It is estimated that by mid 2012, smartphones will account for more than half of the UK’s mobile users (econsultancy). The potential for retailers is already starting to show, as users search for places, goods and services as they go about their daily business.
Brands are recognising this, and many are implementing mobile as part of their digital strategy. However, I don’t think they are giving it the degree of attention it deserves. Make no mistake, mobile search is growing.
Brands need to build separate strategies. Not just between their traditional desktop paid search and mobile, but also between different mobile platforms. iPad users search in a different way to smartphone users, both navigationally and transactionally, with large differences in behaviour internationally. So brands need to look at the data, and run separate, mobile-specific campaigns, to check how landing pages, creative and PPC (pay-per-click) are performing.
Adwords can split targeting between tablets and mobiles, and a different approach is needed for both. Tablets behave more like PCa, mobiles very differently, and they show differences by operating system. All mobile devices are not the same, and, similarly, user patterns are different.
Adwords lets you split by operating system. So, brands need to run tests to see whether Apple converts better than Android. Apple users are often a different demographic to Android, and their purchasing behaviour is again very different.
Brands want users to have the same experience when interacting with sites, be it through a mobile device or a desktop PC. Many are opting for a mobile-specific website, and there are some great ones out there, (M&S, ebay, Amazon, Groupon, Debenhams to name a few). This means fewer images and more information. All of this is fine, but only if they can be easily found. Remember, these are mobile devices, and by their very nature, users want fast results.
As Google shows few paid search ads in mobile search results, mobile searches are limited. This, I’m sure, will change, but in the meantime it should not be ignored. Brands need to ensure that they appear in the top positions on mobile devices, just as they’ve worked hard and spent lots of their hard-earned budget ensuring top position on desktops.
Mobile search is still in its infancy by comparison to traditional search. However, it doesn’t seem that long ago when that internet marketing was something that few people understood, let alone saw its potential. Marketers should take this platform seriously, check data, test and test again. Mobile search should be an important part of your overall strategy. Get it right now and you’ll reap the rewards this platform has to offer.
Farhad Koodoruth is MD of Blowfish Digital