With 1 in 5 Google search queries now being executed on mobile devices and mobile website traffic across all industries growing at a rate of 3.5% per month (Televox), there is a huge demand for mobile optimisation. During 2014 mobile search queries will continue to increase, so working towards a mobile search strategy sooner rather than later is imperative.
Our mobiles rarely leave our sides. They’re a person’s nucleus for communication. We use them for social networking, messaging and e-mailing. We also use them for many other purposes, including checking the news and weather, taking photographs, recording appointments, killing time and simply checking the time or date. With this growing reliance on our mobiles and an increase in Wi-Fi availability, there is a strong opportunity for mobile search advertising.
Obviously, the demand for paid search advertising on mobiles will vary according to the nature of your business. For example, if you are providing a product/service that involves extensive consideration time, mobile advertising isn’t likely to result in high conversions. In comparison, if you are providing a product/service that involves little consideration time, mobile advertising is more likely to result in conversions.
With that being said, people will often use multiple devices during their research phase, particularly for a purchase that involves extensive consideration, so paid search advertising on mobiles is still valuable in terms of high-consideration products/services. A paid search advertisement on a mobile device may not result in a direct conversion, but it is very likely to contribute to a conversion that may later be generated on a desktop. Additionally, it is always important to increase exposure and reach, and optimising your campaign with a mobile search advertising strategy will certainly assist this.
Mobile Search vs. Desktop Search
It is important to differentiate between search queries made on a desktop compared with those made on a mobile. The difference in search queries by device can be attributed to the behavioural requirements, intentions and motivations of the search user. In order to understand how the characteristics and behaviour of the search user differs when searching on a mobile device, we should outline when people use their mobiles to search:
So… what do we need to do to create an all-encompassing mobile strategy?
Create a mobile responsive site
In order to create a successful mobile strategy, users must be able to view and use your website on their mobile. Mobiles have smaller screens that are usually responsive to touch, so the design of the website needs to account for this. The user’s experience whilst on your website depends on how responsive the website is to mobile devices. If the website is optimised for mobile search, the user’s experience on the site will be a lot more positive. People searching on mobiles are likely to be on the go and, due to this, will be looking to retrieve information quickly. Therefore, the website should be easy to navigate, be quick to load and have shorter, more visual content. Ensuring that your website is mobile friendly is pivotal in developing a successful mobile strategy. It is all well and good targeting mobile traffic, but if the user reaches the website and cannot view it or navigate around it easily, people will leave the site and the traffic will be wasted.
Mobile bid adjustments
Mobile bid adjustments allow you to manage bids in relation to the device being used, so you can tailor your campaign to multiple device platforms easily and efficiently. You can set mobile bid adjustments in any enhanced campaign setting, and these adjustments can be made at both campaign and ad-group level. The bids can be set from -90% to +300%.
In order to determine what your mobile bid adjustment should be set to, you can segment your existing campaign data by device to see how mobile performance compares to desktop performance. Mobile bid adjustments should be continuously monitored, reviewed, and tested, especially because mobile search is experiencing prominent growth.
It is regularly the case that only one or two paid ads are shown per web page on mobile devices. This means more competition, so the higher the bid adjustment, the more chance your ad has of achieving a slot in one of the top positions.
To create a relevant set of keywords for a mobile paid search campaign, it is vital to determine which keywords perform well on mobile devices, and in order to do this you must take into account the needs, intentions and motivations of an individual performing a search on their mobile. Search queries performed on mobile devices are likely to encompass shorter terms as people are looking to acquire information rapidly, whereas search queries on desktop devices are likely to cover more long-tail terms. It is important to take into account that short terms are more competitive to rank for, so bids need to reflect this.
Mobile search is known to convert into action faster (depending on the product/service that you specialise in), so the keyword list should reflect this action-intent behaviour.
To determine which keywords perform well on mobile devices you could study the Search Query Report and segment the data by device. This will give you an insight into the pattern of search queries made on mobiles.
To make your campaign more targeted and tailored to mobile search users you should create specific mobile ad creatives, designed with the context of the search user in mind:
Shorter, snappier & more engaging information: Mobile search users generally have less time on their hands and so intend to find the answer to their search query as quickly as possible. With this in mind, the ad creative should encompass short, straight to the point content. A mobile search user is also likely to be more decisive, so engaging information is key.
Click-to-call: These can be enabled in call extension settings. Click-to-call extensions are consistent with the behavioural intentions of mobile search users because they provide a quick and easy way to obtain immediate information.
Mobile ad sitelinks: Sitelinks are a feature well-suited to mobile search users because they can boldly display additional action-intent information. This information also aids navigation and provides a clear conversion pathway.
Local searches: Mobile searches are more likely to present local information and, because of this, optimising your local search strategy is something to consider.
The Future for Mobile Search
If your business is performing well on mobile devices, developing a mobile application may be your next step. Creating an app for mobile users will further improve a user’s experience on your website, which will in turn maximise return on investment.
Mobile PPC campaigns will adjust with the development and use of new technologies, such as voice search. This will lead to longer search queries on mobiles, which is likely to result in the movement from short term keywords to long tail keywords. Thus, it is important to establish your position in mobile search advertising now, but continue to adjust as the behavioural trends of the mobile search users also adjust.
Let me know your experience with, and thoughts about, mobile PPC advertising in the comments below or on twitter @hollymartin__. Thank you for reading!