Alessandra Alari, head of search at Google UK, offers advice for brands looking to maximise their search campaign success around Mother’s Day and other big shopping days.
The mobile phones of dads, daughters and sons burn hot in early March as the search begins in earnest for something appropriate to give mum on Mothers’ Day. An estimated £1.4bn was spent on Mother’s Day in 2017, with each mum receiving an average of £58-worth of cards, flowers and gifts. Brands with something to offer need to know how these purchases are being made. In fact, Google’s trend data shows that in 2018 68 per cent of Mother’s Day purchases are expected to be via mobile. Search on mobile is particularly important for this special day, with elements of secrecy and last-minute panic battling it out for supremacy.
Nearly two-thirds of Mother’s Day searches were also made on the Saturday immediately before Mothering Sunday last year. Brands have a small but critical five-day window to get in front of searching spouses and offspring. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that the trend for mobile led searches isn’t just prevalent for those leaving it to the 11th hour to purchase gifts. In fact, over 40 per cent of people say they prefer to complete their entire shopping journey on mobile, from research to purchase.
In order to make the most of these mobile-savvy customers, it’s essential that brands get the basic search factors right. A good starting point is looking at mobile page load times. Currently, it takes on average a staggering 15.3 seconds for a mobile page to load. As technology improves, users’ expectations for faster mobile experiences will rise. In fact, research shows that a one second delay in page load times can impact mobile conversions by up to 20 per cent. Evidently, a focus on faster load times is essential if businesses want to attract customers.
Save the day
It’s no exaggeration to say that there are a million different options for Mother’s Day gifts. A search for ‘online florist UK’ delivers more than 9m search results. Chocolate, bafflingly, only a little over a million. Yet what customers are searching for is often very generic. ‘Mother’s Day gifts’ are consistently the top trending keywords, followed by ‘Mother’s Day flowers’ and ‘Mother’s Day ideas’.
To get in front of this audience, think what customers’ priorities might be at this time. Saving money may be a good way of encouraging clickthrough during the rest of the year but saving relationships and getting flowers or chocolates delivered on time are more important with that 11 March deadline looming. Callout extensions that highlight ‘guaranteed next day delivery’ or ‘arrives by 5pm’ will be jumped on by the last-minuters.
Alternatively, try standard sitelink extensions. Unless you’ve built your business all around this single-day festival of mothering, not everything on your site will be relevant. Using sitelink keywords such as ‘Mother’s Day bouquets’, ‘Mother’s Day perfume’, or ‘personalised Mother’s Day gifts’ will get your customer straight to gifting central and the knowledge that in two or three clicks, their job is done – for this year, at least.
The personal touch
Whether searching via text or voice, using an app or scheduling a purchase delivery, a seamless brand experience is essential at every step of the customer journey, especially since online and offline brand interactions don’t work in silos.
The most successful retail brands, for example, are investing in mobile search experiences as a driver into physical stores. Of course, not everything can be achieved online or delivered in a heartbeat, so getting customers to find you online, and providing the information they need such as store opening times and inventory available, is a top search tactic.
Convenience is a factor that is critical for today’s time-poor customers who are always looking to make a purchase that they hope is quite literally around the corner. This is evidenced by the fact that one in three mobile searches now have local intent. Using online tools focusing on location or click-to-call to secure the order will drive more traffic than just product alone – for instance, providing a map and phone number for spouses to order a local bouquet from. While click-to-call will appear as a number in the search ad on desktop, it turns into a handy call button on mobile, solving Mother’s Day issues in a single click by getting customers straight through to the service centre or store.
Mothering Sunday may be just one day in the year, but it’s an incredibly important one for anyone in the highly competitive gifting business. In order for brands to make progress in a mobile-first world and reap the rewards of key calendar dates such as Mother’s Day, they must get the basics right. By taking action now and optimising the platform closest to customers – mobile – brands can make search work for them in the most immediate way possible.