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For Mobile Search Strategy, Consider Ecommerce and Store Lift



Jason Hartley
Group Media Director and Search Marketing Practice Lead
360i

Investment in mobile across organic, paid search and display is going to grow rapidly this year, according to Jason Hartley, 360i’s group media director and search marketing practice lead. Hartley spoke with eMarketer’s Danielle Drolet about this upward trend and the agency’s mobile search strategy.

eMarketer: Why are brands putting more dollars into mobile search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM)?

Jason Hartley: That investment is really going to grow rapidly throughout the year because the volume has grown. You can’t ignore it. That volume has also given us the data we need to make smarter decisions. We’ve been in a situation where we’ve known that it’s important, and we’ve seen it growing. But now we can actually put some numbers behind it.

eMarketer: What is the primary goal of your mobile search strategy? How do these differ from desktop goals?

Jason Hartley: We strive to align our clients’ goals to the strength of the medium. With desktop, your goals might be primarily about profitability based on the direct measurement of online sales or other actions. That’s because you can measure desktop more easily.

For mobile, retail clients with brick-and-mortar locations might have a blended goal such as direct mcommerce sales, ecommerce sales and store lift. There are three major ways that people interact with mobile, and that is they’re going to buy something on their phone, on your website or at your store. We try to blend those together as a combined goal for mobile because that’s a more accurate picture of what mobile is contributing.

eMarketer: Can you give an example of how you’ve put these strategies in place with a client?

“Google has essentially decided that tablets and desktops are similar enough in terms of user intent and behavior that they’re going to be treated the same.”

Hartley: For a client that’s trying to drive leads, for example in a travel vertical, we would emphasize maybe a click-to-call to drive potential customers to a call center. Obviously, call centers can sometimes do a better job of selling a product. A human interaction can sell a product better than just going to a site. And, of course, driving app downloads would be the focus of a lot of mobile campaigns as well.

eMarketer: How does mobile SEO and SEM differ from desktop SEO and SEM?

Hartley: First, Google has essentially decided that tablets and desktops are similar enough in terms of user intent and behavior that they’re going to be treated the same. In other words, you can’t target tablets anymore. Bing and Yahoo! have not made a similar switch.

We’re talking about smartphones when we refer to mobile these days, and that’s something that 360i has always done. Mobile is for people on the go. Consumers are doing price comparisons, looking for stores, using shorter queries and clicking on the top ad or organic result. Desktop searchers tend to make their intent a bit clearer with longer queries. They click on more areas of the search.

The most important difference, though, is that people are still wary of buying certain products on their phones, and that’s usually because they find it more difficult or they have privacy concerns. But as people become more comfortable on their mobile devices and brands start to figure out how to provide a great user experience, we’re going to see the differences in consumer behavior [disappear].

“To measure the true ROI of mobile, it’s important to include all the ways that it contributes to someone’s business.”

eMarketer: How do the results and return on investment (ROI) of mobile SEM compare with desktop? Do you see varying results by device type (smartphone vs. tablet) or platform (iOS vs. Android)?

Hartley: ROI of mobile SEM is not as strong as it is for desktop, and there are definitely clear differences across device and platform. We’ve always segmented our campaigns so that we can adjust our tactics, especially ads and bidding according to variances and performance.

To measure the true ROI of mobile, it’s important to include all the ways that it contributes to someone’s business. You have to go beyond those direct online sales and measure other types of conversions that drive growth.


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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