Ian Carrington Google mobile advertising sales director
At Google we’ve been researching the ’mobile movement’ in the UK and we’re seeing smartphone use continuing to soar. Here are the latest facts from our research: 44% of us go to bed with our phones within arm’s reach, 65% use our smartphones to kill time while travelling to work and 91% are on smartphones during downtime in the workplace.
Smartphones have become the ultimate shopping companion too, transforming us into more savvy consumers. Around 45% of us use them to help with shopping, and when visiting stores, 28% are on smartphones looking for inspiration with 15% using them to evaluate products. In all, 51% of us have made a purchase based on a smartphone search. But in spite of these statistics, a staggering 83% of top UK advertisers don’t have a mobile-optimised site. The numbers are loud and clear, and the time to put them to use is now. So how can you take advantage of the mobile opportunity? There are four critical steps you need to take.
Step one: develop and integrate your mobile strategy
Many people think, ’Oh, I’ve got an iPhone application, therefore I’ve got a mobile strategy’. Make no mistake that is not in itself a mobile strategy. Your strategy should consider applications as well as the mobile web. Start off by defining your objectives. Is it about downloads? Is it about customer acquisition? What are you trying to achieve? Once this is defined, integrate it into all your marketing activities, and make sure it becomes part of your overall communications.
Step two: build your mobile destination
Your mobile destination could be a website or an iPhone or Android app. The trend we’re seeing across the board is that apps are great for branding and retention, but the mobile web is great for generating new leads. Need more motivation? See the ebookers case study opposite. And just look at eBay: every second it has a sale through a mobile device. It’s making over $2bn-worth of revenue a year on mobile. In fact, it sells three to four Ferraris per month through a mobile phone.
Step three: connect with your users
People are looking at your business through a mobile lens. Are you optimising your advertising campaign to let them know that you’re aware they’re on a mobile phone and you’re prepared to provide a good service to them? Have you optimised your AdWords? Have you separated out your campaigns to target desktop customers in a different way with different bidding strategies to your mobile customers? Have you explored how display advertising on networks such as AdMob can build brand as well as drive performance? If you’re answering “no”, then consider making some changes.
Step four: mobilise your business with data
Be creative with the data you’ve got. You’ve got plenty of information from your AdWords campaign and your Google Analytics account on what people are doing with your business on a mobile phone today. Very few companies are actually looking at that data so start analysing it and understand the insights it’s giving you. These valuable details can directly inform step one your strategy.
Case study ebookers.com
Online travel agency takes ’book easier. travel happier’ ethos to mobile and gets 90% jump in bookings
With a two-pronged approach to mobile, ebookers increases transactions and builds brand
Ebookers.com, an online agency specialising in worldwide travel, offers a choice of over 250 airlines, more than 95,000 hotels, package holidays, car hire and insurance. As one of the first travel agents to launch an interactive travel website in the UK, it has a history of groundbreaking activity in the digital marketplace. Backed by its slogan “book easier. travel happier”, ebookers has adopted a two-pronged approach to entering the mobile environment.
You need to have a completely different bidding strategy on mobile versus desktop and by splitting your campaigns, you can do that
To help customers “book easier”, ebookers.com has launched one of the first fully transactional multi-product mobile sites for travel in Europe. “We wanted to have 100% the same product that we have on desktop,” says Rob Define, director of product strategy. This means the mobile site offers lower cost, faster development time and more straightforward support than an app. Based on the experience of its US-based sister company Orbitz, ebookers also knew that a mobile website would bring more bookings than an app. “As an e-commerce transactional website, we wanted to drive through bookings first.”
The second part of ebookers’ mobile strategy was to help clients “travel happier” by launching the ebookers Explorer iPad app. “It’s not a debate anymore about mobile website or apps,” says Define. “You need to have both.”
Mashing together content from several social media sites to create a dynamic travel magazine, the app aims to build customer value and brand awareness through differentiation, and to focus on innovation and inspiration rather than just transactions.
While in the early days of smartphones customers could visit the ebookers desktop site via their mobiles, since launching the mobile site ebookers has experienced a 90% jump in visitors and bookings via mobile. Define’s advice for other companies looking to replicate results like these? “Advertise and analyse to succeed” for both mobile sites and apps.
Define says that organic and paid search drive a high share of visitors to the ebookers mobile site, so he recommends a dedicated mobile pay-per-click account to manage all-important positioning.
“You need to have a completely different bidding strategy on mobile versus desktop and by splitting the campaigns you can do that,” he affirms.
Introducing mobile-targeted ad text is another top tip; ebookers has trialled text borrowed from its desktop campaigns against mobile-specific text and seen the latter deliver increases in click-through rates of up to 25%.
Meanwhile, to promote the app, ebookers enlisted the help of Google’s AdMob. “We launched an iPad-targeted specific campaign in all 12 countries where ebookers is present in Europe,” Define says. “As soon as we launched the campaign we saw a 100% increase in downloads of the app, which is phenomenal.”
As with the mobile website, analysis of the app’s performance remains paramount. “We wanted to understand consumer behaviour,” explains Define. “And an easy way to do this was to implement Google Analytics for Mobile on the app.”
As a result, it is seeing 50% longer visit durations than on the desktop website, and information such as this is helping ebookers to prioritise and optimise to ensure its success in mobile continues.