How well do you understand the needs of mobile searchers, and are your campaigns capitalising on the growth of mobile?

Have you ever left home without your wallet? Do you turn around to
get it?

If you’re like most people, you carry on with your day, cross your
fingers that you don’t need your driver’s license for identification, and hope
someone at the office will lend you a few dollars for coffee and lunch.

What if you leave your mobile phone at home? There’s no question
you’re turning around to retrieve it. An entire day with your phone has become unimaginable.
A recent survey revealed one-third of people would give up sex before they give
up their mobile phone.

By 2015, more U.S. internet users will access the web through mobile devices
than PCs. YouTube is predicting mobile devices will be the dominant form
of accessing videos in the UK by 2013.

As people are becoming increasingly
attached to their mobile phones, changes are cascading throughout the web,
affecting all aspects of online behavior and brand marketing.

And nowhere is
mobile’s impact stronger than when it comes to search, which (along with email)
consistently ranks at the top of the list of most popular
online activities
among U.S. adults.

Desktop search may
still dominate the overall search market, but mobile search represents a new
frontier. The widely accepted number across
search engines, locations and industry categories is that today 10 to 15%
of searches are from mobile, and that figure is growing every day.

And
mobile searchers are ready to act. Google reports, “…after a search, nine out of
10 smartphone users take action and half of those users wind up making a
purchase.”

But search on a mobile device is fundamentally different than
search on the desktop. Whether
you’re running a multi-million dollar PPC campaign on AdWords or optimizing for
organic search traffic and inbound leads, it’s critical to understand these
differences and what drives the mobile searcher.

1. Mobile is highly local

Mobile
searchers have a higher tendency to be doing searches with a local intent.

Exactly
how much higher is up for debate. Last May, Google’s Marissa Mayer was quoted
saying that 40% of all mobile searches
are local. Microsoft has said that 53% of mobile searches on Bing have a local intent. An earlier
estimate of 33% local was frequently repeated throughout 2010.

Whatever figure we choose to cite, we know that people on mobile
devices are seeking things around them. After all, mobile gives us a unique
opportunity to be simultaneously online and out in the world.

We use our devices to navigate throughout the physical world: Where’s the closest parking garage? What’s
the best breakfast place around here? Where can I post this package for my
nephew?

If you’ve got local content or content that can be localized,
optimize it for mobile.

2. Mobile is focused and timely

It
may seem counter-intuitive at first glance, but the average mobile search
on Android and iPhone has roughly double the keywords than the average desktop
search.

The
interface is smaller on mobile but mobile searchers are more task focused and highly
specific in what they’re seeking.

Consider
the following data from Microsoft: 70%
of PC search tasks are completed in one week, while 70% of mobile search tasks
are done in one hour.

While
someone shopping on their desktop computer takes on average a week to take
action while someone on their mobile takes on average an hour. Talk about
acceleration!

This
difference in time to purchase has very real implications in retail. Mobile
users are looking for information or assistance to help them make buying
decisions literally right at the point of sale.

Consumers searching on a mobile
device will make a purchase within 24 hours, while desktop searchers will buy
over a longer period of time.

As
a result, marketers need to employ specific search tactics for each platform.
For example, on mobile search landing pages, offer very specific information about
products and create clear calls to action on the web and on the phone.

Implementing click-to-call functionality is a great option here. That mobile
searcher is ready to act so harness their intent with a small number of clear
actions

3. Mobile search increases steadily
throughout the day

Over
the course of a day, hourly usage trends vary based on device types. Google Mobile Ads
analyzed searches
from tablets, PCs and mobile devices and found that searches from computers broadly
reflected time spent at work. Activity increases at 9 am and drops off at 5
pm.

In contrast, tablet searches happen after work with a sharp spike in the
evening hours between 6:00 – 11:00 p.m.

And
smartphones?

Searches
on smartphones grow steadily throughout the day, rival desktop search in the
early evening and peak around 9:00 p.m.

While both tablets and smartphones can be ‘lean back’ devices, used
in combination with other media while sitting on the couch in the evening, smartphones
alone are used on the go throughout the day and combine searches with both
professional and personal intentions.

4. Mobile searchers make
mistakes

It’s not surprising that mobile searchers are more prone to
misspellings than desktop searches. We’re not precise with touchscreen
keyboards, small targets to hit and a variable location we’re typing from.

So make sure to include common misspellings in your campaigns and
optimization efforts, this can be a great, untapped source of new traffic.

What misspelled words should you include? Turn off the
auto-correcting spell checker on your mobile device and tap in each of your top
10-keyword phrases 10 times each. You’ll end up with 100 keyword phrases.

Which
ones are misspellings? Collect the results and start your list.

Along these lines, many marketers running paid search campaigns are
finding it more effective to manage separate sets of keywords for mobile and
desktop platforms.

Is this right for you? Only you can decide and you can only decide
once you’ve got some experience. So get started.

Computers, tablets, and smartphones all fill a different need that
consumers have for finding information at various points throughout the day.

While marketers should look to all three devices for reaching potential
customers, lumping the devices together without understanding differences in
intent and behavior can lead to costly mistakes and missed opportunities.

Optimize now for mobile

Remember all those highly motivated, ready-to-act users searching
to solve their problems as soon as possible? If you do a good job with mobile
search optimization, they’re coming to your website.

Make sure your website is ready.

The biggest mistake in mobile search marketing is forgetting about the
landing pages and website behind the search results.

If you’re going to engage in mobile search marketing campaigns,
make sure you’re driving traffic to a mobile optimized landing page (at least)
and a mobile optimized website (at best).

Otherwise you’re just investing in a
campaign that ultimately pushes customers to a lackluster or downright
frustrating experience.