Co-Authored by Itir Aloba-Curi & Gabe Kwakyi
Did you know that consumers in the U.S. will spend over $800 billion this holiday season? Additionally, while total retail sales grew 5% year over year, the e-commerce retail component is set to grow 16.6% for the 2014 season as compared to 2013, totaling about $72 billion.
In order for marketers to get as large a slice as possible of this near trillion dollar pie, mobile must be first on the agenda. Consumers will be relying more than ever on their smartphones to look for gifts, compare prices, search for locations and make purchases, both online and offline; later on we’ll talk more about the ways in which mobile devices drive purchase decisions, but this year 19% of U.S. retail e-commerce sales will come directly from mobile devices.
To understand just how important mobile has become to consumers, have a look at these telling statistics:
- 125.7 million shoppers will use their smartphones to browse, research or compare products via a web browser or app.
- 40% of consumers consider mobile the most important resource for a purchase decision.
- Mobile ad clicks have grown 116% year over year on Bing Ads.
For today’s constantly-connected consumers, it’s become second nature to switch between multiple devices when doing purchase research or making a decision. This means that for marketers, it’s no longer a viable strategy to analyze a consumer’s value by tallying the number of last-click attribution conversions attributed to a single device.
To run effective ROI analysis, we must consider the full landscape of how consumers use their mobile phones, tablets and computers to make decisions. Moreover, not only will tracking mobile sales as the main success factor not provide the full impact of your mobile search campaigns, it may also result in the allocation of less budget to a medium that is driving significant value to overall sales. Including other signals in your mobile ROI analysis can help you make a more informed decision, such as the number and duration of calls, location extension clicks, time on page compared to the average time on site and whether mobile exit pages contain content pertinent to driving conversions.
Understanding the big picture of how mobile devices contribute to the consumer purchase decision breaks down into five, main actions:
1.) Mobile-commerce: Shoppers making a purchase directly on their smartphones, such as buying a gift certificate for your child’s favorite teacher on the train ride home from work.
2.) Offline sales: Shoppers who research a product/service on their smartphones and go to a physical store to complete the purchase; this is also known as webrooming or reverse showrooming. To buy your spouse a present, you may search on your phone to find a store that carries cashmere sweaters, then get directions and go to that store to feel the sweater and buy it in person. Businesses that don’t show mobile ads don’t have the chance to capture these sales.
3.) Online sales: Shoppers who research via mobile phone and then finish their purchase on a computer or tablet which may have a full keyboard or larger screen. To find a holiday card for a co-worker you could find a good holiday card site on your phone while out at lunch, then use a picture of you and your coworker from your computer that evening for the card, purchase and send the gift.
4.) Phone orders: Shoppers who search on smartphones and call a business to make an order, such as finding a great hotel in the Bahamas, then calling in to book and make a special room request.
5.) Showrooming: Shoppers who visit a store to check out a product and then purchase online for convenience or better pricing, such as testing out TVs from a store floor, then purchasing online with the right part number.
Learn Mobile Jiu Jitsu to Win on Mobile
When you first consider the five mobile purchase actions listed above, the smaller mobile screen real estate and a shorter amount of time in which you can grab a mobile searcher’s attention (average time on page for mobile clocks in at 3:53 seconds vs 5:33 for tablet and computers, per a recent eMarketer study) may sound like blockers; however, those factors actually present a great opportunity to win with mobile searchers by practicing problem solving jiu jitsu. By turning what may at first appear to be weaknesses -- converting between devices, less space for messaging and decreased attention per page -- into strengths, e.g. driving more sales to fixed cost assets like call centers and stores, a more succinct focus on messaging and taking action faster, it’s clear how to expand our slice of the mobile retail purchase pie!
Practice jiu jitsu by leveraging the fact that mobile searchers want to purchase sooner -- 65% of mobile searchers look to complete their purchase within 24 hours -- and provide a way for them to purchase from your landing page or even your ad.
If you can convert your customers through a phone, use call extensions to allow searchers to dial your number without having to search again through your website. If you have a physical location, give them directions straight to your nearest store with location extensions. Allow customers to add an item to their cart, enter an email address and finish checking out at another time or on another device. Experiment and try different ways to raise conversion rates, like landing customers searching for category terms on pages sorted by product popularity.
Mobile searchers represent qualified, action-oriented traffic. When you provide the means for them to take the immediate action they want to take, they can be your easiest won customers and help you drive sales online and offline. As we have seen, mobile devices are becoming more influential in purchase decisions by the day – don’t delay any longer, adapt your advertising strategy to stay relevant and win on mobile!
Take a look at your brand’s mobile experience – are you impressed?
Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and search for your product/service on a mobile device: would you do business with your company if you were a potential buyer?
- Can you find your business on a mobile device?
- Are your ads showing in the right position? Is your message compelling?
- Do you have a mobile-responsive site? Does your website load quickly? Does the landing page have the information that you are looking for?
- Have you made it easy for consumers to take action on a smaller screen and without a full keyboard?
Try some of these mobile best practices to ensure your campaigns are set up to win on mobile:
- Build a mobile-friendly website – Provide your users with an experience and relevant, necessary information that is easy for them to consume, navigate, and act upon from their mobile device.
- Show ads in the right position - Use bid multipliers for mobile to maximize your return on investment for mobile searchers; mobile CTR drops off significantly from position 1 to 2.
- Use relevant ad copy - Improve your ad copy by testing different variations and calls to action. Highlight holiday-related deals such as discounts, free shipping, and guaranteed delivery.
- Enable ad extensions: Sitelinks, Location and Call Extensions.
- Measure your efforts – Track multiple mobile data points, including direct mobile sales, phone calls, location clicks and other valuable signals; customize your Bing ads report by selecting "Device Type" to assess mobile-specific performance.
That’s all for today; feel free to comment, question or provide some insights based on what you've learned about advertising to mobile customers!
-Itir & Gabe