Gabriel Kwakyi

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Going Mobile: PPC Tips to Help Boost Sales This Holiday Season

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]
  • 40% of consumers consider mobile the most important resource for a purchase decision.[2]  
  • Mobile ad clicks have grown 116% year over year on Bing Ads.[3]

 

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[2] -- 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!

Happy optimizing!

-Itir & Gabe


[1] eMarketer, September 2014

[2] xAd/telmetrics “Mobile Path to Purchase” study, 2014

[3] Bing Ads Internal Data

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Using Data Transparency Insights to Optimize Your Bing Ads Campaigns

Quick quiz: what do your ad rank, quality score, CPC, impression share and ROI all have to do with each other?

The answer is that they are all directly influenced by your CTR! When it comes to improving the yield of your search advertising campaigns, increasing your CTR is not only one of the most valuable activities, but it’s also very measurable and there are many ways to optimize it! For example, any of these activities can improve your CTR yield:

  • Negating underperforming search queries
  • Writing more relevant and appealing ad copy
  • Adding phrase and exact match types
  • Reducing underperforming dimensions through exclusions and bid multipliers
  • Raising keyword bids

Of this list, item number one, negating search queries with poor CTR has always been an appealing option since it both reduces irrelevancy and low ROI clicks. However, traditionally only search queries that have produced one or more click within the data period selected have been shown in reporting. This meant that the queries with the largest negative impact were hidden from analytical scrutiny: those with A) a CTR of 0% and B) a contribution weight to overall calculated CTR of hundreds, thousands or sometimes more impressions.

With a March 2014 Bing Ads update, Bing took a big step forward in data transparency, allowing advertisers to take advantage of 20-40 times more data volume and make critical improvements to campaigns.

Let’s take a look at a quick illustration: consider the possible dilemma of Pandora Radio and Pandora Jewelry. If a broad match keyword, Pandora, has 10,000 impressions and 1,000 clicks, the calculated CTR is 10%. Within those 9,000 impressions that received no click, though, there would more than likely be a few irrelevant queries hiding from traditional detection since they received no clicks.

Now, with the new search terms with 0 clicks data update, Pandora Radio could improve its CTR significantly by discovering more irrelevant terms to negate. For instance, let’s say that the query “Pandora jewelry” had matched to Pandora and garnered 1,000 impressions, but no clicks. By negating this query not relevant to Pandora Radio’s business, the outcome is that Pandora’s broad match Pandora keyword would not only see its CTR improve to 11.1%, but also likely some quality score improvements, all with virtually no additional effort!

Upgrades like surfacing zero click queries, behind-the-scenes broad match algorithmic improvements and marketplace insight improvements highlight the continual efforts by the dedicated Bing Ads user experience teams to build a better advertising platform. Feel free to connect and let us know how we’re doing, what else you’d like to see in the Bing Ads Feature Suggestion Forums, or on Twitter @BingAds.

Happy optimizing!

-Gabriel Kwakyi

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Bing Ads Insiders Podcast: My Campaigns Are Set Up And Running...Now What?

When you started your business, rented a storefront or domain name, bought inventory and hired the right people, it probably felt pretty good... but you didn’t stop there, did you? You started selling your product, interacting with customers and gathering feedback, expanding into new product lines and exploring different ways to take your business to the next level.

Search advertising works just like your business – the initial set up starts the cycle of taking stock of performance, tuning/adjusting your approach, and then reassessing and repeating. Now that you're up and running with your new pay-per click (PPC) investment, you want to make sure your money is being spent wisely; it’s time to start optimizing your campaigns.

Check out the latest Bing Ads Insiders podcast  where I'll walk you through some tips and tricks on how to optimize your campaigns to help them improve from good to great. Search advertising can be a jungle, but here at Bing Ads, we're committed to helping you successfully navigate the landscape and exceed your goals.

Here’s a sneak peak of some campaign optimization ideas covered in the podcast:

  1. If you initially took a conservative approach with bids, now is the time to adjust – raise bids for the keywords that are doing well and lower bids, or consider pausing, keywords that aren't. Tracking conversions is one of the best ways to determine keyword performance.
  2. Use broad match types to perform keyword expansion; review your search query report to find and add more long tail keywords and remove phrases that you don’t want traffic from. Long tail keywords, which are the more complex queries that include 3 or more words, have higher quality scores, click-through rates (CTR) and usually much less competition for searcher attention.
  3. Remember that sometimes your best optimization can be done on your website! Paying for the right click doesn't mean you've locked that customer into a sale! Remove friction or extraneous blockers in the purchase process, reduce checkout steps and make sure you have ample inventory availability or information for the traffic you’re paying for.


If you're new to Bing Ads, or to search engine marketing in general, be sure to check out these great resources:

Bing Ads Tools:

PPC Industry Blogs:

Excel resources galore:

Check out the Bing Ads Insiders Podcast here on iTunes or with a search in the Zune and Xbox Music podcast sections.

If you have a question about your campaigns, feel free to send it to the Bing Ads search help email address: searchaz@microsoft.com

Was this post helpful? What topics would you like to see covered in future podcasts? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Thanks!

Gabe Kwakyi

Account Manager

 

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