Winning at Mobile PPC Advertising – SMX Liveblog

Speakers Busby, Bishop and Levy
John Busby, Amy Bishop and Aaron Levy

This SMX East session titled “Winning At Mobile PPC (Beyond mCommerce)” promises to take us beyond the “why you have to be on mobile” rhetoric, since that’s now a given. Speakers Aaron Levy, Amy Bishop and John Busby will share from their experience (they’re all senior-level ad managers) to help advertisers take advantage of mobile user behavior to drive ecommerce.

Know Your Mobile Audience – Aaron Levy

Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea), manager of client strategy at Elite SEM, starts things off.

Printing Money on the Go: Alternate Metrics for Mobile Audiences

Is your mobile conversion rate low? Let’s talk about why mobile doesn’t convert like desktop. It’s not mobile’s fault. It’s our fault. Why? Because we’re not doing mobile persona research. And mobile users behave differently than desktop users. Before he gets to that research, however, he has some fast facts from his mobile research:

  • Mobile volume thrives in boredom and commuter hours: when you’re on a train, a plane, a bus, etc.
  • Mobile peaks on weekends, when everyone’s at home and no one wants to go on a desktop.
  • Mobile conversion rate is steady throughout the day (unlike a desktop).
  • Mobile conversion increases throughout the week (desktop tanks).
  • Mobile usage skews toward low income users.
  • Mobile usage skews toward Hispanic users.

Audience-Driven Metrics and Goals: The Four Types of People Using Mobile

Don’t think about the device. Think about who’s using it. People shopping at Brooks Brothers aren’t the same people shopping at Walmart. They have different goals. Levy puts people into four buckets: Bored, Research, Need and Desperate.

1. Bored

These are professionals. People who have a commute. People who don’t want to talk to other people when they walk into a room. You’re doing nothing. This is someone on the go. Could switch to a computer if they want — they’re second screening. They’re really impulsive. They’re killing time. Make their decisions as easily as possible. Persuade them and they’ll buy. Don’t give them too much — they’ll bail if you show them an email form. They’re usually rich.

One solution to reach the Bored mobile audience: Implement a PayPal button. Average conversion rate for Amazon Prime? 79 percent. They have the PayPal button. Tempt the buyer and then get out of the way.

2. Research

These are often parents. They’re busy, and they have a few extra minutes. They’ll probably finish their task elsewhere. They’re filling time rather than wasting time. They’re multi-device searchers that are a pain to track. Pensive, protective and thoughtful. Don’t want to part with their money easily. They’re not going to buy from their phone. Your conversion rate here will be terrible. Give them what they want — they’re here for information. Understand their motivation. Are they shopping for new or a replacement? Get them to sniff around and know that they’ll come back later.

Solution for the Research mobile user base: Use cross-device attribution. See Google AdWords’ Total Conversions metric. You can’t find this data in a third-party bid tool. Use this ratio to pinpoint how much people are moving around, and it will help you determine what mobile is really worth:

Slide from Mobile PPC session

3. Need

The people in this bucket are on mobile because they don’t necessarily have desktop computers.

They don’t necessarily have nice phones (they can be using flip phones!). Data, in fact, might be precious to them — don’t waste theirs. The person could also be on vacation and not have a laptop with them. In this case, then, you have a single device searcher. They don’t really want to buy it on their phone, but they will because they don’t have another option. Preach convenience in your copy. Usually this falls into the low income bracket.

Solution for Need mobile searchers: Offer conversion options. This audience group might not have a credit card. Invite them into the store, then, with a location-based coupon (cash and store-based conversions)! And make the coupon code as easy as possible.

4. Desperate

These are the people that forgot something. They need something right away, super quick. They’re usually on the richer side — whatever they find is the first thing they’re going to buy.

Solution for the Desperate mobile audience type: Make the conversion as easy as possible and, again, get out of the way. Don’t have a form — identify alternate KPIs. Don’t make them go elsewhere. Provide convenience-driven copy.

Keep Your Radius Small – Amy Bishop

Amy Bishop (@hoffman8), senior manager: audits, outbound, training at Clix Marketing, has a lot of info to share. She starts out by telling us that 60 percent of local searchers say location information on ads is important to them. Bishop says to reign in the radius, though.

“Take your locations and target the radius around them. This is important because people are looking for things around them. 72 percent of consumers who performed a local search visited a store within 5 miles. Searches containing ‘near me’ have grown exponentially. And 80 percent of ‘near me’ searches occur on a mobile device. 50 percent of local searches result in a same day store visit,” she says. “When you’re targeting people on mobile, you’re not just interrupting their session, but their day. So the radius you choose is important.”

If you determine opportunities to tighten or expand location targeting, do it.


  • People who are searching for your brand — you can set a bigger radius because they’re searching for your stores. But narrow it for those not searching by brand.
  • Consumers will go in a store if they’re close to a store, if they can get the product quickly and/or if they can get better pricing.
  • 42 percent of people are conducting research via mobile in the store.
  • Timing matters. Consider your target demographic’s interests. If you’re targeting someone at the gym, hit them with a coupon for athletic gear.
  • Once at their destination, 56 percent of travelers rely on mobile devices to find and decide on activities.

How to Track Mobile Ads – John Busby

John Busby (@JohnMBusby) is senior vice president of marketing & consumer insights at Marchex Consumers. First, he tells the audience that people are using mobile phones in a dramatically different fashion than they use desktop computers. After a local mobile search, for example, the most common response to a mobile search is to make a phone call or store visit. So, fundamentally, the mobile phone is a bridge between the online and the offline world.

For the past 15 years, marketers have been focused on cookies and tracking. But the “marketing technology stack” isn’t designed for phone calls.

Google has two PPC ad formats that support phone calls: enhanced campaigns and call-only campaigns. You probably have these questions:

  • Which ad or keyword generated the call?
  • Did the phone call convert to a sale?
  • How do I optimize my call?

To know which ad generated the call, use a tracking pixel or unique phone number (supplied by Google) placed in the ad.

In order to know which keyword generated a call, you need Dynamic Tracking.

To know whether the call converted to a sale, use conversational analytics. This monitors speech silence programmatically to determine the likelihood of a sale.

Other Advice for Mobile PPC Advertisers

  • Some keywords are more likely to drive web conversions, while others are more likely to convert through calls.
  • Test call-focused campaigns for keywords that drive call conversions.
  • Generally speaking, we find that geo-targeted brand campaigns can be more cost-effective.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (1)
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent PPC/Pay-Per-Click posts is better than the last!

One Reply to “Winning at Mobile PPC Advertising – SMX Liveblog”

Great tips. Its so funny (but I do it myself) that many mobile searches are researching items in the store where they’re shopping.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Serving North America based in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Bruce Clay, Inc. | PO Box 1338 | Moorpark CA, 93020
Voice: 1-805-517-1900 | Toll Free: 1-866-517-1900 | Fax: 1-805-517-1919