Mobile Best Practices from Google

Source: Anna Khesed, Google Mobile Ads Marketing Team / US Mobile Smartphone Consumer Study, Google & Ipsos, 2010

As mobile technology continues to accelerate, our phones are quickly becoming indispensable shopping tools. Whether researching a product or comparing prices before purchasing, 79% of US smartphone users have used their devices to help with shopping and 74% of those smartphone shoppers have made a purchase. *

This means that having a mobile strategy is key when engaging with these tech savvy, connected consumers. And this is especially true for advertisers focused on driving online and in-store conversions. To help you develop your mCommerce strategy, we’ve put together the following list of best practices for driving smartphone users to purchase from your site. Please note that these tips are geared towards ads running on high-end devices with full Internet browsers.

Extend your Online Brand Reputation to Mobile with Seller Ratings

It’s no secret that having a great online reputation is essential to driving online conversions. With Seller Ratings on mobile, you can extend your online reputation from desktop to mobile devices and leverage the power of the mobile platform to drive conversions on your website.

The Seller Ratings extension enables mobile searchers to see merchants who are highly recommended by other shoppers. By showcasing relevant and useful rating information for your business, the extension can help differentiate you from your competition and guide potential customers to purchase from your site. In recent studies, campaigns with mobile Seller Ratings saw a 7.5% increase in clickthrough rates when compared to campaigns without this extension.

Seller Ratings are aggregated from merchant review sites all around the web and the extension will only show when a merchant’s online store has a rating of four or more stars and at least 30 reviews. To learn more about Seller Ratings, please read this Help Center entry.

Take your Customers Directly to your Desired Conversion Path with Mobile Ad Sitelinks

Ad Sitelinks enable direct navigation to specific pages of your website. Since navigating on the mobile web can still be difficult, sitelinks for mobile can be especially useful in taking customers directly to the desired conversion path on your site. For example, with sitelinks you can quickly guide your customers to the best selling products on your site or to your online store locator. Mobile users find this format particularly helpful and on average campaigns with mobile sitelinks see a 30% increase in clickthrough rates when compared to campaigns without sitelinks.

Right now a maximum of two sitelinks can appear on mobile devices with ads displaying two links across one line or stacked vertically on two lines. One-line sitelinks can show with the Click-to-Call Phone Extension and will display one link to your website alongside your phone number. One-line sitelinks can also show with the Seller Ratings Extension and will display your online store rating as well as two links to your website.

The quality of your ad will determine which variation of mobile Ad Sitelinks will show. Two-line sitelinks typically show for higher quality ads. To learn more about mobile sitelinks, please read this Help Center entry.

Drive Customers to your Store with Offer Ads

Are you running an in-store promotion? You can get the word out and incentivize customers to visit your store by placing a coupon right in your AdWords ads.

Mobile Ads with Offers enable advertisers to include special deals in their mobile search ads, allowing users to store coupons via email or SMS.  Ads will also display your phone number or your business location on a Google Map for Mobile so that customers have everything they need to go to your store, redeem the offer and make a purchase.  Mobile Ads with Offers are currently in beta, but we hope to make it broadly available soon.

Make it Easier For Customers to Contact you with Click-to-Call Ads

Whether you take orders over the phone or have a physical store location, you can ensure that your customers can easily connect with you by including your business phone number in your mobile search ads. Since users who make a call are showing interest in your product or service, they are more likely to make a purchase. With a call costing the same as a click to your ad,  this is a very cost-effective ad format for driving quality leads and conversions for your business.

Are you specifically focused on driving calls to your business? Try the Call-Only Creative, an enhancement to the Click-to-Call ad format that ensures your phone number is the only clickable part of your mobile ad.

Do you have a vanity phone number? Use the Vanity Phone Numbers feature of Click-to-Call to display an alphanumeric phone number in your mobile ad and ensure that customers easily remember how to get in touch with you.

To learn more about mobile ads with Click-to-Call please read this Help Center entry.

We hope you’ll find these tips helpful in driving conversions with your mobile campaigns and look forward to developing more mCommerce ad features for you in the future.

Deal Me In: Behind the Bargain-Hunting Audiences of Local Deal Sites

Source: Nielsen, April 26, 2011

Drawing on two major trends—hyperlocalism and budget consciousness—daily deal sites in the U.S. have changed the business landscape, shifting how consumers search for bargains and connect with businesses large and small, national and local. With new daily deal sites entering the fray on a regular basis, The Nielsen Company took a look at the audiences of two major players, Groupon and Living Social,  and what online couponers really want.

U.S. Audience Profile: Groupon and Living Social

Visitors to Groupon and Living Social are similar in that nearly two-thirds are female and more likely than the average U.S. Internet user to be affluent.  Living Social’s visitors trend slightly more affluent and more educated than Groupon’s with 46 percent having a Bachelor’s or Post-Graduate degree, compared to 39 percent for Groupon (the national average for Internet users is 25%).  Visitors to Living Social are also 49 percent more likely than the average American online to make $150,000 or more, while Groupon’s visitors are 30 percent more likely.

Although the audiences to both sites share a similar gender and socioeconomic split, there are notable differences in the age and geographic location of their U.S. visitors.  Groupon has a higher concentration of visitors aged 35-64 (57 percent compared to 51 percent for Living Social), with the Internet average being 48 percent. Living Social has a higher concentration of younger visitors with 21-34 year olds making up 33 percent of their audience compared to 25 percent for Groupon and 21 percent across the entire web.

While both sites offer deals in many cities across the country, Groupon is most likely to have visitors from the Northeast while Living Social has a high concentration of visitors in the South and Pacific regions.

What deals to offer?

To secure and to grow their slice of the consumer pie, it’s important for daily deal players to understand what their audiences want so that they can offer relevant deals.  Among adults online who visit Coupons/Rewards websites, nearly half are interested in gardening, while roughly one-third are interested in home repair/renovation, religious involvement and landscaping.  Other standouts include knitting/sewing (Coupons/Rewards site visitors are 19% more likely than the average adult Internet user to be interested) and gourmet cooking (18% more likely).

The Social Incentive

With sharing deals with friends an important part of the business model for many daily deal sites—Living Social gives a free deal when enough friends purchase from your link while Groupon offers a monetary credit for the same—it’s important to understand how consumers interact online, including their activity on social networking sites. Daily deal players might be pleased to know that adults online who visit Coupons/Rewards sites are not only more likely than the average adult online to have multiple social networking profiles (12% more likely), but also significantly more likely (33%) to post links, websites, articles and videos.

Visa Goes Mobile with Local, Real Time Mobile Deals and Discounts at the Gap

From Mobile Marketing Watch, April 2011

Credit card giant Visa announced Thursday that it’s working with prominent retailer Gap to roll out a new mobile discount experience to shoppers.

Based on the specifics announced of the partnership, Visa will push real-time discounts and promotions to consumers via SMS text messages.

Gap customers who opt-in to participate in the service are notified of money-saving discounts or promotions in real-time while shopping.

Visa’s global processing network, the company says, connects millions of merchants and thousands of financial institutions around the world. Consequently, Visa now has the ability to enable the technology behind this new mobile service.

The offering is part of Visa’s larger strategy to personalize the consumer shopping experience, and deliver more value to merchants and financial institutions to help them tailor their consumer marketing programs, driving business growth and efficiencies.

“Visa’s ability to process and analyze transactions in real-time provides the capability for retailers to reach potential customers while they’re out shopping and allows financial institutions to reward Visa account holders with value-added services tailored to them,” said Jim McCarthy, Global Head of Products, Visa Inc. “We have reached the point when the power of Visa’s global network goes well beyond processing purchases to delivering critical information that benefits consumers, merchants, and financial institutions.”

A Look at iPad Users: Apple Still Trouncing Android

From WSJ Blogs, April 19, 2011

Google Inc.’s Android might be the most popular smartphone platform, but if you add other mobile devices like tablets to the mix, Apple Inc.’s iOS beats Android in the U.S. by a wide margin — 59% to be exact.

That’s according to new data being released Tuesday by measurement firm comScore, which surveyed 30,000 users of mobile devices for the three months ending in February to arrive at its estimates.

The research found that Apple’s iOS platform — on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches – reached 37.9 million people, while Android reached 23.8 million, on phones and tablets.

“The finding is incredible because it shows that Android being the most popular smartphone is not the whole story,” said Mark Donovan, the senior vice president of mobile at comScore. “Publishers, developers and advertisers are trying to understand how to reach audiences, and the study shows that users are using a range of devices.”

ComScore also looked at the demographics of iPad owners, finding that 56.1% of them are men, and 49.4% make more than $100,000 a year. Ownership also skewed toward the younger set, with 27% of owners between the ages of 25 and 34.

The study also found that although iPad owners are more than Apple “fanboys,” they’re less likely to own BlackBerry or Android phones. Among iPad owners, 27.3% also have iPhones, while 17.5% have BlackBerry devices and 14.2% have Android phones. (The rest use other operating systems or have flip phones rather than smartphones.)

Among smartphone owners in general, 33% have Android phones, 28.9% have BlackBerrys and 25.2% have iPhones, according to comScore’s latest numbers.

“It’s difficult to say what that exactly means right now,” Mr. Donovan said of the fact that BlackBerry and Android users aren’t as likely to get iPads. “It can be that they are waiting for the [other tablets] or that they won’t be buying a tablet at all. We will have to wait and see what the data tells us in a few months.”

Digital and Very Social: America Women and Technology Adoption

From Jackie Bergeron, VP, Local Audience Insights, Nielsen

April 18, 2011

While men have historically been considered the earliest adopters and heaviest consumers of new technology, this perception does not tell the whole story. At the recent International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), Sabrina Crow, SVP & Managing Director for Media Client Services at The Nielsen Company, discussed how women are just as adept at navigating the new media landscape. The key difference is that women are utilizing new technologies in their own way. In particular, women are most likely to adopt new technology when it is social and relevant—that is, when it seamlessly improves their day-to-day lives.

With many tech products, females—especially younger women—are just as likely to upgrade their consumer electronics as males. A Nielsen survey on high-definition television (HDTV) purchase intent, for example, showed U.S. women aged 18-34 are just as likely to purchase the advanced TVs as men aged 35 and over.

An Economic Force
Technology companies who may have primarily focused on reaching men are missing the fact that niche female groups are just as valuable to marketers. Increasingly, and on a global scale, today’s women are heads of households and they are more educated, more diverse, and more integral to the labor force than ever before. And, they wield an enormous amount of purchasing power .

Engage on Their Terms – Make it Social and Relevant
These trends are especially important considering the evolving media landscape. While television is still the dominant medium, consumers are spending more and more time online and engaging with mobile devices like smartphones. Consumers are actively navigating their media options, and here too, women are displaying specific behaviors. On a social level, it’s no surprise that women talk and text on their mobile devices more than men. Nielsen data shows that women talk 28 percent more and text 14 percent more than men every month; they are also heavier users of social features of phones (SMS, MMS, social networking) compared to men who tend to use functional features more (GPS, email, Internet).

Online, women are more engaged than men, spending more time on fewer sites during a single sitting—a valuable attribute to advertisers. They also visit more social and community sites, which is especially important given the popularity of immediate online/social discussion during major TV events like awards shows and reality programming.

To connect with women, make it social and relevant. Women are much more likely to engage with media that seamlessly integrates and improves their day-to-day lives. For e-commerce marketers, this means women shop online primarily for necessities like groceries, health and beauty items, and clothing. Men, on the other hand, tend to shop online for more discretionary purchases, like music, consumer electronics, and tickets to concerts or sporting events. For television advertisers, this means women tend to watch specials and awards shows live so they can engage in immediate “community viewing” discussions. And they use DVRs to time-shift recurring series programming as they fit television into their schedules when it is most convenient and relevant to them.

While time-shifting is not as high among ethnic groups, we are noting important increases. Among African-American women 18-34, DVR penetration has exploded from 11.3 percent in February 2007 to 37.4 percent today. The same trend is also true among Hispanic women. In 2007, only 10.1 percent of Hispanic women 18-34 owned a DVR, but that number has now tripled, where DVR penetration has reached 32 percent as of February 2011.

Effective Pairing
The Nintendo Wii is a perfect example of a technology product that showcases the social and relevant elements needed to effectively attract women. According to recent Nielsen data, the Wii is the most popular gaming console among women, while men tend to prefer Microsoft’s Xbox. The Wii makes gaming more social by gathering families and friends to play in groups. The Wii is also relevant to women’s lives by offering a wide array of options that allow them to spend quality time with their loved ones while making fitness fun and functional.

As women continue to break misconceptions about technology habits, so too must marketers innovate to create meaningful campaigns that embody the unique way women consume media and technology. With an expanding piece of the economic pie, women are a prime and valuable audience, but only if you can appeal to their sensibilities.

Coca-Cola exec: Mobile connects offline to online world

From: By Rimma Kats, Mobile Marketer, April 15, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO – During a mobile session at ad:tech, a Coca-Cola executive said that mobile needs to be integrated organically into marketing campaigns to drive innovation and consumer experiences.

The executive shared best practices and examples of creative campaigns that have been executed to engage consumers on their mobile devices. The panel was moderated by Jeff Crowe, partner of Norwest Venture Partners, San Francisco.

“We’re all about a Coke in one hand and a phone in another,” said Tony Francis, a member of the global connections team and responsible for the strategic direction and integration of mobile within marketing communications at The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta. “Mobile is event driven, out of home and connects the offline to the online world.

“In terms of live events we do see higher participation,” he said. “Consumers really want to interact with our brands and really integrate compelling experiences into this.”

Other panelists included, Vijay Pullur, founder and CEO of SocialTwist, Mountain View, CA, Michael McDowell, manager of shopper marketing at Sara Lee, Downers Grove, IL, Dorrian Porter, founder and CEO of Mozes, Palo Alto, Brad Klaus, cofounder/CEO of Extole, San Francisco, and Michael Ceorgoff, director of partner marketing at redbox, Oakbrook Terrace, IL.

Case study
Coca-Cola ran a mobile campaign during the Essence Music Festival.

The three-day festival featured seminars and live music performances by speakers and artists in the African American community.

There were more than 40,000 attendees. Coca-Cola was a presenting sponsor at the event and was featured in a mainstage moment.

During the show, attendees were encouraged to text the keyword CELEBRATE then space followed by their first and last name to the short code 66937.

The company was giving away tickets to its BBQ event to the first 500 entries, as well as four VIP passes.

The company found that in 30 seconds, 3,145 people pulled out their phones for a chance to win.

Twenty percent of users that engaged opted in for an ongoing connection with the brand and 16 percent of the audience engaged with Coca-Cola digitally at the concert more than once.

“Roughly 16 percent of attendees participated and one in five opted in for an ongoing connection with the brand as part of Coca-Cola’s database connection to build their relationship with their customers,” Mozes’ Mr. Porter said.

“We learned that mobile worked really well around passionate people at live events,” he said.

Mobile phenomenon
According to Coca-Cola’s Mr. Francis, the company sees the value of mobile, especially since it is a highly personalized device.

“The mobile phone is a phenomenon,” Mr. Francis said. “It’s the new remote control of consumer’s lives.

“Mobile helps gets recruitment for us,” he said. “It gets people drinking our product, but only if we’re doing it right.”

“It’s important to drive innovation through mobile with digital vending, mobile wallets, mobile vaults and consumer experiences.”

Key insights from Aberdeen Group’s Webinar on Social Media for Retailers

Key Insights

  1. 85% of retailers have a social media initiative in place, but 44% have indicated they can’t quantify its effect. Another 26% say that they are using a “gut feel” measurement practice.
  2. As social media grows, 94% of all retailers are driving social media initiatives from marketing departments.
  3. Retailers have yet to make the leap from social media and social commerce. And social commerce means using hard-lined data on customers in order to sell. Right now, the marketing side of their social initiatives are not a top priority.
  4. 53% of retailers feel pressured to incorporate social media because of customer use.
  5. Smaller organization (Rev <$1B) focused more on social media monitoring while Large companies (Rev >$1B) deploy formalized enterprise wide strategy, of which monitoring is but one piece. But they operationalize it in Sales, Customer Support Etc.
  6. Top factors that contribute to success: Executive level support, dedicated team resources (including analytic resources), marketing execs regularly meet with customer to ascertain needs.
  7. 94% of retailers look to marketing department to drive social media ROI

Recommendations for Action

  1. Integrate analytics resources into social media initiatives to increase organizational visibility
  2. Embrace non-traditional social media tools for an increased competitive advantage. Go beyond facebook and twitter and look at things like document sharing, podcasting, etc. For electronic manufacturers, offering instruction books and warranty downloads which are visible to consumer at the time of purchase
  3. Monitor potential brand management threats to mitigate a negative impact on future sales. This is all about measuring consumer sentiment

Retailers turning to mobile to boost in-store sales

From Thad Rueter, Senior Editor, Internet Retailer

51% of retailers plan to adopt technology over the next two years that enables them to beam offers to the mobile phones of consumers inside stores, suggests survey data from market research firm Aberdeen Group.

The findings are based on surveys of 100 retailers, and are part of Aberdeen’s report, “The Customer Connected Store.”

About 40% of surveyed retailers consider personalization of in-store shopping to be increasingly important to their overall marketing strategy. Among the factors boosting the importance of those efforts include more consumers becoming accustomed to shopping via multiple channels, including online and mobile, and the desire to provide what at least one survey respondent called a user-friendly experience for busy consumers.

When it comes to personalization, offering promotions to specific consumer niches—for example, categories based on gender, ethnicity, age group, profession and interests—are a growing priority for retailers, with 22% of respondents already doing so, and 48% planning to. 24% of retailers say they have plans in place to offer exclusive sales, cross-selling opportunities and related promotions for specific customer demographic groups, while 41% of retailers plan to make such offers in the future.

The report urges retailers to focus more on the mobile channel to help boost in-store sales.

“Retailers will need to utilize capabilities including customer identification, location-based SMS messaging and wireless network upgrades to enable seamless mobile promotion messaging to store customers,” writes Sahir Anand, the report’s author.

The report also finds that while 24% of retailers enable shoppers to place web or catalog orders from inside stores, 36% plan to offer such services within the next two years. The report adds only 16% of retailers deploy kiosks inside stores to enable customers or employees to place those orders, but 34% plan to do so within two years.