Mr Boombastic on the phone.Yesterday I attended my first Google Engage for Agencies day. Aside from the chance to schmooze, eat sushi and watch a rather surprised looking fella win a massive cuddly toy Android, it was a great chance to learn some more about what’s going on with Google AdWords.

The big thing with the big G? It’s all about mobile – advertising on mobiles, having great sites that work on mobiles and tracking your mobile conversions more effectively.

It’s not hard to see why:

Currently 33% of all Google searches in the UK happen on a mobile phone.

Yowzers. That’s a lot of searching on a lot of phones.

So what is Google’s advice on going mobile?

Think about how mobile changes your value proposition

It sounds obvious when you say it, but have you ever *really* thought about how and why your users are searching for you on a mobile?

  • Are they on the move and so they need information fast?
  • Have they suddenly remembered something they need from you while they’re on the bus home?
  • Are they just bored of Eastenders and are looking for something to do while the TV is on in the background?

When you’ve discovered why your customers are using their phones to find you, you might then need to:

  • Adjust your keywords – do you need more informational keywords, location keywords or can they stay exactly the same?
  • Adjust your ad copy – if you’re trying to meet a different need on a mobile phone, does your current ad copy fit the bill?
  • Adjust your bidding – there are only two top spots on Google mobile. Do you need to bid higher to dominate the top spots?
  • Adjust your ad scheduling – there are clear and noticeable patterns to when people use specific devices. Mobile dominates classic commuter times and lunch hours, desktops are king from 9 – 5, tablets are generally used later in the evening. Does your traffic follow this pattern – and can you day part your campaigns to make the most of this?
  • Adjust your website – this is a big deal with Google, so I’ll go into it more in a moment.
In short: don’t assume you can treat customers exactly the same whatever device they are using. Respond to their needs so that they will love you and use you time and time again.

Think about how you’re tracking your mobile advertising

The key benefit of using online advertising vs offline advertising is how easy it is to measure. But, that isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to mobile.

Apart from the ultimate goal of sale/enquiry, your mobile conversions may take a whole variety of forms:

  • Footfall
  • Phone calls
  • App downloads
  • Visits to your site from another device
… and hopefully all of these will result ultimately in a sale or an enquiry.
The team underlined the need to find a way to track your conversions and highlighted how Adidas and iProspect managed to track their mobile usage. Admittedly, they were a little vague on the details as to how you might establish the number of people that say clicked on your ads and visited your premesis as a result, but they did provide food for thought.

Think about whether your mobile experience meet users’ needs

57% of people won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.

Read that again. Think about it. Not worried yet? Try this stat:

40% of people turned to a competitor after a bad mobile site experience.

Are you paying attention now? Good. Admittedly, Google is keen to promote their Mobilise project that helps businesses to go mobile, but the point still stands: mobile matters. Whether you like it or not.

You don’t necessarily need a mobile website or a mobile app – you just need a site that looks good on a phone and meets your mobile value proposition (it’s the first thing we talked about, weren’t you paying attention?!). So how can you decide what you need? Follow these steps:

  1. Look at how your site looks on a phone – if you can’t do it on your own phone or a colleague’s, Google Mobilise can show you how your site looks on a phone.
  2. Take a step back and try to look at your site from a customer’s perspective. Does it work well? Is it easy to use? Can you still see everything you need to see and read everything you need to read?
  3. If step 2 is too hard for you, ask a friend or family member to do it instead. If you don’t have a friend or family member that is willing to help, try using a service like WhatUsersDo.com or Feedback Army to get a host of responses.
  4. Bearing all this in mind, decide whether your site is fit for purpose on a phone. If not, why not? What do you need to do to make it work?

If you’re hesitant to invest in a mobile site, but have realised your site is sub-par, try looking at your Analytics stats to see if they justify creating a new site.

Go to the Audience > Mobile in Analytics. If you have an ecommerce site, look at the E-commerce tab, otherwise look at your Goals. You’ll have a clear and simple break down on mobile traffic (including tablets) vs non-mobile traffic:

Checking out your mobile traffic in Analytics

In the example above, the site has generated over £14K of revenue from mobile traffic. This sounds promising, but can we be sure it’s worth the investment?

Drill down into the information on Devices to discover which device sends the most traffic – then check out how your site looks on that specific handset/tablet. In this case, the majority of mobile traffic and revenue is from the iPad, so we can use iPad Peek to check out how the site looks on the Apple tablet. Unsurprisingly, the site does look ok – hence the decent conversions. Try analysing your own traffic to see whether a mobile site really is essential for you.

A word of warning for you: if you aren’t seeing the revenue that you want from mobile traffic it may be down to your site not performing on a phone. Look at the volume of mobile traffic – and how it’s changed over time. If you’ve seen huge growth in mobile traffic, chances are you’ll see more in the future. Is it worth not investing now and losing out down the line?

One final tip on the “should I have a mobile site?” question: Google AdWords does reward mobile sites with better quality scores. You may find that your costs go down if you invest in an optimised site. This shouldn’t be a reason to invest, but if you’re wavering, this may tip you into going for the better site.

Practical Takeaways from #GoogleEngage about Mobile

  1. Consider how your customers will use their phone to find you, and adjust your strategies and techniques accordingly.
  2. Be sure to figure out a way to track conversions from mobile traffic – the answer may be complex – but if you’re going to invest, you need to know whether the traffic can deliver.
  3. The present and future is mobile – to get ahead of the game you need to think about it now – and you need to decide on the right strategy for your business.