Why Mobile Should Be a Vital Part of Your Search Strategy
By: Carissa Vega, Account Group Director
Not all marketers are diving into the mobile market, but that doesn't mean you should be sitting on the sidelines waiting for the "right time." The mobile market is constantly changing, with new features and technologies arriving almost daily. Furthermore, waiting to enter the game can mean missed opportunities to reach the most influential mobile population today: Millennials.
Even if Millennials are not currently a major target audience for your company, they will be one day. Therefore, it's important to better understand their mobile preferences and Search behaviors so that you are prepared to connect with this complex and ever-evolving generation. Starting early can also allow you to better understand the generations to follow, which will no doubt be even more complex and ever evolving.
With more than half of Millennials owning or planning to own an Internet-enabled handheld device, the time to enter into mobile PPC and SEO is now. Although most marketers understand this concept, taking that first step into mobile marketing can be challenging. Below are some key concerns and learnings that I have found through working with clients to implement their first mobile campaigns.
What if I don't have a mobile site?
The engines allow enough flexibility with mobile options to get your footing without a mobile site. Now, with Google rolling out Tablet targeting, you can extend your reach without having to create new mobile pages. High-end mobile devices, such as the iPhone/Droid, have also made searching the Web easier with their design and functionalities. Even so, consider creat-ing a mobile-specific landing page or site if you have the capabilities to create it and your cur-rent landing pages provide a very poor user experience.
Through working with my clients, I have seen an average growth of over 1% for those who simply opt into mobile without a mobile landing page or site.
Note: Google will be the first to tell you that you shouldn't be serving your mobile ads to non-mobile landing pages, so look out for changes in quality score of your ads daily if you are not creating a page. It's important to check your site's usability on each device with in mobile targeting. User experiences may differ with each device, which brings us to our next thought...
All mobile devices are not created equal
Break out your mobile campaigns by device and match type for efficient tracking of your conversion rate or CTR (whichever you have access to). All devices will not provide the same user experience for your site; for example, Droid can display Flash, but the iPhone cannot. If you have the ability and technology to detect the incoming device type and serve a different site for each, I would highly suggest doing so.
Don't Overlook Sitelinks
If you are running regular search campaigns, I don't need to tell you about the importance and value added by sitelinks. The same principle applies to mobile. Make sure you are testing and utilizing site links, because searchers will click on these and convert.
A recent mobile test I ran for a client on their non-mobile optimized site showed that 25% of conversions came through mobile sitelinks.
Don't Reuse Your PPC Ad Copy
Keep it simple. Create abbreviated versions of your copy and let the site links do the rest. Think about your audience and the device you will be advertising on. Millennials want easy and quick navigation for their searches. Remember, most Millennials don't remember a time without the Internet, so you need to target the behavioral factors that go along with being able to have information available at your fingertips 24/7. You don't want your ad cut off, or worse, below the fold. Chances are that this generation won't scroll down to read the rest.
Take the Steps to Solidify Your Footprint
eMarketer forecasts that US smartphone users will reach 109.5 million in 2015. As you can see, mobile usage doesn't seem to be slowing down in the next five years. Don't wait to solidify your brand footprint. Take the opportunity now to add mobile-optimized sites, while developing, testing, and refining your mobile strategies. Mobile will continue to evolve, become more complicated, and create even more opportunities for marketers. As Millennials move from college into the workforce, being "mobile savvy" will become an understatement. Starting now could save you valuable time and set the pace for growth of your brand over the next five years.