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Critical: Improve Your Mobile Search and Advertising Strategy

Don't Let Your Search Strategy Get Left Behind By the Mobile World

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A Google exec recently said, "In three years’ time, desktops will be irrelevant." That’s debatable, but there’s no question that mobile use will have grown much more than it already has. Based on comments in a recent keynote, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer doesn’t seem to think PC use is going to drop too much, but he did say, "Mobile queries are just going to keep going up and up and up."

Do you think desktops will be irrelevant in 3 years? Share your thoughts here.

A study released last month found that the number of mobile phone subscribers is on track to increase from 4.6 billion to 5 billion globally by the end of 2010. Another study found that consumers are getting more comfortable with mobile shopping.

Mobile Search

Google has dominated the search market for a long time, and while this still continues to be the case, it’s important to note that search in general changes with mobile. People are searching in different ways than just using their favorite search engines. They’re using different apps. They’re using their voices. They’re scanning barcodes for instant access to product information. The number of ways people are finding information with their phones is only going to keep increasing. On mobile, it’s not just about Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

That’s not to say these three aren’t still incredibly important to mobile. In fact, the search share among these top search engines may even become more greatly divided as time goes on. We’re seeing different mobile carriers and manufacturers making deals with these companies, which affect the default search options for various devices. As we discussed before, mobile search engine use may be largely dictated by device popularity, which is (in my opinion) one of the biggest things Bing will have going in its favor in terms of market share – Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 phones will come with Bing hardware keys, meaning the most convenient way to search on these devices will likely be to hit a single button taking the user to Bing. If these devices become popular, it could be huge for Microsoft in search.

Matt Cutts says Google doesn't worry about supporting 2 different sites if you can find a way for your existing site to work well in mobile browsers As far as Google indexing and mobile sites goes, Google’s Matt Cutts says, "If you can find a way where your existing site will work well in mobile browsers, we’re not worrying about supporting two completely different sites."

To learn about this subject in more detail, read the Google Webmaster Central Blog posts: Help Google Index Your Mobile Site, and Running Desktop and Mobile Versions of Your Site.

Mobile Search Advertising

When it comes to AdWords, Google says to create separate, mobile-focused campaigns so you can optimize keywords, ad text, and landing pages for people using mobile devices. Google shared an interesting case study this week looking at Razorfish’s mobile AdWords approach. They shared the following details:

- The Razorfish team started by duplicating the existing desktop campaigns and switching the settings to target mobile devices with full internet browsers.

- Since their client had a well-known brand name, they focused on branded keyword terms with enough traffic to help them learn quickly about what was working best for their campaigns.

- To measure performance, they tracked several conversion metrics including whether a mobile user looked up the brick and mortar store location or downloaded a coupon from the website. Right away, they saw a 7.5% lower cost per conversion on mobile devices, encouraging them to test ways to optimize their mobile campaigns.

- Razorfish tested whether variations in the campaign’s landing page would affect conversion rates. The team hypothesized that mobile users might be looking to take a specific action, and by starting the user’s experience closer to that action, the client would see better results. As it turned out, for this client, they saw much higher conversion rates when the user was directed to a landing page that showed nearby store locations.

- Finally, they tested variations in the ad text. Four versions of ad text were tested, including the original copy used in desktop campaigns. Each of the three new versions provided over 9.3% lift in conversion rate over the strongest performing copy in their desktop campaigns.

When it comes to Yahoo and Microsoft search advertising, things are about to get more appealing here in general, and presumably, that includes mobile. Microsoft and Yahoo advertisers will have the audiences of both search engines to view ads once Yahoo and Bing get their integration done.

Wrapping Up

One of the most important things any search marketer can do with regards to a mobile strategy, is to simply keep up with the latest mobile trends and innovations. This space is rapidly evolving, and new apps are released frequently. Pay attention to hot apps, and how your target audience is engaging with them. What devices, operating systems, and browsers are hot? Monitor studies and surveys that delve into demographics. Try to stay ahead of the curve.

Do you have a mobile search strategy? What suggestions do you have for improving in this area? Comment.

Critical: Improve Your Mobile Search and Advertising Strategy
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  • http://www.metanick.com Nick Beranek

    I highly doubt that! How can anyone be nearly as productive on a handheld? How would websites get developed, applications written, graphics produced? I do agree that mobile device use will increase, but I think the power of the desktop will always be there (until we can start creating this stuff with just our minds and an implanted chip … but then, watch out, it’s 1984 and Big Brother is breathing down your neck).

    • Chris Crum

      Like I said, his comments are debatable.

    • http://www.twincipher.com doWhileSomething

      Are there things that you don’t need a PC/Mac for? Sure.

      The personal computer will probably be around for a long time, maybe forever. It’s a silly statement to make and he can spin it anyway he wants later, but I bet he wishes he had this statement back.

      It’s nice to be able to send an email from my phone, but I don’t prefer it. Is it cool to play games to kill time, sure. But if I ever have to write a 20 page paper, type out a lenghty email, create a graphic for a web app on a phone, I will look for another job.

      • Chris Crum

        Regardless of his statement, the larger point is about the rising importance of mobile.

  • http://www.Twitter.com/VictorIssa Victor Issa

    Well to prove your point, I’m typing this comment on my iPhone. I’m not even using Safari as you would expect, but the built in browser of the Echophone Twitter app. (which by the way, does not work properly with this page’s comment box – another point proven).
    How did I find this site? A friend’s tweet to http://twitter.com/victorissa – 3rd point proven! This will greatly affect mobile SEO and I, for one, am doing everything I can to stay ahead of the curve!

    • mmmbuzz

      A great way to sync your iPhone files is to use www.SwissDisk.com and a WebDAV program such as Novell NetDrive or Allway Sync

  • http://www.webconstructions.net Tim Hudson

    PCs are still vitally important to most people. Are mobile devices growing? Definitely, and I’m sure they will only continue to grow in the future. But, does that mean they will replace PCs? Probably not. Possibly for those who cannot afford one…but not for most people. Laptops will probably become much more popular than PCs, however. But, like Nick said, PCs are so much more productive than mobile devices.

    Tim Hudson
    Web Design

  • http://www.superfloorcoat.com Concrete Floor Coatings

    For us brick & mortar business that have an ecommerce presences, mobile market is something that we can’t deny & overlook. Who cares if there are more pc users than mobile users, $ is being left on the table.

  • http://www.ghilliesandstuff.com James Mizzell

    Predictions on the fly have always been with us and will continue. The PC was going to do away with paper wasn’t it? The nuclear age was going to end warfare wasn’t it?
    Armament, Paper and desktop PCs will continue to be good investments. That’s my prediction on the fly.
    James ( owner of 5 websites that require the use of my desktop PC daily)
    www.ghilliesandstuff.com
    www.camp-in-tents.com
    www.debt-or-freedom.com
    www.uniquegiftsandfigurines.com
    www.melanesianskincare.com

    • mmmbuzz

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  • Guest

    You use the mobile when you do not have the PC available. But reading or writing anything in the mobile is a pain.

  • http://newmoneytip.blogspot.com Divya

    I realize some about mobile search , How i can create mobile video?

  • http://www.apexxgroup.com Eric Treske

    On e question i see looming is will this shift the balance of power in the search engine industry. Google certain has the foothold on desktop search (though it will be interesting to see how Bing/Yahoo work together in essentially a 2 headed race now). Google would seem to be given a head start on mobile but does Bing/Yahoo or fledgling organization have an opportunity to supplant it? Would love to hear some thoughts!

  • http://www.websitesare.us Web Design San Diego

    Over the next years it will be very important to optimize your website also for mobile.

    My believe is that desktop computers will get replaced by laptops and netbooks like land lines are constantly replaced by cell phones.

    But for serious internet surfing, cell phone displays are just too tiny, and this won’t change. Cell phones with a data plan are great to get quick information from the web, but not made to surf.

    Laptops and netbooks are the perfect way of doing business. Sit at Starbucks and do your work. That’s the future and it has already started. Don’t be late.

  • http://www.ellefagan.com Elle Fagan

    I do a lot of my arts business on my computer online and off, and my MacBook with IntelInside is my other self.

    I like the idea of desktop for main office backup, though – it just seems to make sense.

    Soon, with my business growing, I will want a mini-processor and some of the arts-helper wonderful large displays to help with the digital part of my arts business image manipulation, and to sync with my new MacBook.

    But I’m more than fine for now with my laptop and connector to my tv to check scans in larger size and resolution. I even have two phones and not missing a call, synchronized with my Mac.

  • http://www.ckfswebservices.com Carol

    As the baby boomers hit “old age” they will find that reading a smaller screen device is increasingly hard to do and a desktop will be still be the choice of some.

    Having said that some may make due with the smaller device and a large screen.

    When typing with arthritic hands on a smaller device becomes tedious they will go back to the desktop for comfort. I think the desktops will be around for some time at least another 30 years.

  • http://www.BuildIdaho.com Trey Langford

    Searches are a valuable marketing tool and mobile may be the wave of the future but what do people really search for on mobile devices? I can see addresses and searches for specific types of stores in an area but how real is the entire web for a mobile device? Not yet.
    trey

  • http://autofusion.com Roy van Beaumont

    With voice recognition improving combined with text to speech applications the mobile phone will become a mobile communications device where looking at the screen is not essential. Great for use while driving and on the go.

    Complex tasks such as updating spreadsheets, programs, graphic design etc require a large screen PC, but lots of other stuff can migrate via voice recognition to the mobile device.

    The mobile device for the most part doesn’t replace much I do on the PC, but it does enable me to easily use a computer on the go for simpler tasks – this opening up a new use for computers more than replacing the medium for existing computing tasks.

    –Roy

  • http://www.sbdctampabay.com/author/rduncan/ Rob Duncan

    While I certainly agree with the argument that mobile searches will continue to grow, the reality still remains that the business desktop/laptop will not soon be replaced by a tiny mobile device for most office workers. Something tells me we will still want to look at 17″ screens – at the very minimum – and have a mouse and keyboard at hand while doing all of our “office work”. Until a mobile device replaces all of that while still fitting in my pocket, I do not see the desktop / laptop being replaced by a mobile device… not in 3 years and probably not even in 13 years, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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