To start, I find it fitting to share the below quote from the recent Google ThinkMobile event.

“One of seven Google searches comes from mobile. Not serving ads on Mobile is like not doing business on a Thursday”
- JASON SPERO, GOOGLE HEAD OF MOBILE ADS, AMERICAS

Quite frankly, we couldn’t agree more with Mr. Spero. The proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices is creating a paradigm shift in the way consumers not only research but interact and consume media. Recent Google internal data has shown that mobile queries have grown 4X since 2010, and by 2013 mobile queries will eclipse desktop searches. This provides an enormous incremental opportunity for performance marketers to capitalize on not only acquiring new prospects but putting their brand in the consideration set during the research cycle. The ability of consumers to access information at their fingertips and use this data to assist in the decision-making process has led to a new ideology of the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).  The foundation of this principle marketing shift was created by Jim Lecinski of Google.  Marketers must embrace this philosophy and implement an integrated cross-channel strategy to ensure that their value proposition is consistent and engaging to capture the minds of consumers. As a starting point to help advertisers achieve success in the mobile search landscape, I’ve focused on a few key best practices that can help accelerate bottom line performance.

1. Mobilizing your site (smartphones)
This is often the most over-looked component of mobile and in many cases can take time, energy and resources, which are not readily available. 79% of marketers still do not have a mobile-optimized site experience (source Google), so many brands can still be first movers and take advantage of their competitors. It is even more imperative to prioritize mobilization upon Google’s recent announcement that mobile landing page relevancy now weighs site experience and can negatively impact QS – inflating CPC’s (cost per clicks) and losing placement on an already reduced SERP (search engine results page). A few best practices for your site are: simplifying navigation, considering HTML5, creating a seamless conversion process, keeping it simple and continuing to test and iterate.

2. Track Smartphones and Tablets Independently
A recent Efficient Frontier blog post provided some context on the behavior of device type and the ROI. Many marketers are already taking advantage of the flexibility to target and measure by device type within Google and Bing. This is a great step in the right direction, but there is one often-overlooked best practice that I will share. Not only does Google allow advertisers to target device type, but one can also select an operating system (e.g., Android, iOS). Although performance will differ by industry, I have found that there are large disparities of conversion rates between consumers transacting via an Android Smartphone vs. an iPhone. It would behoove performance marketers to embrace this level of targeting to not only optimize and allocate budgets more effectively, but ultimately provide better transparency to truly understand the type of consumer and identifying their behaviors across platforms.

3. Leveraging Time of Day Targeting (Day Parting)
One of the many challenges of mobile is securing the correct amount of investment to meet consumer demand knowing your ROI vs. desktop is undoubtedly lower. The chart from Google articulates that desktop usage peaks during work hours, with tablet and smartphone traffic leapfrogging in the evening hours. Many marketers likely do not allocate sufficient budget to capture a larger share of voice in the evening hours when these devices peak. To help alleviate the lack of PPC (pay per click) budget and increase mobile ROI, consider evaluating a day parting strategy for your mobile campaigns. Efficient Frontier can help assist with this type of custom analysis by reviewing ones transactional data by hour of day to help justify when one should have a presence in the marketplace.

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4. Mobile is Local
Although many marketers have an online-only presence, I did want to quickly touch base on this key topic for those brick- and-mortar readers.  As many of us can attest, we are overly fixated on our wireless devices, and we continually interact on the go. 1 in 3 Google mobile queries has local intent, and a study by Kelsey Group has found that after a user looked up a local business on their smartphone 61% called and 59% visited in-store. Incorporating location-based products such as click-to-call location extensions, hyperlocal ads and seller ratings, is vital to assist in the conversion process. These resources will make it simple for in-market shoppers to reach your business and take action with the data supplied.

5. Test and Continually Iterate
Like any other channel, performance marketers need to determine what they are trying to achieve from mobile and their core KPI for measurement. Whether mobile campaigns serve to generate warm leads by submitting email addresses, registering for updates, clicking to call, or actually taking a user through a full application process for a completed acquisition, there is no common right or wrong solution. I encourage marketers to test these different acquisition strategies to determine what the ideal mix on the public mobile site is. Remember to not over clutter the initial page, but consider giving the consumer different social or direct response actions to ease the usage of your conversion process. Make sure to craft a media calendar for ad copy testing and leverage unique call-to-actions/special promotions; certainly don’t overlook implementing site links for additional real-estate. Performance based mobile campaigns must capture these users in the zero moment of truth and prevent them from exiting your site to research with a competitor.

There are many common challenges that performance marketers face in the world of mobile, but it is nonetheless an emerging trend that cannot be ignored. Efficient Frontier has been instrumental with implementing and putting many of these best practices to use for our existing clients to develop an initial footprint in this competitive landscape. If advertisers have had previously negative views of mobile I challenge them to revisit their assumptions. Recognizing social-cultural consumer behavior and accepting that usage across devices exists, but is not yet traceable, are two principles that will help drive continued growth in mobile performance marketing.

-Mike Fogarty, Senior Account Manager

3 comments
Annalise Field
Annalise Field

Annalise Field Thanks-a-mundo for the post.Much thanks again. Great.

Pierce Hilson
Pierce Hilson

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Lainey Cawley
Lainey Cawley

Lainey Cawley I truly appreciate this post. Much obliged.