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Mobile Search: A Mini Playbook

June 16, 2011 By Mark Smith
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There's a popular belief that mobile campaigns are only suited for certain types of businesses, such as restaurants and local retailers. Perhaps its search volume hasn't yet hit critical mass, but the momentum is shifting. Understanding a few of the basic best practices will help maximize your return on your mobile marketing investment. 

Understand the Players ... Uh, Player
Recent data suggests that as much as 5 percent of paid search can be attributed to mobile queries. Advertisers have taken note and they've begun shifting budgets to capture this growing volume. Mobile search is forecasted to account for up to 10 percent of search budgets by the end of 2011, most of it going to Google. This industry leader has captured about 97 percent market share in mobile search. 

Leave Room on the Field for Experimentation and Testing
To run an effective mobile search campaign, you have to keep it apart from your regular search campaigns. That is, make certain to create new campaigns dedicated solely to mobile. Why? Google says that advertisers who separate their mobile campaigns in this manner see an 11.5 percent increase in clickthough rates. By isolating mobile, it makes it much easier to understand what's working and what's not. 

Other Best Practices

  • The only way to manage your budget separately is if it's in a separate campaign.
  • Search behavior isn't the same for mobile. Therefore, your keyword pool will be different and smaller. Search query strings, on average, are 25 percent shorter than desktop searches. Your mobile campaigns should be built according to this metric. 
  • Bidding strategies are also different. Think about the size of a mobile screen. It's essential to be in one of the top two positions in order to be viewed, requiring your bid levels to be more aggressive. 
  • Your ad copy should contain a unique call to action specific to mobile. For some businesses it may mean telling customers to stop by or to request a quote over the phone. 

Final Huddle Advice
Plan to include your phone number in your ad using Google's Click-to-Call feature. Giving customers the ability to tap your phone number is a competitive edge. It makes your business extremely accessible. Additionally, this service measures call frequency based on the number of times your phone number was clicked - not called - so you don't need any call-tracking capabilities. All your results are easily accessible through your AdWords interface. 

As mentioned above, segregating your mobile campaigns is the right thing to do. But be aware when you set up your campaigns that Google considers iPads to be mobile devices. I view them to be more similar to a desktop, but you can make that call for yourself. You'll need to decide where you think that category belongs due to your messaging, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of phone numbers. I recommend including tablets and desktops together and dedicating other campaigns to traditional mobile devices. 

Know that planning and strategy go far in bringing in victorious mobile search campaigns.

Mark Smith is principal at KeywordFIRST, a digital marketing agency. Reach Mark atMark@KeywordFIRST.com.


 

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