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Maximizing your mobile impact
Search marketers, are you prepared for a mobile world? Columnist Amy Bishop discusses trends and opportunities to help guide your optimization effort and make the most of your mobile experience.
Whenever people talk about mobile search, one of the first things that always comes to mind is location, location, location. Since mobile phones are… well, mobile, these devices open up opportunities to target consumers who may otherwise have been hard to reach.
According to a Consumer Barometer Survey, 82 percent of smartphone users utilize search engines to look for a local business. This is evidenced by the growing number of searches containing “near me,” as shown in the graph below. According to Google’s internal data, 88 percent of “near me” searches happen on a mobile phone.
Because of this, there’s an opportunity to leverage mobile phones to bring people in-store. Consider setting up campaigns with a hyper-targeted radius around brick-and-mortar locations and bidding up the mobile modifiers.
You can also use a lot of different lists to be more specific about exactly who you might want to bid on (e.g., email subscribers, previous purchasers) or just to bid higher on those people, even if still bidding on a broader group. (For more tips on bringing customers in store, check out this article.)
Moreover, mobile phones offer a unique opportunity to engage consumers in-store. According to a different study, “Consumers in the Micro-Moment,” by Google and Ipsos, once in store, 82 percent of smartphone users consult their phones while deciding what to buy. Keep that in mind as you build mobile content — ensure that the content is helpful and that in-store offers are present, in addition to online offers.
I am a big proponent of micro-conversions — and not just on mobile. The ultimate goal (the primary conversion point) should always be the priority, but if you can’t get that, get something. It is a common misconception that any on-page actions outside of the primary goal will detract from the overall conversion rate.
The primary conversion point should still be prioritized within the layout with a noticeable call to action. If a consumer isn’t ready to purchase, though, or if they would prefer not to complete the process on a phone, then it is good to have secondary give-and-take opportunities.
These opportunities should offer the consumer a chance to learn more about the product and be valuable enough to build interest in the advertiser’s brand while still giving the advertiser an opportunity to get something in return, such as an email address (even if without additional contact information).
If nothing else, getting the consumer into a remarketing list based upon the action that they took (like watching a video or signing up for an email newsletter) is better than nothing at all.
This piece can’t be emphasized enough: Often, converting on a mobile phone is cumbersome. It is highly likely that dev work put toward facilitating mobile conversions will have a positive ROI — if the traffic is there.
One of the best tips that I’ve heard regarding landing page optimization is to watch one of the least savvy people you know try to convert. This is especially good advice on mobile, where people are notoriously less patient. Be mindful of the number of pages that need to load, where the calls to action are and how easy it is to use buttons and navigation without accidentally clicking nearby links or buttons.
Take special care with mobile forms. Optimizing mobile forms goes well beyond the placement on the page and the number of fields in use. Optimization also includes the logistics of filling out the form, such as which keypad (numbers vs. letters) appears for different fields and ensuring that the fields are easily visible when typing.
There is hardly anything more frustrating than attempting to fill out a form on a mobile phone while the keyboard covers the field, making it hard (or impossible) to see what you are typing. As part of a greater mobile guide, Google put together some great tips for making forms easier to use on mobile phones.
Understanding customer preferences
As you work to facilitate conversions, it is important to learn which conversions customers seem to prefer. Monitor how consumers use your site. Which actions are they performing most frequently? Do your primary conversion points have suffering conversion rates? If so, is this a typical part of the consideration phase, or is it a result of a misalignment between customer preferences and available options?
To be fair, business implications make it impossible to offer certain conversion types — or handle them well. If your company isn’t able to handle high call volumes, then it wouldn’t be a smart move to try to push people to the phone.
However, if your consumers seem to be much more willing to call instead of filling out the form, then it might be worthwhile to identify opportunities for your company to become better equipped at handling calls, potentially by partnering with an external resource or by setting up an IVR (interactive voice response system).
Sometimes, we get a little hung up on pushing customers down the path that is most convenient for the business without considering the potential ROI improvement that could come with making an internal shift to better align with customer preferences and expectations.
Tracking mobile consumers
According to a Google/IAB study titled Our Mobile Planet, 40 percent of consumers who do research on a smartphone will later go on to make a purchase on a desktop. Not only does this place an emphasis on showing up — being there to grab consumers as they enter the funnel — it also underscores the importance of tracking consumer engagements that happen elsewhere.
For illustration, Google shared the graph below, which comes from their own internal data (from 2015), which highlights the increase in conversions when cross-device attribution is in place.
Tracking indicators such as store locates, getting directions and reviewing business hours can provide some context around intent. Coupon downloads and redemptions can also be a great way to connect online and offline sales.
Tracking in-store visits through software and beacons is also a valuable option for retailers that drive a significant volume of traffic through stores. The topic of beacons warrants much more coverage than can be provided in this article, and in fact, there was a great SMX session about beacons. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, you can check out the recap here.
Last, but certainly not least, one of the best methods of tracking site visitors (mobile or not) is to get them into your CRM. As I mentioned in previous sections, if you can help to facilitate conversions in a manner that makes engagement convenient for the consumer, that’s the ideal situation.
Realistically, that might not always result in an immediate sale, but if you can capture information that will allow you to track that person via email address or another unique identifier, you can get a better understanding for how different touch points impact the bottom line.
The bottom line is that mobile advertisers need to be able to connect the dots and think outside the box as it applies to mobile’s role in the purchase path. Leaning too heavily on immediate sales isn’t always the best means of measurement.
Don’t forget the apps
Mobile provides a unique opportunity to connect with customers on a deeper level: through apps! There are many, many unique ways to leverage apps to help build brand loyalty and engage existing loyalists, such as providing useful content, promoting offers, storing logins, facilitating e-commerce and allowing consumers to access purchase history, wish lists and favorite items.
If your company has an app, take advantage of app-install ads and app extensions to get it in front of your customers. Moreover, understanding the value of your app as it pertains to customer loyalty and lifetime value will help you to establish and increase ROAS based upon installs.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.