobile phones, implementing a mobile marketing strategy for paid search should be a priority. After growing by 45% since 2010, mobile internet usage is not expected to slow, so act now.
Google recently projected 44% of searches for last minute gifts this holiday season will be from mobile devices. We do realize summer just ended and it may be a tad early for some to be thinking about the holidays; however, the stat did get us thinking about best practices when running successful mobile advertising campaigns. Here are three things we’ve noticed that you may want to consider:
1) Position More Important – A smaller screen equates to less ad real-estate on mobile devices. Typically only 1 or 2 paid search ads appear at the top of a mobile search. Consequently, it’s important to closely monitor the position of your mobile ads and adjust accordingly.
2) Tailor Mobile Ad Content – Although tempting, copying existing creative over to mobile campaigns tends not to work as well. We’ve seen short and sweet works the best with mobile ads creative. Certainly leverage all the characters you can, but be conscious about clarity so mobile users on the go accurately know what they’re in for.
3) Focus on Local Results – Often when searching on mobile devices users are trying to find an answer to an immediate concern whether it’s directions, nearest restaurant, or nearest store that sells a particular item. Advertisers that focus on taking advantage of locality tend to see better results. Local offers and coupons, particularly in-store coupons, within mobile ads improve click-through rates and conversions.
What have you found to work when running mobile ads?