Digital MarketingSearch MarketingOptimizing search in the mobile era

Optimizing search in the mobile era

Mobile's forward momentum as the online channel of choice has created a demand for quality cross-device campaign strategies. Use these tips to optimize search marketing efforts.

A growing proportion of mobile users are choosing the smartphone as their primary device to access the Internet. We call these consumers “smartphone dominant,” and see them as driving the future of mobile usage.

Recently, a global Yahoo report found that conducting search in mobile mode has become a daily habit for smartphone dominant users. The report found that users tend to switch from a PC to a smartphone for email, search, and shopping, while games, content, and video tend to be viewed on larger screens. This indicates that users naturally transfer devices based on content, utility, and social experiences.

It also found that over 50 percent of search queries take place on mobile devices. Therefore, if brands only focus on advertising through desktop, they will miss out on 50 percent of the opportunities to connect with potential customers, which can potentially translate into losing significant amounts of money.

By the same token, a similar mobile search study we conducted in Hong Kong shows that the number of searches on mobile devices has grown by 43 percent year-over-year, and 73 percent of users conduct online search via mobile devices while at home, even when they have access to a computer.

Here is how users in Hong Kong are dividing up their search channels:


Here are four key tactics advertisers can use to get the most out of their search campaigns:

1. Connect with users wherever they are

Being at the right place during the right time is key. To be present at every touch point and at all times on online platforms, it is important to adopt the use of online ads and to search in multiple formats that fit both PC and mobile. This will allow you to reach more customers. You can guide customers to your brand’s website and cater to all their potential needs by offering solutions and updates on a 24/7 basis.

2. Track engagements

Track PC and mobile conversions accurately to enhance the performance of the overall marketing program. One way to do this is to develop a search strategy that includes a wide range of relevant keywords, while also  For example, if your brand is a financial solutions company, you might consider keywords like “longest repayment period.”

At the same time, you can also select brand, campaign, and product specific keywords to ensure always-on exposure for your brand. Brand keywords should be maintained in first and second positions at all times, as they drive revenue. The highest click-through rate (CTR) keywords should be kept in the most premium position, while maintaining other keywords on the first page position to maximize the exposure. This mix-and-match strategy combined with constant review and modification of keywords will help further maximize your brand’s exposure.

Remember to also keep a close eye on the bidding price of keywords. A well-budgeted plan is the first step towards a successful campaign.

3. Make informed decisions about mobile

Observe how your best customers interact with mobile and on other channels to make informed mobile decisions. Ensure you are tailoring your message to the user’s context by considering their actions given the search intent, device, and location.

With targeted customers, develop interesting content that is relevant to their needs. Consider the types of content delivery to encourage additional reach, engagements, and qualified traffic to increase the group of consumers beyond just pure searchers.

4. Mobile is not a separate channel

Implement integrated creative strategies with mobile, to create online-to-offline (O2O) synergy. Your mobile elements should integrate as an extension of your campaign so users can have access to brand information while on the go. Check to see how online messages synchronize with the offline elements of your marketing campaigns. Content continuity allows potential customers to easily relate the messages from print and TV ads with the ones seen on PC and mobile.

Our Hong Kong local mobile search study also shows that mobile search advertising is effective for driving revenue. Many advertisers find it quite surprising that nearly 60 percent of users would click on mobile ads, and 30 percent would then go on to purchase, visit, or call for further information.


Although mobile search is becoming more prevalent, advertisers should consider both mobile and PC search while developing comprehensive online search marketing campaign strategies. The 65 percent of interviewees who reported that small mobile screen size is a major limitation of mobile search reaffirms the notion that mobile search does not fully replace PC search. 

Apart from screen size, search content types are also different for PC and mobile search. PC search is therefore more applicable for specific topics involving extensive searches and large amounts of information. Meanwhile, mobile search is better suited to instant search needs, such as location and map information and location-based services (LBS).

From the user’s point of view, mobile search and PC search complement each other. However, because mobile search is much more personal and localized than desktop, a more intuitive mobile search experience is called for.

Of course, a nicely tailored display of desired search results is important. At the same time, the use of smart data for dynamic analytics can and should be used for effective decision making when deciding on elements such as keywords, content curation, cross-device targeting, and understanding and identifying your ideal audience. 

Considering all of these elements can help you capture users’ eyeballs and encourage high engagement rates.


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