12th August 2013

Is Mobile Advertising Effective?

It’s perhaps a sign of our times that we now carry as much computing power in our pockets as we do in our heads. The reason of course is the rise of the smart phone. Given its ease of use, interface and growing computing power it’s become the device of choice when mobile (and even when not mobile i.e. while sitting on the couch).

So what does this mean for advertisers and advertising? Given its usage, advertising on mobile screen is here to stay. Whether that’s display advertising, search advertising or newer app-centered advertising. The question is: Just how effective is mobile advertising. Is it a poor cousin of online advertising, or can it hold its own.

The latest research from Google’s Think Insights provides some answers. Understandably, Google has focused its efforts on mobile search advertising. The question that Google seeks to answer is: What impact do mobile search ads (those little paid ads that appear above and below your search results) have on driving traffic to your website.

The research studied 327 advertising accounts across 12 different industries for the period from March 2012 to April 2013. It looked at how many unique site visits were driven by search ads and whether stopping search advertising led to more clicks through organic search results. That is, if you stopped doing paid search, would you make up for the traffic lost through organic search.

What they found is pretty significant and the numbers are impressive: 88% of clicks on mobile search ads are incremental to organic clicks. In other words, if you stopped your mobile search ads, you would lose these clicks. They wouldn’t be replaced by organic clicks.

What’s really significant is that they found this to be the case across all 12 industries. With each of the verticals registering over 80% incremental clicks from mobile search ads. Which means the behavior is universal.

While this study was restricted to mobile search ads, it points to some important trends in digital advertising. For one, mobile advertising can’t be treated as an add-on to your digital marketing strategy anymore. If you’re keen on capturing all the consumers looking for your product or service, then you need to spend time and energy crafting a specific mobile strategy.

Moreover, with location based services and mobile apps now the norm, mobile advertising can be far more targeted and relevant than before. The more you know about your consumers, the more you can move them from awareness and interest, through to desire and action. And mobile technology offers us ways to understand and track consumer behavior like never before.

Recent research indicates that we interact with our phones more than 100 times a day. Over 80% of smartphone users in the US don’t leave home without their phone. And 61% of smartphone users perform searches on their phone every day.

Join the dots and it becomes clear that mobile advertising isn’t just a nice thing to do. It’s an essential element in any campaign. The one thing that mobile advertising allows you to do is make your advertising mobile. When people pop their phones in their pockets, they take your advertising with them. Everywhere. And that’s an opportunity advertisers have rarely had. Done right it can lead to a whole new way
of interacting with your consumer and as Google’s research proves, it can be very effective.

Source: Google Think Insights – How Effective are mobile ads at driving traffic?

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