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Getting Started With Mobile Paid Search Advertising

After several years of lying in the weeds, mobile advertising has significantly picked up steam. It finally makes sense to understand how to effectively use and deploy mobile paid search marketing campaigns. In this article, I’ll provide some basic tips related to paid search mobile marketing. In my next article, I’ll suggest several ad copy and landing pages strategies for mobile paid search campaigns.

The reasons to try mobile advertising are fairly obvious. First, the adoption rate of smart phones is increasing. According to Nielsen Wire, massive growth in mobile marketing is being fueled by improvements in device quality, increasing access to fast & affordable data and people increasingly using smart phones in their everyday lives (smart phones no longer considered strictly a business tool). Also, the mobile advertising market is growing. According to eMarketer, worldwide mobile advertising spend will almost double from $1.289 to $2.345 million from 2010 to 2011. Take a look at the information in the graph below:

Mobile search advertising growth 2007 - 2012

Source: eMarketer

Tips for mobile paid search advertising

In general, mobile paid search works in a similar way to traditional paid search. Image and text ads are displayed in organic search engine results and in the content of mobile sites. The advertiser pays when an ad is clicked. But, mobile search is different and requires different strategies and tactics than traditional paid search. There are significant differences in areas like user intent, keyword selection, targeting options, etc. and I’ll cover these below.

To start, it makes sense to create separate campaigns for mobile advertising. This allows advertisers to segment mobile devices (as appropriate) as well as tailor messaging and ads to mobile users. Note: Google automatically opts advertisers in for “iPhones and other mobile devices with full internet browsers” so ensure you have correct settings when setting up campaigns.

Mobile user intent

Generally speaking, mobile advertising works best for inexpensive, low-consideration products as people are looking to consume information fairly quickly. Mobile advertising tends to work best for immediate intent actions like downloading music and ring tones, finding places to dine, ordering a quick meal (like a pizza) or for purchasing movie tickets.

Mobile advertising doesn’t tend to convert well for products and/or services that require longer consideration like loans or TV’s. Having said this, there are many examples of companies that sell longer consideration products who use mobile paid search advertising. One example is a brick and mortar retailer (like a sports apparel store) who uses mobile campaigns to provide users with store locations and driving directions.

Note: popular mobile verticals include sports, celebrity news, news, wallpapers and videos.

Targeting options

With mobile campaigns, carrier and device options can be specific. In Google, you can “select all” or drill down and choose specific mobile devices like the Android phone, iPhone/iPod touch and palm webOS or a specific carrier like At&T, Sprint, etc. (various carrier options are available in Canada as well). For example, if you were designing a campaign and you wanted to sell an apple iPhone app download, you’d want to drill down and specifically target mobile users who use iPhones. Above, I’ve dealt with full HTML browsers. It’s worth noting, WAP mobile advertising options are available in Google at the ad group level.

Shorter queries

With mobile devices, searchers will not be typing up a storm. So for your mobile campaigns, target shorter queries that people can easily type on their phones i. An obvious exception to shorter keyword phrases is if people are using voice search on their mobile devices. With wider adoption of such technology, mobile campaigns may eventually convert for longer queries.

Higher positioning

Often, mobile web pages only have room to show one or two ads. This means advertisers must ensure that ads are in top positions to be shown. As expected, mobile ads in the top two positions tend to perform best as they consistently show in mobile search results. There tends to be a massive drop-off in CTR, ROI and obviously ads appearing in search results when ads are in the lower positions.

In my next article, I’ll suggest several ad copy and landing pages strategies for mobile paid search marketing campaigns.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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