Mobile PPC Advertising Strategies

Pay-per-click ads are not identical across platforms—and neither are the marketing strategies behind them. The same ads and methodologies designed for desktop browser campaigns will not be as effective for PPC advertising on mobile devices.

There are several effective strategies for taking advantage of mobile-specific use cases in PPC. But first let’s look at why mobile is different

From a both the back-end and front-end perspectives, mobile paid search works much like traditional paid search. You set up a campaign based on keywords, and image and text ads are displayed in search results and in the content of mobile sites. The advertising client pays the search provider when an ad is clicked.

The major difference between desktop search marketing and mobile search marketing is not in the “how,” but in the “what” and the “why”—the ad copy, the landing page and the different goals that mobile searchers have that require significantly different strategies and tactics from traditional paid search. There are major differences in areas like user intent, keyword selection and targeting options.

Assuming you already have a successful desktop search marketing strategy in place, your first action in adding or modifying your mobile search marketing initiative is to create a separate campaign for mobile ads. This enables you to tailor your ad copy for mobile users in general, and specific mobile devices or platforms where applicable.

Since Google AdWords automatically includes all search-marketing campaigns in iPhones and other mobile devices with full iInternet browsers, you may have to manually adjust your existing campaign settings. With this approach, you may discover that your desktop search campaigns are more cost effective.

Mobile users consume information quickly. They’re out and about, and don’t have time to do a lot of research—they just want a fast and accurate solution, or something to immediately and temporarily entertain them.

For this reason, mobile advertising typically works well for inexpensive, low-consideration products, immediate intent actions, and local services. Examples include downloading music and ring tones, finding places nearby to shop for specific items or services, ordering a quick meal like a pizza.

Mobile advertising doesn’t tend to convert well for products and services that require longer consideration: loans, TVs, cars, and so on. Having said this, there are many examples of companies that sell longer-consideration products who successfully use mobile paid search advertising.

For example, a retailer that provides people with store locations and driving directions or a company that allows people to compare products on mobile devices.

In terms of content providers, sports, celebrity news, general news, wallpapers, and videos are top in popularity among mobile searchers.

So how do you master mobile PPC advertising? These are four effective strategies.

1) Google Maps and Google Places
An easy way to increase your mobile search presence is to incorporate Google Maps into your PPC mobile advertising. Sending people to your Google Maps listing can be an effective strategy in a number of ways.

First and foremost, make sure your Google Places listing contains up-to-date contact information, payment types, store hours, categories, etc. This will ensure you get the most for your mobile PPC advertising dollars.

Next, make special offers available only to mobile users. This is particularly effective if synced with specific demand or a busy time of year.

For example, you could run a campaign during Daytona Biketoberfest to attract attendees to your store or kiosk in or around Daytona, or appeal to people who may be passing by your Reno retail location on their way to Burning Man.

Seasonal merchandise or services are a great area to concentrate on. Try advertising around holidays such as Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc. A retailer could use mobile PPC advertising to promote an upcoming Halloween sale or event at a location.

Since many mobile users search to find things to do wherever they are, consider focusing your campaign on business location if you have someplace to visit (an actual store, or a booth at a festival). You can even use a temporary or mobile kiosk as a location.

Redbox, for instance, recognizes Foursquare check-ins at its DVD rental kiosks.

Try advertising your business location if you’re located in a tricky spot and people have a hard time finding you. Include a cool offer or promotion, and it’s a win for both you and your potential customer.

2) Device-specific apps
If you don’t have a mobile site or a mobile landing page, try sending people directly to the iPhone app store or Android Market. With this strategy, you can encourage people to buy an app or download a free app—which is hopefully tied to a monetization plan or upsell strategy.

When targeting iPhone users, don’t forget to segment the iPhone and ensure that other smartphone devices are not selected in the AdWords settings tab.

3) AdWords: phone extensions and location extensions
Incorporate phone extensions into your mobile ads. Phone extensions make business phone numbers appear as clickable links underneath text ads for smartphone users.

Click-to-call mobile PPC advertising is particularly useful to those who want to drive traffic to a storefront. Use this in conjunction with Google Maps for an awesome one-two, paid-search mobile advertising punch.

4) Foursquare
Foursquare and other similar “check-in” services enable mobile users to tell their social media contacts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where they are and what they’re doing. Why not leverage these services to make special offers to people who check in at or near your store or shop?

Foursquare offers both location-based and brand-based campaigns, so there are options available to you even if you have products that aren’t specific to a retail location. For instance, HBO and Warner Brothers have both used Foursquare advertising to promote shows and movies, and Pepsi and Starbucks both have successfully run mobile check-in ad campaigns.

Everything you know about PPC advertising is still valid, but targeting mobile devices adds a whole new dimension. Isolating mobile traffic enables you to better streamline your existing traditional PPC campaigns by redirecting mobile traffic to more smartphone-friendly landing pages.

Mona Elesseily is a search-engine marketing expert, author and speaker specializing in paid-search strategy and conversion improvement.

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