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How Mobile Affects the Path to Purchase for Adidas



Kerri Smith
Director of Mobility
iProspect

adidas and iProspect, its digital agency, initiated a mobile campaign in fall 2012 to measure device impact on in-store conversions, resulting in a 683% incremental lift in revenues. Kerri Smith, iProspect’s director of mobility, spoke with eMarketer’s Danielle Drolet about the adidas effort and iProspect’s overall mobile search strategy when working with brands, including implementation of Google’s new AdWords enhanced campaigns.

eMarketer: What formula are you using to see how mobile is driving in-store conversions?

Kerri Smith: With mobile there are a lot of direct responses that indicate a specific level of intent and/or give the advertiser an ability to influence that consumer at different stages. In traditional desktop, direct response typically means a conversion. With mobile, we have to pay attention to the responses, including store locator clicks, click-to-call or downloading an application. All of those indicate a certain level of intent from our consumers and may influence and affect their ultimate decision to purchase.

It is similar in theory and concept to Google’s idea of the full value of mobile, the big difference being in how we are applying these different concepts to different brands, as well as the amount of credit we’re willing to give them. For us, it’s not so much trying to claim that these responses are conversions because we understand that they’re not. It’s more about understanding the role they’re playing in that consumer’s path to purchase. And what ability we have to not only evaluate those but also influence them.

“The goals for mobile are pretty similar to desktop in terms of proving out a direct response, an ROI or looking for traffic and engagement advantages.”

eMarketer: How do your mobile goals differ from your desktop goals?

Smith: The goals for mobile are pretty similar to desktop in terms of proving out a direct response, an ROI or looking for traffic and engagement advantages. But we do have some clients that are specifically leveraging [mobile] to drive consumers to the store. The main goal for most of our brands, which are in the performance and ecommerce categories, is that they want to drive revenues and return. The bigger difference is in how we are evaluating the performance of these.

eMarketer: To what degree are your clients invested in mobile search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM)?

Smith: Ninety-five percent of our brands that are running desktop pay-per-click (PPC) with us are also running mobile PPC with us. [For most of them] it’s basically a company directive in that they need to be there and understand the space. If they’re doing work with iProspect, it’s going to mean that there will be mobile optimizations.

The majority of our brands are invested at least somewhat in mobile. Some brands may be minimally invested—around 10%. For others, we’re seeing that mobile is taking up 30%-plus of their budget, based on the results that they’re seeing and driving from the channel.

eMarketer: What impact will Google’s AdWords enhancements have on mobile SEM?

Smith: The changes will be massive. It’s almost as if Google is punishing advertisers that were advanced enough to really understand the idiosyncrasies of the different devices. A lot of what Google is stating as their reasons for making this change is to make it simpler for advertisers. I actually think it works against a lot of what they had been promoting for the past two years in that they’ve been promoting a specific experience because it is different—the needs of those consumers are different, the devices are different.

“It’s almost as if Google is punishing advertisers that were advanced enough to really understand the idiosyncrasies of the different devices.”

With enhanced campaigns, they’re taking away the control that we have to create unique experiences for those consumers. Not only will we be less able to see where the performance is coming from and to optimize our budget to be efficient as an advertiser, but it will hurt the consumer as well. Essentially, you’re telling the advertiser that there’s nothing special or unique that they have to do for those users. It’s almost like advocating against creating a mobile-specific site or really working to leverage the channel the best way that you can.

eMarketer: What are your clients’ biggest concerns? And what are you doing to ease their fears?

Smith: The majority of our brands are really not happy about the changes. They are mostly nervous that their cost per clicks are going to go up dramatically.

Right now, in preparation for the June migration date, we’ve got several test brands in beta across multiple verticals so that we can help brand marketers understand campaign structure, as well as bid, ad copy and landing page strategies. The concept of redefining direct response is extremely important, especially in the next couple of months, as enhanced campaigns takes away our visibility in understanding campaigns. We want to make sure that we can optimize that experience and evaluate it in a way that is holistic—to understand the impact to the brand’s bottom line vs. that one-to-one media spend to drive revenues.


A longer version of this interview is available to eMarketer corporate subscribers only. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a corporate subscriber, click here.


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