Mobile Paid Search is Up 98%, Still Many Are Missing Out

Hey, people working in Search Engine Marketing: mobile is, ya know, kind of a big deal.

While us in the biz have been proclaiming “the year of mobile” for quite some time, there was much speculation earlier in 2014 that this year would finally be the year when we weren’t proven wrong. If global paid search numbers for Q2, released last week by Covario, are any indication– this is going to be the biggest year for mobile advertising yet.

The report, which can be found in its entirety here, highlights a whopping 98% increase in mobile paid search spend over Q2 2013. This spend also increased by 6% since first quarter; in fact, mobile was the only channel of the three (which includes desktop & tablets) to increase since the beginning of 2014.

Image Courtesy of Covario


Surprising, these numbers are not. However, what I still find to be rather disconcerting is the lack of focus & strategy on mobile-specific campaigns (hell, even within my own clientele). Mobile is still very much an afterthought for both agencies and advertisers, in many cases, despite the undisputed evidence that consumers are moving away from desktops for both research and eCommerce pursuits.

So, what can advertisers and SEM managers do to take advantage of this influx in mobile traffic more effectively? The answer to that begins with your website.

If the website you are driving visitors to is not mobile-friendly (which, is much different than just being “responsive”), then forget about it. You’ve already lost when it comes to capitalizing on the mobile crowd. “Responsiveness”, in itself, is important– but, with smartphone screens getting larger, it is nearly equally important to remember two of the key differences between mobile & desktop experiences: the lack of a fixed “QWERTY” keyboard, and, the still oft-hesitation of mobile consumers to enter too much personal information unless connected to a secure WiFi.

With both of these points, it is important for advertisers to adhere to the cliche (but still applicable) motto of “K.I.S.S.”. The mobile experience, and therefore, your mobile conversion metrics, don’t (and shouldn’t, in most cases) be the same as it would be on a laptop. Just because a visitor is willing to fill out a 10 field contact form on your desktop site, doesn’t mean you should expect them to do the same on mobile.

Nor, in many cases, do you necessarily need them to.

Let’s say, for example, you run paid search for a local dentist. On their desktop site, when a visitor is seeking to be contacted for a first appointment, you have them fill out basic information, in addition to insurance info, a small health history questionnaire, referral details, etc. That’s fine, when someone is sitting at their desk and has access to a standard keyboard; however, on mobile, this is quite simply too much to ask. Get their basic information from mobile search conversions, then reach out to them afterward to provide more comprehensive details. This way, you have their email address, phone number, etc– and even if you can’t get in touch with them immediately, you have their vitals for future marketing opportunities.

Advertisers tend to overthink mobile (when they aren’t overlooking it entirely), which often ends up resulting in no action whatsoever. However, simplifying the mobile experience for potential customers opens up a world of possibility for new business– one that will only continue to expand as we move into 2015 and beyond.

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