Get Local Fast & Effectively With Mobile Search

Posted by Daina Middleton, CEO

Part 2 of a series on mobile/local marketing

My last post, “The Mobile Must: Local Shoppers,” made the case for marketers to prominently include mobile into the marketing mix. I outlined the growth of the mobile channel to date, projections for continued growth, and new information about the many ways people now use mobile devices, particularly for shopping.

Any marketers still skeptical about mobile should wise up fast or risk getting left in the dust. Simultaneously, as the many options for local marketing continue to gain steam and prove their ability to boost the relevancy and cost effectiveness of a brand’s interactions with participants, marketers must understand two truths of mobile marketing:

  • Mobile marketing is first and foremost local marketing
  • Mobile marketing provides the perfect anchor for most performance marketing programs

Unfortunately, for many marketers, mobile still represents uncharted territory – and a place where potential pitfalls could lead to failure. Should we build an app or a mobile website? Am I too late to the game to start a basic SMS program? These are just two examples of the many questions we work through with marketers on a regular basis.

The brands Performics works with believe in a performance-based approach to marketing, and the performance-based nature of mobile search makes the channel a perfect entry point into the mobile marketing world. In fact, all Performics search clients are leveraging mobile search to some extent in their programs today. This should come as no surprise to marketers who consider some of the inherent advantages of mobile search.

#1 Growth projections within search are astounding

According to ZenithOptimedia’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts released in December 2010, U.S. mobile advertising expenditures are expected to nearly triple in the next three years, from $575 million USD in 2010 to more than $1.7 billion USD in 2013. That is in the U.S. alone, and mobile in some instances is growing even faster around the world.

#2 Mobile search is growing rapidly as a portion of overall paid search

An athletic retailer that works with Performics received nearly ten percent of its Google clicks from mobile in Q3 2010, and we expect all Performics paid search clients to garner at least ten percent of their Google clicks through mobile by Q2 2011. For more data and insights on the growth of mobile search at Performics, check out “Was 2010 The Year For Mobile Search?” by our own senior analyst James Beveridge.

#3 Easy entry to mobile for search advertisers

As I mentioned in my last post, managing mobile search campaigns separately from desktop search helps marketers to rapidly boost ROI and reduce costs on the mobile side, but marketers don’t have to create these mobile campaigns from scratch. In fact, Google recommends mirroring AdWords desktop search campaigns for a quick start out of the gate and then making modifications from there to boost efficiency and effectiveness.  I would recommend supporting mobile efforts with landing pages with content appropriate for mobile searchers however.

#4 “Being there” and other benefits

I outlined the benefits of “being there” in my last post, and it’s worth reiterating: an effective mobile search campaign can make sure you show up to the party when a potential customer seeks out your brand. Marketers simply cannot rely on their primary AdWords program to ensure proper mobile visibility, and as I mentioned above, mobile search is growing as a share of overall search at an astonishing rate. Furthermore, you can “be there” more effectively and efficiently in mobile search than any other search utility will allow. Mobile search campaign click through rates, for example, commonly outperform desktop search by more than double, and we see CPCs as much as 60 percent lower than desktop search.

How to make it happen

As Google recommends, mirror your desktop search campaigns for quick, expansive setup, but don’t stop there. You can enhance results and reduce costs significantly by customizing these campaigns for the mobile channel.

Take it a step further by incorporating three more surefire paths to success:

  1. “Click-to” ads (click to call, click to download ads), customizable to suit your goals
  2. Customized mobile campaigns for needs specific to mobile users (aggressively promoting store locators, for example)
  3. Maximize mission critical terms: unlike desktop search, a position 3 ad may never be seen on a mobile screen

My next post will cover how to build out localized mobile keyword lists and fine tune your mobile search campaigns.

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