Developing a Mobile Marketing Strategy

Chad Schmidt
January 18, 2012

Implementing a mobile marketing strategy for paid search may pay large dividends to your web business. This article outlines the basic steps from evaluating the opportunity to building and optimizing a mobile-targeted search campaign.

The number of smartphone subscribers using the mobile Internet has grown 45% since 2010, and the majority of 25-34 and 18-24 year olds now own smartphones (64% and 53% respectively)[1]. 79% of smartphone consumers use their phones to help with shopping, from comparing prices, to finding more information on a product or service, to locating a retailer[2]. Also, mobile and tablet usage has proven to be complimentary to desktop computer usage[3]. The time for Mobile paid search marketing is now, and the following ideas will help your business capitalize on the opportunity.

Measure Overall Mobile Demand

The first step in defining a mobile marketing strategy is to estimate the number of monthly search queries your current keywords generate from mobile devices. This can be accomplished by using the Google Keyword Tool’s “Advanced Options and Filters” feature. If demand is significant, it is critical to develop a comprehensive mobile strategy.

Brand Penetration

Next, investigate what percent of your current traffic comes from mobile devices. This can be tested by opting select campaigns into both mobile and desktop targeting for a limited period of time. After the test period, use the “Segment” button in Adwords to view campaign data segmented by device type. Mobile is estimated to represent 15-17% of all SEM traffic for the Finance, Automotive, Tech, Travel and Entertainment industries. What percent of your brand’s search volume comes from mobile?

Evaluate Current Assets

If there is significant mobile search volume and brand penetration, evaluate your current assets. Does your brand have mobile-optimized web content or SEM-specific landing pages? If not, plan to invest budget here. Also, be sure your current tracking solution is compatible with mobile in order to attribute conversions and revenue back to the keyword that generated the sale.

Account Structure

One paid search best practice is to create separate campaigns targeting only mobile devices (not desktop). The benefits of doing so are budget control, bid control (see “Bidding” section below), ad copy optimization and mobile-specific landing page targeting. If you already have campaigns targeting desktop, either copy the entire campaign or simply migrate your head terms and other high-traffic keywords.

Building Search Objects

The mobile customer is unique. When building a mobile keyword set, remember, mobile screens are small. Therefore, mobile search queries tend to be shorter than desktop queries, typically one to three words. Mobile search queries also contain more local information, such as zip codes and city names. In your ad copy, be sure to include a relevant call-to-action, such as “Receive a Quote on Your Phone”. Also, consider using advanced ad features such as click-to-call and click-to-download if you have the means to track conversions from these sources.

Bid Optimization

There is limited real estate on mobile search engine results pages, five on Google, only two of which are positioned above organic search results. Consider bidding important keywords to position two or better, and leverage your SEM management tool to build an alert to notify you if mobile keywords drop below your target average position. For keywords targeted to ROI or CPL goals, consider targeting separate performance goals based on historical conversion rate and value per conversion, as mobile traffic converts differently than desktop.

If your keywords generate a significant amount of searches from mobile phones, implementing a mobile marketing strategy for paid search should be a priority. After growing by 45% since 2010, mobile internet usage is not expected to slow, so act now.

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