When advertising, you need to be able to get your message in front of your potential customers, wherever they may be.
In 2012, that place is on the mobile web. People with smartphones are searching for information, researching products and making purchases more than ever. Last year 95% of smartphone users searched for local information, 61% of them called a business they discovered on their phone and 90% of those people acted on that call or search within 24 hours.
Mobile is growing fast. In fact, since 2010 the number of mobile searches has grown by 400% to account for 15% of all Google searches, and people prefer to use the mobile web for researching products and reviews, and making purchases, compared to using a smartphone app.
It’s estimated that there are between 6-8 billion mobile searches on the Google network per month, in a world where half of all mobile searches lead to a purchase. Simply put, if you’re not taking the steps to drive traffic to your website via the mobile web, you’re missing out.
Are you mobile-friendly?
I’ll get to mobile PPC tactics in a minute, but before you go targeting mobile devices, you need to be sure that your website either has a mobile version or that your standard version will be easily readable and look fine on a smartphone.
Not all smartphones support flash, so if your standard website uses flash, I’d suggest creating a new simple version for mobile. Your mobile site doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to be efficient and clean. To learn more about creating a mobile-friendly website, check out Google’s suggestions on how to make your site mobile-friendly.
Mobile searchers differ from desktop searches
There are a couple of key differences between smartphone mobile searches and desktop searches, the primary being that mobile searchers are generally more interested in making a purchase quickly.
This needs to be reflected in your text ads. Mobile searches are also typically more location-based and done by people looking to find something near them to do, which will come into play if you’re a brick & mortar service (like a restaurant). And coupon codes are a great way to incentivize potential buyers.
Since the format of your ads won’t change, you don’t need to drastically change anything about the ads you’re running, but altering your call to action to include an incentive can certainly be helpful. Llike desktop ads, there are several extensions you can use to make your ads stand out to mobile users.
Mobile ad extensions
I’m a big proponent of using ad extensions for desktop targeted campaigns and I think that using them on a mobile targeted campaign can work just as well, if not better.
Mobile searchers want to find what they’re looking for fast, with as little redirection as possible. Without further ado, here are the ad extensions you might want to employ for your mobile campaign.
Like desktop extensions, location extensions display a map with your location along with your advertisement.
What makes this a bigger deal on a mobile phone is that it can take up almost the entire screen, making sure that the searcher acknowledges your presence there.
And since mobile searches are geared toward finding something close by to the user, having the map makes it even easier for customers to find and buy something at your store.
This aspect is especially important if you don’t actually sell anything online, because you rely on your ads to bring in foot traffic. If you offer a delivery service, the extension can also help customers decide whether or not you’re too far to deliver to them.
Click to call extensions
Call extensions allow you to include a business phone number in your advertisement without having it take up your regular character limit.
But you can also set up a number with Google that will forward to your business phone. I’d recommend this option because it gives you more detailed reporting like call start and end times, the date the call was made, the duration of the call, the area code, the call type (manually entered or clicked), and which campaign and ad group triggered the call.
As you can see, if you’re interested in the details of your campaign at all, you’re going to want to go with a Google forwarded number.
Regardless of which option you choose, setting up call extensions is completely free, you simply pay the same price for a call as you would for a click.
In my experience, getting a call is worth more than a click because it’s easier to sell a customer when you’re able to interact with them over the phone, so it’s a worthwhile investment. I hate to keep using the restaurant example, but setting up a click to call number where someone can make a reservation could be a great way to get people through your doors.
To set up a Google forwarding number, go into your extensions tab within the AdWords interface, select the campaign where you’ve enabled the call extension and choose “Show a Google forwarding number on all eligible ads and devices.”
You’ll also have the option to turn off standard clicks for your eligible ads, meaning that your ad will not take users to your website; they’ll only be capable of calling. Depending on the desired action of your campaign, it’s an option worth keeping in mind.
Sitelink extensions are a great way to incorporate multiple landing pages in your mobile AdWords campaign.
It’s been shown that mobile ads with sitelinks have been proven to boost your clickthrough rate by up to 30% compared to a standard mobile ad. What’s great about sitelinks are that they allow your customers to select whichever landing page they want before going to your home page.
An instance where separate landing pages can be extremely helpful would be if your store has multiple locations. You can then use sitelinks to direct users to the location nearest them, or use an extension to link the searcher to a menu, particular product or even a contact page.
Saving a searcher the hassle of having to visit more pages than they’d like, to find what they want can be the difference between a sale and a waste of your advertising budget, so use sitelinks wisely and you’ll be rewarded.
Something to keep in mind when setting up a mobile campaign is that you’ll most likely want to make sure you’re targeting only mobile devices. The ads won’t make sense being served on a desktop if they were meant specifically for mobile users to act on.
Again, several smartphones (including the iPhone) aren’t flash enabled, so keep that in mind when designing a mobile site. If you alienate your audience, chances are they won’t make a purchase.
Mobile search is a growing market, so the earlier you make your presence known the better. Keep these tips in mind when you create your campaigns and you’ll do great.
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About Trace Ronning
Trace Ronning is a writer and the media coordinator for WordWatch Founded in 2009, they're dedicated to delivering affordable AdWords management to small businesses by automating the keyword bidding process. You can read more articles on AdWords news and strategies on their PPC blog