I recently had the fortunate opportunity to attend SMX West in San Jose, CA with a few of my colleagues here at Point It – needless to say, my head was left spinning after day one. Local search, SoLo, Ecommerce & Retail, Bing best practices, Google best practices, YouTube – I could fill an entire blog post with just the topics that were covered during this four day extravaganza (don’t worry I won’t). But after surviving this online marketing boot camp, I was left with the question: what really made a lasting impression on me as a marketer? The answer: mobile.
This answer should not be surprising. Mobile is still relatively new, it’s exciting, and it’s growing at an alarming rate. In fact, growth on mobile spend is expected to leave social spend in its dust. Now when I say mobile advertising, I don’t mean SMS marketing – a.k.a. that annoying text message you get from your tax company at 5 am telling you to download a new trial version of their software for free (not that I’m bitter or anything). I mean MMS – engaging, multimedia rich ads that people disregard on their televisions but watch on their smartphones.
So with smartphone searches growing 4x YOY and mobile retail sales topping $2 billion in 2010 alone, it would be a safe bet to assume almost everyone out there is engaging in mobile search in one form or the other…right? Wrong. The truth is, mobile marketing is far from the level of engagement concerning other, more traditional, marketing channels. Currently, only around 30% of marketers use mobile in their campaigns; however, around half of marketers surveyed plan on employing it within the next 12 months (via Forrester Research). Mobile has its obstacles: analytics tools need to be improved so clients can better understand ROI, marketers need to better understand their target audience and how customers engage with their mobile devices, and lastly there needs to be a solid understanding of some of the best practices concerning building a mobile campaign.
So without further ado, I give you: best practices concerning mobile search straight from SMX. But first, look at the pretty picture below!
Best practices via Dennis Glavin of Microsoft, SMX West 2011:
1. What you’ve ruled out in PC, rule back in for mobile. The key takeaway here being that mobile is still new, it’s growing and changing in rhythm with the growth of our mobile technology. Don’t be afraid to experiment in your campaigns as mobile is anything but a hard science just yet.
2. Start fresh with root terms – this is where the majority of your traffic will come from. Build a base of keywords with root terms concerning your product and/or service and optimize from there for performance.
3. Get aggressive on position – this is intuitive concerning desktop: the more people scroll, the less chance you have of them seeing and clicking on your ad. Now take that idea and amplify it by 1000x when someone is using a smartphone – start bidding aggressively now.
4. Test the tail – I love this idea. Most proponents of mobile search are weary concerning phrase match as the average mobile query is less than 3 words; however, a significant portion of mobile revenue on Bing comes from tail terms…give it a shot and see what works for you.
5. Strong call to action – “On your smartphone,” “Call now,” “Click to call” – calls to action drive results, and results drive you revenue. Bottom line: a strong call to action increases performance and assures the customer of a positive experience. *Click to call has increased revenue by up to 50% in some campaigns – Jeff Licciardi, Performics.
Best Practices via Kerri Smith of iProspect, SMX West 2011:
6. Separate your mobile campaigns! Why you ask? Here’s why:
1. Control: Two huge components of your campaign’s performance is quality score and your related CPCs. Separating mobile from desktop makes it infinitely easier for you to make the keyword, organizational, and bid changes necessary for optimal performance – and to clearly see the results these changes are having on the bottom line. Mobile and desktop are two different animals – don’t assume what’s working in one will work well in the other.
2. Targeting: build your mobile campaigns targeted to specific devices to control your user experience: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, iPad – what sets these users apart from one another? Should you concentrate your efforts on one segment over the other? Lastly, geo target your users for increased relevance, they are on the go after all!
3. Reporting: Do yourself a favor and save yourself from the dreadful task of muddling through your analytics numbers to somehow decipher what % of revenue mobile is responsible for. Separate mobile from desktop, and see the impact on your business clearly and quickly…you’ll have a clear idea as to what channels are growing faster than others.
We’ve all experienced the hassle of dealing with landing pages that are not optimized for smartphones, they’re..well…slow, clunky, too many places to click, too much information, difficult to make a purchase (you get the idea). Bottom line, send your mobile users to a page that is tailored to give them a positive user experience and not the same page you send desktop: limited buttons, light information, easy to decipher in a tiny screen and so on. From 100 places to click to just 6, Expedia saw performance soar concerning mobile when they switched up their landing pages (per Dennis Glavin) :
And there you have it, well, for now anyway. In conclusion: mobile is constantly changing and with it so will our ability to more precisely target users when they are most apt to make a purchase. Every sustainable business needs a solid plan concerning mobile than can be integrated into their overarching marketing strategy. If you’re not doing mobile, start doing it…I guarantee you it’s already affecting your business.