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02 May 2013

Taking Advantage of Mobile Traffic

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you hastily left it in a cab after a late night at the bar, you own (or used to own) a smart phone. In fact, a recent study presented by the Cisco Connected World Technology Report stated that more than 90% of young people use their smartphone first thing in the morning, often while they are still in bed. The important thing to take from this tidbit is the need for convenience and accessibility. In today’s world, people turn to their phones and other mobile devices for information constantly. Whether it’s at home before breakfast, or out late seeking midnight snacks, young people are using their phones for various reasons, from which many you could benefit as a business owner.

Smartphones serve immediate needs. From obtaining driving directions to the nearest sporting goods store to checking current bus/train schedules, smartphones provide necessary information with the click of a button. Of course, this level of convenience means that users have the ability to act faster than ever before. Smartphones drive conversions both on and offline, and it takes careful planning to ensure you’re reaping these benefits to the fullest extent.

A recent collaboration between Google and Neilson was conducted to gain a better understanding of how mobile searches drive conversions, in all contexts. All participants were asked to log their mobile searches over a two-week period with a special smartphone diary app. It should be no surprise that the average search logs were comprised of more than 6,000 queries taking place over the 14-day period. In addition to the queries themselves, the participants were also asked to record a journal of their post search behavior – i.e. visiting the nearby bar they found through a happy hour app, making a last minute appointment for a massage at a spa that was running an online promo code, etc.

Because so many actions take place offline as a result of search queries on mobile devices, it can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of mobile search advertising. This study offered valuable insight because it recorded customer behavior in addition to the searches themselves. This kind of information is invaluable to local businesses looking to increase sales and attract new customers who may live, work or play nearby.

Mobile devices have traditionally been seen as an “on-the-go” tool, but this study suggested that this is not necessarily the case. In fact, nearly 77% of the actions conducted on mobile devices in the course of this study happened at work or in the home. In many instances, it is easier for someone to run a search on their phone rather than turn on their desktop computer, wait for it to load, and then run a search on Google. So while advertisers should definitely take advantage of targeting people who may be out and about in the area, they should not neglect the people who may be searching from home. This may be a much larger part of the market than previously thought.

Additionally, the study also proved just how fast these potential customers take action after performing a search on their mobile device. There are four common scenarios that take place shortly after a search query – additional research and website visits make up more than a quarter of the results, while visits to a physical storefront or a completed purchase rank next. A follow-up phone call is also a common action, but it makes up less than 10% of the total actions performed. The study showed that more than half of the time, a potential customer turned into a conversion within one hour of performing the initial search query. That means that 55 out of every 100 people who entered a query on their phone became a conversion. It was deduced that around 45% of mobile searches are initiated in an effort to help a potential customer make a decision. This number of course jumps to nearly 70% when that search conducted inside of a physical store. This means that location and accessibility are key for convincing customers to convert. It is essential that your web presence be known when people are in such close proximity of your goods or services.

Finally, the study offered the concept that context is key. You’re more likely to make the sale if a potential customer can read a positive review online while they are staring at your product on the shelf in front of them. The customer who is meeting friends for dinner after work is more likely to go to your café up the block if you can offer them a discount incentive to try you out through a deal site or exclusive smartphone app. Mobile marketing opens up opportunities for you to reach customers in new and exciting ways. Be sure that you are making the most of your efforts and reaching the people nearby who are most likely to follow through with a conversion.