2015 The Year of Mobile Search

Yes, again. We’ve been hearing about the Year of Mobile Search for years now. So, what prompts this in-gemination? Simple. It is this year that mobile search is projected to reach the tipping point, according to an Search Engine Journal report released in December.

What’s this tipping point we are talking about?

This is the year that mobile search is expected to finally surmount traditional desktop/laptop search trend in terms of, wait for it – organic traffic, majority of spend, and paid clicks. Life-changing news no doubt, but then again, it’s the direction life is moving.

Person Using An iPhone The Year of Mobile Search
Person Using An iPhone
The Year of Mobile Search

On the up

Mobile gadgets will continue their penetration this year, and this could only mean one thing: a change in consumer behavior.

Based on figures from the eMarketer report, the number of smartphone users worldwide will exceed 2 billion by 2016. This is not lost to advertisers the world over, who are already stepping up their game – and funds – to the tune of $64 billion projected to be thrown the way of mobile ads this year alone.

This represents a staggering 60 percent worldwide increase from 2014.

However, mobile search return on investment is yet to attain the heights witnessed by its ‘static’ counterpart, and this will still be the case this year, and the years after. Why is that? There is an issue with mobile performance measurement, and in particular how much it impacts sales in physical stores. Until that gets more precise, ROI from smartphones and tablet searches will continue trailing desktop.

How important is Mobile Search really?

Mobile is like the new hot chick on the block, getting all the attention complete with ogling and catcalling.

In fact, Google announced in November 2014 that it would start highlighting mobile-friendly websites (websites optimised for mobile browsing, aka responsive sites) with a mobile badge in its search results – in front of the summary (meta description). Barely has the breaking news caught on than the directive is enforced, if you have been keen to notice.

So, what do you need to get the badge of honor?

Your site needs to tick 4 boxes:

  1. Avoid software that is not common on mobile devices such as Flash
  2. Use readable text that does not need zooming
  3. Fit content to the screen in a way that does not encourage horizontal scrolling or zoom
  4. Position links far apart to easily tap on the desired one

In short, these are just tips for a user-friendly mobile website.

2015 Mobile Best Practices Focused on Your Customers

It’s a question that might have crossed your mind on how you can really nail it with your audiences through a mobile site.

In addition to the above, here are three simple best practices you need to consider this year!

  1. Create compelling, relevant creative

Following the switch to Google Enhanced Campaigns in 2013, there surfaced talk and tactics over campaign structures and bid modifiers. A year later, the performance impact that resulted from this switch was less dramatic than most had anticipated.

Case in point, 70% of marketers did not notice any change in performance or actually any improvements a year later. Just ask Kenshoo.

With that out of the way, what marketers should focus on is improving ad creativity in a way that resonates with consumers.

You could test messaging variations with different CTAs (calls to action) and promotional callouts, and your audience should be on your mind as you do so. The more compelling and creative, the more chances you have of capturing interaction.

  1. Factor in common conversion types

Research from Yahoo has confirmed what we all knew: mobile search doesn’t just happen on the go. Consumers are interacting with their devices in multiple different ways and your strategy needs to reflect that. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What actions do you take on your mobile devices? Yep, it’s probably what they are doing too.

Make things easy for them as well by enabling functionality like click-to-call. The idea is to facilitate a conversion that comes naturally on a phone (not like a form submission). You can then proceed to leverage smart tech which will help you put two and two together and tack which keywords are behind your highest-value calls, then optimising accordingly.

  1. Consider insights in terms of consumer activity

The unique challenges posed by the mobile environment with regard to identifying customers may hinder marketers from spending funds and time to figure out mobile. With appropriate technology in place, however, you can track activity across devices.

The unique challenges that the mobile environment creates with identifying consumers may inhibit marketers from spending time and money to figure out mobile. However, with the appropriate technology in place, you can connect a common identifier across devices to track activity. If you have an app, enlist an SDK for tracking downstream engagement beyond the click to understand app interactions and begin to optimize toward lifetime value.