Taking off in the Mobile Advertising Marathon

By — 09.08.15

Taking off in the Mobile Advertising Marathon

It’s become common knowledge that as of May 2015, more Google searches in the US are happening on mobile devices than on computers. With the trend becoming apparent years ago, companies—particularly with large or enterprise levels of spend—have jumped on the mobile bandwagon by investing in better mobile sites, investing in high average positions for mobile ads, and have even dedicated significant development time to participate in betas like Purchases on Google. In addition, paid search agencies and search engines have been continuously working together to develop mobile strategies and innovations.

Despite the trend and advancements, there are still a large number of companies with little to no investment in mobile advertising. Because of this, Google recently asked select advertising professionals from agencies across the U.S. to attend their Mobile Guru Day in Mountain View and Adlucent was eager to participate. We’ve combined the insights from Google’s training with our own agency knowledge to provide some straight-forward steps for you to prove that mobile advertising is worth the investment for your business.

 

Jump Start

The first step in starting the mobile marathon is to scope out the opportunity for your business within the mobile space. Google developed and recommends Our Mobile Planet as a great starting point for identifying where the largest opportunities are. This interactive resource allows you to see data for specific countries and basic demographics (age and gender) tied with mobile behaviors (anything from mobile phone usage to interaction with mobile advertising). This can help show trends or answer questions you may have about mobile interaction with your business’ target market. Bear in mind that the data only goes back to 2013 and is not industry-specific.

Assuming your business is showing organically in Google search results, look to your organic search data for guidance on how your customers search on devices. You can pull a query report segmented by device to see how people search for terms relevant to your business, though many queries are now marked “not provided” because of privacy. Google’s Keyword Planner, located within AdWords, is another resource to see estimated traffic for any term you’d like to know about. Using the daily forecasts for traffic at specific bids (on the right side of the Keyword Planner), you can get an idea of where to start your bidding for specific terms to generate a particular number of clicks.

Google Keyword Planner Mobile Trends

Google Keyword Planner Mobile Trends

For the most specific information related directly to your company, we recommend looking at your current website data. This can help answer questions around how many people came to the site on mobile versus desktop and how many customers actually purchased on mobile versus desktop. If the number is low for either of these, read on for on how to improve this performance.

If your data indicates that more than 10% of your customers are using mobile phones to search for products online, but you’re not ready to make the investment just yet, run a mobile test. Be open to fine-tuning the test a few times before you see the results you’re hoping for. Google recommends running mobile for at least three to four purchase cycles to start, but you should be able to see useful data within a few weeks of starting your test which you can then use to optimize. There’s a strong chance that your mobile traffic will look very inefficient when you first begin testing so it’s crucial to remember a few points. First, most companies see a low mobile CVR (compared to desktop), but low CPCs and high CTR in mobile help to make up for this lower CVR. Second, we’re about to go over some levers to pull in order to help with what looks like poor mobile performance. Third, we’ll end with ways to make sure you’re measuring the impact of mobile advertising with a more holistic approach.

 

Improve Mobile Performance

What if you’ve put money into mobile ads, but you’re seeing subpar results so far? Here are the top things to look at in order to quickly diagnose problems and work towards better performance.

  1. Look into your mobile average position. Google states that CTR drops 90% on average from position two to three. CPCs on mobile tend to be lower than on desktop, so a higher CTR should yield a better return on your spend in this area.
  2. Are you taking advantage of mobile-optimized extensions, specifically sitelinks and callouts? The use of extensions in general helps quality scores, which helps to lower CPCs at current positions. We’ve also found that using mobile-specific ad text and extensions for mobile ads significantly helps performance.
  3. If CVR is low on mobile devices, look into optimizing parts of your site. Site search functionality, ease in the checkout process, and page load time are huge opportunities for increasing the number of conversions and helping people buy immediately, rather than switching devices, or worse, going to one of your competitors.
  4. Make sure you have keyword and PLA coverage for your top selling products, specifically on mobile. Consider bidding up for these products since these represent the best chances for conversion.

 

Measuring Mobile Impact

One of the biggest challenges in the mobile advertising space is how to accurately attribute orders, or any other conversion-type actions, back to mobile when consumers are switching devices frequently and interacting with your store in different ways. To start, it’s important to understand how mobile ads may be contributing to other areas of your business. We find that it often helps retailers new to the mobile game to think about mobile as the first step in the purchasing funnel (i.e. browsing) and other devices and channels, which may have higher conversion rates due to mobile browsing as the end of the funnel (i.e. shopping).

The most obvious way to measure mobile is by mobile web conversions. However, think about how often people look up a product on their phone and then later purchase that on their computer. Because the cookie from the ad is placed on one device, the mobile ad and potentially any other advertising if the shopper went directly back to the website won’t get credit for a purchase on another device. Google’s solution for this is “cross-device conversions.” This is a metric in AdWords that can be a column on its own and is also added into the “estimated total conversions” column along with a few other types of estimated conversions. If you’re a little skeptical, Google claims 95% confidence in the cross-device conversion numbers. For a detailed look at how to use Google’s Estimated Cross-Device Conversion tool to measure your ads impact across various devices read our in-depth report here.

Next, think about how extensions may be helping customers on mobile phones interact with your store and products (online and offline).

Adorama Cameras search

Are you seeing clicks on your mobile call extensions? If yes, look at the conversion rate and average order value for your call center and apply those to the number of calls from ads. By using a search engine forwarding number, available on both Google and Bing, you can view more information about calls such as call time, and opt in to count calls as conversions. Mobile ads are also a great opportunity to drive traffic to your mobile app – consider counting downloads as conversions, or adding tracking to your app to properly attribute certain orders to mobile.

If you have physical store locations, mobile advertising can be a valuable resource in driving more traffic to those stores. You can utilize geo-targeting to bid up around each location; five- and 10-mile radius targets are recommended, but experiment with larger areas if applicable. Local inventory ads are another option when the applicable product feeds are set up.

Finally, store visits are integrated into Google’s “estimated total conversions” metric and can help guide businesses in understanding how paid search drives customers into stores.

Bathroom Towels search

 

Finish Line

Diving into mobile advertising can seem very overwhelming, especially if you haven’t started yet or if performance isn’t looking great. However, the best move is to at least start with a few of the steps above and most importantly, don’t be quick to write off the impact of mobile advertising. The number of mobile queries will only continue to grow in the foreseeable future so it’s best to move forward on your mobile marathon and Adlucent will continue to help guide you along the path to better performance.


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