Let’s travel back in time, to the not-so-distant past.
The year was 2013. Homemade "Harlem Shake" videos went viral on the web, “selfie" was Oxford dictionary's "Word of the Year" and 30 billion phone calls were made to businesses from mobile search alone. All of these trends were powered by our ability to record video, take photos and conduct mobile searches using our handheld mini-computers: smartphones.
We’ll save our argument on the virtue of viral videos and selfies for another post. For now, let’s focus on the last stat and what it means for conversion focused data-driven marketers.
Thirty billion phone calls, and that's not even the half of it (literally). According to independent research advisor, BIA/Kelsey, the number of inbound phone calls driven by mobile search is expected to rise by more than twice that amount by 2018, with calls projected to reach an astounding 73 billion.
So, why the growing prevalence of mobile search? The answer's pretty obvious.
Consumers are constantly on their smartphones.
According to research conducted by Morgan Stanley, 91% of people stay within three feet of their smartphones at all times. Even without stats, we've experienced the pervasiveness of mobile usage first hand through distracted friends scrolling through their Instagram feeds at lunch, and maybe even through our own mobile-addictive behavior (I stand among the guilty). But why the influx of calls driven by mobile search when so much of what we want to know is available by conducting a search from the palm of our hands?
Consumers Still Value Voice
The truth is, even in an online communication-heavy and digitally focused world, consumers still value voice-to-voice communication when making a purchase; even if their path to purchase begins with mobile search.
- 70% of mobile searchers call businesses directly from search results by using the click to call button (Google Research).
- 78% of mobile searches result in offline purchases (Comscore Report).
These stats spells great news for inbound marketers, since inbound phone calls convert to revenue 10-15 times more than web leads. On the flip side, it also means that even if you've made your ads mobile-friendly and started measuring clicks, you need to implement a strategy that allows you to track and monitor your offline phone call conversions if you want to get accurate data on how your mobile marketing is working.
Implementing Your Mobile Marketing Strategy
Marketing is all about measuring, because if you can’t measure it, then you can’t prove or improve it. Mobile advertising is the same; you’ll need to be able to drive measurable results for your campaigns — but that can be done easily by using these three main strategies:
You can get started with, or enhance, your mobile ad strategy by focusing on three main tactics:
- Optimize Your Mobile Ads for Local Search
Recent research from Google found that 50% of people who complete a search on mobile visit a store the same day. That’s half the people conducting local searches ending up in your store — that can impact your business's bottom line drastically. But first you have to make sure these searchers can easily find you online.
One way to make sure you are easy to find is to choose the right target audience when creating your ads, and determine "mobile-focused" PPC keywords. There are multiple free keyword tools available online that can help you in this process. When choosing these mobile keywords, remember context — searchers may use different terms when using their mobile devices then when they perform a desktop search.
If you’re using Google AdWords, you can implement geographic targeting to hone in on searchers who are in close proximity of your business. If you want to take it a step further — you can raise your mobile bid modifier, enabling you to increase the chances your ad will be visible on smartphones.
Keep in mind when designing and bidding that your mobile ads get less space than their desktop forefathers; so ,don’t be afraid to get competitive.
- Implement Click-To-Call Buttons
If you can get a lead on the phone you’re more likely to convert them to a customer. Like I mentioned earlier, 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results — and "click-to-call" call-to-action buttons make that process more intuitive.
Click-to-call buttons are displayed predominately in your ad during a mobile search, making it quick and easy for someone doing research on your business to call you.
- Attribute & Monitor Calls with Call Tracking
Call tracking not only allows you to track calls back to the mobile research that drove the call, but also monitor the phone calls themselves with call recording. This allows you to optimize your marketing campaigns with a better understanding of client behavior on the path to purchase. You’ll be able to see what numbers called at what times, as well as other granular data about the caller like their location, and whether or not they visited your website multiple times before clicking your ad. You can also see what keywords are connected to these calls, enabling you to make changes to your click-to-call campaigns optimized by time of day, day of week and which keywords drive the most conversions.
More importantly, not all calls are conversions. You can use call tracking features to make sure that the clicks you are measuring actually count towards your ROI.
For example, someone might view your click-to-call ad and call because they have a support issue with your product, and are already a customer. If you’re only tracking clicks, you won’t be able to differentiate that support call from a conversion. Implementing a call tracking solution can allow you to create menu options, tags, call recording for monitoring, and even setup conversion tracking by call duration that will enable you to ensure your conversion data is accurate.
Mobile Strategy in Action
As a marketer at a company that provides call tracking for agencies, I’ve seen the power of mobile marketing combined with call tracking first hand for one of our clients, a real estate and vacation rental property firm. Two years ago, the percentage of inbound traffic for the firm received from mobile was below 20%. It has now grown to over 50%. They've shifted their focus to mobile ad strategy instead of trying to push their potential clients through other channels, and they've discovered that they are converting mobile leads over the phone at twice the rate they convert leads online.
What strategies are you implementing to keep up with the rapidly changing and constantly evolving mobile marketing landscape? Let me know in the comments!
Header image: Shutterstock purchased by CallRail