GroupM’s Outrider Launches Mobile Search Practice

A new mobile search practice from search agency Outrider will offer specialized mobile search expertise and services.

The practice will be led by Michael Dowd, Outrider technology manager and mobile practice lead, and Tim LaGrone, mobile tactical lead. It will report to Michael Nevins, GroupM’s Group Director of Mobile Technologies for North America.

The offering will be available to Outrider clients, but the focus will be on supporting other GroupM agencies’ search units, including Beyond Interaction Search, MEC Interaction and MindShare Search. GroupM uses Outrider as an “incubation brand” for services before they are made available across agency units.

“Ultimately our expectation is that we make the clients and our agency stronger by helping them exploit mobile alongside all other media types,” said Nevins. “While we respect mobile as a standalone, it’s much more powerful and much more interesting as an integration [opportunity].”

Clients now leveraging Outrider’s mobile search capabilities include a fast food restaurant chain, an entertainment company, and an automaker. Those firms are conducting paid search campaigns and WAP site development, which Outrider offers through a mobile site development partner.

According to an Outrider spokesperson, marketers are using mobile search channels “subtly to test the waters and get an understanding of the behavior.”

She added, “They’re not so much worried about traffic. They see it as a way to [build] loyalty.”

Outrider’s 200-odd employees have all gone through a mobile orientation to educate them on basic issues and best practices in mobile search.

Nevins said mobile’s inherent ability to combine consumer location and purchase intent data make the channel ideally suited to competitive advertising geared toward consumers low in the purchase funnel. Put more simply, if you’re looking for a Hardee’s sandwich after catching “Dark Knight,” you might go for Arby’s if it’s close and you get a discount.

“Mobile has the great power, particularly mobile search, to take advantage of user intent at that moment and to provide ad opportunities that couldn’t exist in other media types,” Nevins said.

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