The growth in mobile phone and tablet use is staggering. An estimated 60% of time spent on digital media is now through mobile devices, according to comScore, while the number of smartphones will reach an estimated 2.7 billion by 2018.
We now live in a mobile-first world, and marketers understand the need to change operations to best engage with consumers. Obviously this means providing a mobile optimised website, and potentially mobile apps to promote your offerings if appropriate. However, in today’s markets that should be just the starting point, and marketers need to adopt a much more detailed mobile marketing strategy if you want to maximise the reach and potential of the mobile channel. Just as with desktop, paid search plays a key role in mobile. So here are seven areas to focus on, if you want to implement a mobile first pay-per-click strategy:
1. Optimise bidding for mobile search ads
Driven by the rise of mobile, Google launched enhanced campaigns back in 2013. By replacing the ability to manage campaigns separately by device with a single, unified structure, enhanced campaigns aims to better meet the changing needs of consumers. In practice it meant that you needed to set a mobile bid adjustment (MBA) if you wanted to boost or lower cost-per-click for a certain device. By now marketers are familiar with MBAs but the process of bid optimisation never ends when it comes to hitting your campaign objectives in a fluid market.
2. Link paid search to call tracking
Consumers often use mobile search to find company contact details, so they can then phone a business. Whether it is to book a restaurant table or to reserve a product, changing channels can be the quickest way to achieve their objectives. Mobile search is predicted to generate 73 billion calls to businesses by 2018, according to BIA/Kelsey, more than doubling from 2013’s figure of 30 billion.
Ensure you can benefit from this by adding call extensions to ads, and by integrating call tracking with your paid search software. This will enable you to automatically optimise campaigns based on the keywords that are driving the best quality and highest quantity of calls.
3. Location, location, location
Along with call extensions, marketers should look at incorporating location extensions into your campaigns. This works particularly well for businesses with physical stores or branches, as it shows address, phone number, position on a map, and even provides directions on how to get there. However, even for businesses without bricks and mortar locations, marketers can use location data to add insight and optimise the ads that you show, how much to bid and where to direct traffic. For example, if your business sells concert tickets and can see someone is searching for “Madonna” in London you can show them an ad for her forthcoming show at the O2.
4. Make your app the destination address for your search ads
For some companies it might be appropriate to have your app as the destination for paid search traffic. This could be beneficial if you are able to drive users to an app that consumers can download – your app can be the sticky content that helps drive greater brand engagement. For example, retailers can provide a bespoke shopping experience either online or in store by directing searchers either to an app or website based on what device and location the query is coming from.
5. Ensure ads feature within in-app searches
More and more apps now include search as a feature, with Yahoo providing a software developer kit (SDK) that makes it easy for developers to embed search. This provides marketers with another channel for paid search advertising to high quality, relevant audiences. Marketers need to investigate how it will fit into your advertising campaign – you can bid for ads within embedded search results and manage spend through Yahoo Gemini, the company’s unified ad marketplace for mobile search and native advertising.
6. Driving app downloads through advertising
For companies that have created an app, you need to ensure that consumers are using it, and Google’s app install ads are a proven way of generating downloads. However, it is vital that marketers don’t stop at measuring downloads. Ensure that there is proper tracking in place to measure in-app actions like purchases in order to gauge full lifetime value (LTV). In many cases marketers can use the SDK within your paid search platforms to connect in-app actions back to keywords and automatically optimise campaigns based on LTV metrics.
Your search advertising should work in tandem with all your other promotional activity, so if you’re using app install ads within your Google search advertising, you might want to consider Facebook mobile app install ads within your social strategy. Month on month spending on Facebook mobile app install ads increased by 235% over the course of 2014, according to our ‘Mobile App Ad Trends’ research. This enormous growth, over both iOS and Android apps, was driven by the simple fact – adverts to encourage downloads work. App installs went up by 182% over 2014, while cost per install grew by 19%, showing the impact of greater competition.
7. Track the customer journey across devices
With multiple devices used within the customer journey, and the final conversion often occurring on a desktop, attribution is crucial to successfully allocating budgets within a campaign. For example, over Christmas smartphones generated 32% of all clicks, and share of conversions grew by 225% year-over-year. However, despite this increase smartphones were responsible for just 13% of all online retail paid search conversions. The majority of mobile clicks therefore assist downstream conversions, meaning that marketers need to understand and credit the impact accordingly.
As marketers move into a multi-device world, paid search strategies are undoubtedly becoming more complex. However, by integrating channels, taking a holistic view and focusing on a mobile-first strategy, marketers will see major benefits in terms of clicks, conversions and ultimately revenue.