We may be in a recession, but one area is booming.
As handset costs are driven down, more people are switching to smart phones, such as iPhones & BlackBerrys. Internet usage on mobile phones is increasing, and may well displace much PC and laptop usage.
There are already phones on the market using 1 gigahertz chips, says Andy Rubin, who works on Google’s Android platform. Soon we’ll have mobile phones with 2Ghz processors, which is more than in a lot of laptops,” he predicts, pointing out that a PC is no longer necessary to access emails, to quickly check the net or to update your Facebook page
Google even goes so far as predicting the desktop will be irrelevant within three years:
In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant,” sais John Herlihy, Googles vice president of Global Ad Operations. “In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs. Mobile makes the world’s information universally accessible. Because there’s more information and because it will be hard to sift through it all, that’s why search will become more and more important. This will create new opportunities for new entrepreneurs to create new business models – ubiquity first, revenue later.”
Marketing-speak perhaps, but we do live in interesting times when it comes to new opportunities in search. Google bought mobile advertising network, AdMob, last November for $750m, so expect much integration and new features this year.
Usage patterns are also changing. Because smartphones were more expensive, they tended to be used mainly for business. Now, usage patterns are becoming increasingly consumer oriented. If more people do adopt smart phone usage, what does this mean for PPC advertisers?
A modified approach is needed.
The biggest change will be in terms of ergonomics.
Factors such as small screen real-estate, lack of keyboard, and different modes of interaction will mean whole new search and interface paradigms will be adopted for mobile. Expect a lot more voice commands, and point and click driven functionality. People probably aren’t going to be doing a whole of typing, such as form filling, and they aren’t going to be reading long screeds of text.
Optimize Landing Pages For Mobile
Create pages specifically for mobile users.
Think old-school. Think small and resource-light. Don’t assume Flash or other fancy graphical scripting capabilities. Pages should be short and lean, and code should be optimized and basic.
Avoid making the user scroll too much.
Mobile usage tends to be search dominant.
Make your call to action crystal clear, and easy to tap with a finger. Include your phone number, so people can tap it to call you. Google are also rolling out a click-to-call feature (again) which displays a phone number next to your mobile ads.
Bullet point lists work well on mobiles. Dense text – not so much.
Here are a few helpful tools for testing landing pages on mobile devices:
Testiphone: web browser based simulator for quickly testing your iPhone web applications.
Opera Mini’s Simulator: live demo of Opera Mini 5 beta that functions as it would when installed on a handset.
Run Through Google’s Help Files & Data Options
Google is pushing mobile advertising and will be encouraging existing PPC advertisers to migrate their activities. Check out their official tips.
Also sign up to their Official Mobile blog. Not strictly Adwords related, but may provide insights into their broader global strategy, which is, of course, driven by Adwords.
Another useful source is Mobile Marking Watch, a blog that covers the mobile marketing community.
Google is also now splitting out stats for mobile devices. Here’s how to find them.
Adjust Bid Prices
Just as you bid differently on the content network, you should also adjust bids focused on mobile advertising. The bid competition still isn’t as fierce as on the search network, so you should be able to adjust your prices down.
Think Local, Think Navigation
People on the move tend to be thinking local. In terms of commerce, they want to know where to find restaurants, shops, and attractions. Consider navigational based search activity. Consider geo-targeting. Consider adding geo-specific variables, such as town and city names.