Google Creates a Mobile-First World with Accelerated Mobile Pages

Google Creates a Mobile-First World with Accelerated Mobile Pages

Mobile

Google continues to create a mobile-first future. The company’s 2015 algorithm update known as Mobilegeddon resulted in mobile-optimized websites ranking higher in search results. And recently Google announced it will extend Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to all AdWords advertisers globally.

AMP is an open-sourced project that Google designed and rolled out in 2016 to make mobile web pages load faster. Recently Google analyzed landing page performance of 900,000 mobile landing pages. As page load time increases from one second to seven seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing more than doubles. For every one second delay in page load time, conversions can fall by up to 20 percent.

With AMP, Google decided to improve engagement in a mobile world. According to Google, by May 2017,  brands had published more than 2 billion pages with AMP, cutting their page times to less than 1 second. Advertisers such as Johnson & Johnson reported increased engagement to AMP pages.

What Google is doing now is supporting AMP landing pages in AdWords search campaigns globally. Consequently, all advertisers will be able to point mobile search ads to Accelerated Mobile Pages. Eventually AMPs will rank higher in search results as more businesses point to them with their ads.

The spread of AMP is significant because:

  • Google is responding to consumer behavior. More people do mobile searches than desktop searches, and people using mobile devices expect content delivered faster and simpler.
  • AMP demonstrates Google’s influence on advertisers. Google has the scale and reach to enact changes that influence how advertisers act. And Google is willing to do so by making a better user experience: pages that load faster.

I suggest that advertisers get familiar with the Google toolkit for using AMP for AdWords a tactical measure. As a strategic move, understand how your own customers are using mobile – not just with text searches but with voice searches. Optimize your site experience accordingly. Mobile is a behavior influencing how all brands and people interact. Google is responding to that behavior, and so should you. Contact KeywordFirst to ensure that your digital experience is mobile. We can help.

Image source: stateofdigital.com

Tips to Make Your Landing Page Mobile Friendly

Tips to Make Your Landing Page Mobile Friendly

Mobile

When Google announced in 2015 that more Google searches were taking place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries (including Japan and the United States), marketers experienced the beginning of a major shift in the way they reach their target audiences.

Since 2015, mobile has become an even larger piece of the search puzzle. (According to Hitwise, mobile searches account for 58 percent of all search activity in the United States.) Businesses (including KeywordFirst) continue to refine our digital strategies, including search campaigns, to better align with an increasingly on-the-go search audience. Meanwhile, Google has made great strides sharing features that that allow businesses to better target the mobile search segment. Those features include mobile bid modifiers, mobile preferred ad copy, the ability to show ads in mobile apps, and location extensions, among others.

In addition, Google continues to change its algorithms to reward content that is optimized for mobile – which means businesses need to make it a higher priority to ensure that their landing pages are mobile friendly.

Optimizing the Content of Your Landing Page

Optimizing your landing page for mobile means understanding first that behind every mobile device is a person. People using their mobile phones for search purposes are often literally on the go. The mobile audience is composed of busy, multi-tasking, need-it-done-now people. It is important to respect their limited time and attention.

This insight has an impact on how you view your landing page. For example, instead of directing customers to a home page containing a wide variety of products or services, look to more closely align keywords and ad copy. This strategy helps better define the searcher’s intent and will ensure they are directed to a landing page that most closely fits their search query.

For example, if someone searches for “women’s Nike cross-training shoes,” the best experience for the searcher would be to land on a page specifically displaying women’s Nike cross-training shoes versus a page displaying all women’s cross-training shoes or all Nike shoes.

You might be tempted to simply drive ads to a general landing page and have users drill down to specific pages, which is certainly the quickest and easiest way to integrate your digital ads with your landing page content. But doing so will hurt your conversion rates. Searchers typically find it more difficult to navigate sites using small mobile screens instead of larger desktop/laptop monitors. If your ad drives traffic to a landing page that requires multiple clicks before the searcher reaches their ultimate destination, the likelihood of the interaction ending in a conversion decreases with each subsequent click.

A Client Example

For example, for one of our clients, a hotel, we performed a test with searchers who were looking for “hotel discounts.” First, we drove those searchers to a home page that contained general information about the hotel, as well as a link to the “special offers” page. Then we tested an alternative landing page that sent searchers directly to a special offers page – resulting in a marked improvement in conversion rates.

It seems obvious that people searching for hotel discounts are most interested in seeing current deals offered by the hotel. By sending people searching for hotel discounts directly to the special offers page, we eliminated the risk of them leaving the website before checking out the special offers page.  We also saved searchers the effort of locating the link to the special offers page and a few extra clicks as well – a big plus for people looking to complete a transaction quickly and easily on their mobile devices.

Not all keywords are specific enough to truly understand a searcher’s intent, but for those keywords that contain more modifiers, make sure you are taking full advantage and directing searchers to the most appropriate landing page. Remember, for the on-the-go, mobile audience, time is money. A few modifications to landing pages will save your customers time, and help boost your bottom line. Contact KeywordFirst. We’re here to help you build your brand.

Image source: Brodie Vissers

Mobile Advertising: Let Your Customer Be Your Guide

Mobile Advertising: Let Your Customer Be Your Guide

Mobile

Mobile is a shining star of performance marketing. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), for the first time, mobile ads account for the majority of digital ad spend. The IAB 2016 Internet Advertising Revenue report says that mobile ad revenues increased 77 percent to $36.6 billion in 2016, or 51 percent of total digital ad spend. Desktop search, the next biggest category, accounted for 24 percent of the total.

The IAB also says that the $36.6 billion spent on mobile ads included $17.2 billion for mobile search and $18.1 billion for mobile display.

I’m not surprised by the growth in mobile ad revenue. The ad spend reflects changing consumer behavior and the power of major publishers such as Google. The number of mobile searches on Google surpassed desktop searches two years ago. And Google has been changing its algorithms to force brands to respect the power of mobile. For instance, Google’s 2015 “mobilegeddon” algorithm rewarded mobile-friendly web pages with higher rankings for searches done on Google.

And yet, as important as mobile has become, mobile is still a contextual experience. To me, the real excitement and long-lasting value for advertisers comes from creating meaningful online advertising that appeals to omnichannel consumers.

Omnichannel consumers interact with brands through a variety of devices and channels, including social media, your website, display ads on other sites, and search results – on mobile phones, desktops, tablets, in games, on television, and through voice-activated assistants, to cite just a few of the proliferating channels and devices that shape the consumer-brand experience.

You get a better picture of how complex the advertising landscape really is when you dig into the IAB report and sift through the variety of ad formats that account for digital spend. (The report’s appendix alone, which details the pricing models and ad formats, is instructive.)

It’s important that businesses understand the nuances of advertising through different channels and devices. For instance, Tim Colucci at KeywordFirst has been blogging lately about the distinct challenges and opportunities of video advertising. (Here is an example.) At the same time, I believe it’s more important to coordinate mobile in context of the understanding your consumers’ journeys from awareness to purchase to loyalty. Yes, mobile advertising is probably going to be important to just about any brand, but how and when you spend on mobile advertising may differ dramatically by channel (e.g., Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram) and device depending factors such as what stage a customer is in the buying decision and the time of day they’re interacting with your brand.

So let’s celebrate and appreciate the rise of mobile ad spending. But even more importantly, let’s keep our focus on the broader consumer journey and invest into experiences that create and retain customer relationships throughout the journey, one impression, channel, and device at a time.

Image source: Startup Stock Photos

Nuts & Bolts: Why Mobile is Important to Your Paid Search Strategy

Analytics Mobile Nuts & Bolts

In this installment of the “Nuts & Bolts” series, which digs into the nitty gritty of paid search, I want to share with you some valuable findings on the importance of mobile in your paid search strategy.

In a PPC Workshop I presented recently, I outlined five ways analytics makes paid search campaigns better. Further, I recapped the three-part series on mobile search that explained the driving forces behind the explosion of mobile search (and why it will continue to increase), what this means to marketers, and how this affects your paid search strategy.

Links for further reading and learning occur throughout the slides. And if you would like to share the workshop, we’ve posted to SlideShare for your convenience. Just click on the LinkedIn button or the file’s title to be immediately signed into the SlideShare site.

A Year of Analytics, Mobility and Video

Analytics Mobile Nuts & Bolts Video

As we prepare to say farewell to 2015, we’d like to use this final FirstWord post of the year to say thanks to all the editors who published our articles. We focused on three major themes during the last 12 months – Analytics, Mobility and Video – and some of the finest digital marketing publications on the web were gracious enough to share our work.

Here are five of our favorites:

Why Digital Marketing Analytics Is Important for Retail Sales” – a video interview with Eric Vidal, editor of The Marketing Scope

TargetMarketingHow to Use Analytics to Improve the Performance of Your Digital Marketing Campaigns” – from the Measurement & Metrics section of Target Marketing

MarketingProfsFive Ways Google Analytics Turns You Into the Sherlock of Paid Search” – a column in MarketingProfs

Before Shooting for Video Marketing Success, Learn to Hit a Moving (i.e., Mobile) Target” – featured in the Executive Briefing from biz

CMLogoThink Before You Leap Into Paid Video Search” – from the Consumer Marketing channel of Chief Marketer

If any of these headlines catches our attention, practice the power of the click. Click on the links we’ve provided and visit these pages in support of the publications that support us.

Hitting Mobile Targets Where They Roam

Analytics Mobile Retail Analytics

Mobile Mall shoppingAs you walk through the halls of any shopping mall, chances are you will have to sidestep several people who are looking down at their cell phone. They may be texting their friends to determine where they’ll meet for lunch, or they may be searching to see which retailer has the best deal on the latest fall fashion.

Based on data from BIA/Kelsey, eMarketer estimates there will be 81.8 billion searches conducted via mobile devices in 2015 – just in the U.S. According to a recent report from Alphabet (parent company of Google), mobile search has surpassed desktop search worldwide.

Another recent study projects this holiday season will be the first time that the majority of online shopping visits in the United States (51%) will occur on mobile devices. To give that percentage some historical perspective, in 2014, Cyber Monday sales alone accounted for nearly $2.7 billion of sales, with 40% of that coming from mobile devices.

Now, think about those people you had to sidestep in the mall. Each one is quite literally a mobile target for your digital marketing campaigns. What do you need to do to ensure you’re capturing your share of those 81 billion mobile searches?

The good news is, if you have been creating and managing digital ads geared toward desktop searches, you are well on your way toward mobile success. You still need to create ad groups and keywords. Those really don’t change between desktop and mobile, so the work you’ve already done can still pay off. As I mentioned in a previous post, the analytics are largely the same as well.

You may, however, need to make other adjustments. For example, ad extensions for mobile may need to change from “click for more information” to “click to call.” Using a mobile device’s ability to place a call can have a huge impact on moving prospects through the funnel and improving your conversion rates.

You also may need to change your bid strategy. Getting the #4 position on a desktop might work, but on a mobile device it won’t be enough. If you can, you may want to change your bid modifiers so you’re showing up in the top three instead.

In addition, you may need to change your web development strategy. Even if your site is optimized for mobile using responsive design, it may not be delivering the desired experience. Again, check the key performance indicators (KPIs) of your analytics to ensure your mobile site is delivering the appropriate experience.

One final word of note: these principles apply to B2B advertisers just as much as B2C. Don’t assume a B2B buyer will be office- or PC-bound. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement has created a tectonic shift in the workplace, and many B2B searches now begin on a mobile device – even if they are ultimately fulfilled on a desktop. A poor mobile experience means they’ll never get to that desktop.

Hitting a moving target is far more difficult than one that’s standing still. But it’s not impossible. Use what you’ve learned already, make the proper adjustments, and you’ll find yourself leading the pack in our increasingly mobile world.

Improving the User Experience to Hit a Mobile Target

Analytics Mobile Retail Analytics

Chasing a Mobile Target In less than a month, we will be staring down the Internet pipe at the busiest online shopping day of the year: Cyber Monday. Last year, Cyber Monday sales accounted for nearly $2.7 billion of sales, with 40% of that coming from mobile devices.

Retailers are already sending out teasers, inviting us to watch for their special deals. But while they are putting thought and effort behind what they will offer, how much attention are they putting on how they will optimize the shopping – and buying – experience? It’s not easy to hit a moving target, nor is it simple to make the user experience swift and seamless for a mobile customer.

According to a recent report from Alphabet (parent company of Google), mobile search has surpassed desktop search worldwide. A separate report from eMarketer based on BIA/Kelsey data, estimates there will be 81.8 billion searches conducted via mobile devices in 2015 – in the U.S. alone. That’s an increase of 23% over 2014.

The challenge for marketers, especially those who may have paid little or no attention to their mobile strategy, is how to deliver a fast, efficient customer experience from search to purchase.

The user experience is critical, especially given the lack of patience the Internet has created. When users go to a site, whether it’s via a desktop or mobile device, they expect it to work quickly and seamlessly. If the site doesn’t, they’re only a back button away from checking out a competitor. And once they hit that back button – whether because a site isn’t loading fast enough or isn’t readable on their mobile device – you don’t just lose that sale. It could have a significant effect on the lifetime value of that customer or prospect.

Think of what that does to your investment in paid search. You spend many months and dollars developing ads, researching keywords, testing and analyzing to determine what will be most effective in driving customers to your website. Then when customers arrive, what they encounter immediately drives them away. That’s like spending millions of marketing dollars to draw guests to a hotel, but when they arrive the staff is slow, the elevators don’t work, the roof is leaking and the paint is peeling. It’s unlikely many will stay even one night, which means all that marketing investment is lost.

So, how do you know if your online experience is welcoming visitors or driving them away? One good way is to use your analytics package to get into the details of user behavior online. By analyzing every step in the buyer’s journey, you can determine not only how many visitors your search campaign is drawing, but also what they’re doing when they get there.

A high bounce rate, for example, tells you people are coming to the site but they’re not clicking through it. That could be because your campaign isn’t drawing the right people, or because the right people are having a poor customer experience. A little investigation should help you determine which one is the actual cause.

Now comes the big question: With all of this happening, what do smart marketers need to do to ensure they’re hitting those nearly 82 billion mobile targets? That’s what I will cover in my next post.