Prepare Your Online Advertising for Mobile Holiday Shoppers

Recent studies on holiday shopping reported retailers saw a more “mobilized” holiday shopper in 2011. There is great deal of data we can take away to prepare and optimize advertising campaigns for 2012.

The increase in mobile use may be the most impactful on e-commerce and online shopping. Consumers shopped seamlessly across devices, using their phones for research and to purchase online. According to IBM Benchmark data, 12 percent of online visits to a retailer’s website were from mobile devices, an impressive +5 percent year-over-year. A total of 9 percent of online sales were conducted on mobile phones and they saw a +173 percent increase in mobile shopping on Christmas Day.

According to a Google and Ipsos/OTX Post-Holiday Shopping Study, mobile smartphones and tablets were used more frequently and with an increase in dollars spent:

Particularly among those who used these devices last year:

  • 80 percent of smartphone shoppers used them more frequently this year
  • 35 percent spent more money on their smartphones this season
  • 70 percent of tablet shoppers used them more frequently this year
  • 38 percent spent more money on their tablets this season

Not only are the mobile devices being used, but they have impacted the sales funnel tremendously. Multiple device holiday shoppers used their devices simultaneously – 25 percent used more than one device to shop this year. They used more than one device at the same time to shop and many started on one device and continued on a different device to research and complete transactions.

Translated into actionable tasks for online advertising and PPC:

  1. Be present in the channel by creating mobile-only campaigns. At the beginning, a common recommendation was to copy the desktop versions of campaigns and use them for mobile. We now know that mobile searches are different. They contain a shorter number of words per keyword phrase and often have a local modifier such as “toy stores Chicago.” Use the AdWords keyword tool, under Advanced options and filters. You will see the option to explore keywords for mobile devices.
  2. Consider timing on budget. According to Google data, 44 percent of total searches were for last-minute gifts and store locator terms were from mobile devices in 2011. This is a good reason to review budgets and ensure that they are maximized during this time period to capture all relevant traffic. Utilize location extensions in PPC for search results to drive last-minute shoppers to stores. Last-minute gift-oriented keywords will help to seal the deal.
  3. Shopper motivations. Last year, shoppers were motivated by discount promotions. Free shipping, coupons, and flexible payment plans influenced holiday purchasing. In fact, according to the study, not only did free shipping incentivize shoppers, they expected it. Fifty-five percent of consumers expected free shipping during the holiday season. Use these promotions in creative ways, across placements, and consistently in ad copy. Utilize sitelinks in PPC to change out promotional language more quickly (by applying sitelinks to multiple ads).
  4. Use multiple ad placements and formats. We know that shoppers are demonstrating a variety of behavior online on mobile devices from research and reviews up to the conversion. Ensure that advertising is present in search as well as websites and mobile apps. Ad formats for placements can vary, so explore text, image, and video ads.

Ad Placements

  • Search engine
  • Mobile display network
  • Mobile apps
  • YouTube

Mobile will continue to grow, so understanding and staying current on mobile user behavior will be critical to expanding into this device channel. Consider the device and how it will be used to search for products and services and craft advertising to meet the mobile user’s needs.

Related reading

Screenshot shows a Google search for outdoor grills, the shopping ads shows images with “in store” showing the product is available nearby.