Should You Run A Mobile-Targeted PPC Campaign?

With the exponential rise in smartphone use over the past year or two, you might be tempted to run a pay per click marketing campaign targeted specifically toward mobile devices. On paper, it seems like a good idea. Since there are so many more people accessing the internet on smartphones these days, it’s understandable if you want to try to reach this user segment. However, you should consider the nature of your business and its relation to mobile phone searches before you invest the time and money to create a mobile-targeted PPC campaign.

First, you need to get into the mindset of a mobile internet user. This may not be too hard, especially if you’re a smartphone owner well-versed in the pleasures of instant internet gratification. Mobile internet users are crunched for time, and are probably looking for information they can act on in a hurry. They might be en route to a store and need directions, looking for a certain type of business in their immediate area, or comparison shopping online while they browse in a brick and mortar store. The plus side is that they have a strong intent to purchase what they are after – they just need a slight push to get them where they need to be. The down side is that you don’t have a lot of time to make an impression on these hurried users.

Because of this mindset, mobile PPC campaigns that rely on a lot of bells, whistles, and customer interaction are likely to fail. Don’t target mobile users with information appropriate to the information-gathering phase of the buying cycle. Focus your landing pages on the immediate information that these users are looking for – directions to stores and quick bullet points about products and services.

Keep in mind that these people will also be viewing your landing pages on very small screens. Build a special landing page for your ads that is optimized for smartphone screens. By offering a better user experience, you can impress your potential customers.

Of course, not every business should run a mobile PPC campaign. If your product or service has a long buying cycle, and you know your users will be doing a lot of product research before making a commitment, don’t bother with a mobile campaign. People don’t do their product research on smartphones – they wait until they get home on a real computer for that. Also, if your purchase process takes more than two or three pages to complete, you probably won’t see good results from a mobile campaign. Going through a checkout process on a smartphone is a real pain, so most users are probably saving this experience for a more comfortable device.

There are some types of business that would benefit immensely from a mobile campaign, though. Bars, restaurants, and other local hot spots could see an increase in foot traffic with a little push toward smartphone users. Supplement your web local listings (Google Maps, Yelp, Yahoo Local, etc.) with a little PPC and you can help mobile users find you in your neighborhood.

If you offer a cheap, instant-gratification style product, you might succeed with a mobile PPC campaign, too. This is especially important for people selling phone applications or ringtones, but could work for any product that doesn’t require a lot of research or thought into the purchase. If you want customers to make their purchase on their smartphone, though, make sure the checkout process is as simple and short as possible.

Mobile PPC campaigns aren’t for everyone, but they will become more important over the next few years as mobile internet use continues to rise. If you do set up a campaign, make sure to track your mobile phone visitors in Google Analytics. As in any PPC campaign, you need to pay close attention to your visitor behavior and conversion metrics. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find out what works! The rules for mobile PPC marketing are by no means set in stone, so you’ll have to take some risks to figure out what is successful.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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2 Responses to Should You Run A Mobile-Targeted PPC Campaign?

  1. Some great tips. Completely agree that the behaviour of mobile users is different to that of home computer users, so it’s important to tailor mobile PPC campaigns to account for this difference.

    Interesting point too about mobile PPC campaigns being especially useful for bars, restaurants, and retail stores – basically anything with a location. If ads and landing pages can be tailored to the impatient and hurried mobile user, providing the searcher with clear and concise information quickly and effciently, I’m sure its possible to achieve high levels of engagement and ROI from mobile search.