Mobile ShopperThere’s no doubt that mobile search has had a groundbreaking year, gaining plenty of industry attention throughout 2012. Our Q3 2012 data found that search clicks on mobile and tablet devices accounted for 19% of total search clicks from June-August. At the same time, another trend has dominated the headlines in the retail industry as sales in physical high street stores have suffered, with well known offline retailers like Comet going into administration. Since 2000, online shopping has grown 7,300% (IMRG). The challenge for high street retailers has been driving footfall into their physical stores, as shoppers take to their laptops, tablets and smart phones to make purchases.

Mobile and In-Store Convergence

In December, these two trends will converge to create a huge opportunity for bricks and clicks retailers. Our Q3 Christmas Shopping Report for the UK identified that in 2011 mobile search clicks grew from 11% of all search clicks at the beginning of the festive shopping period in October, to 15% in December. As retailers were no longer able to deliver internet orders after mid-December last minute shoppers took to the high street, researching purchases on their tablets and mobile devices as they went.

This trend of high street shoppers using their mobile devices offers two scenarios for advertisers using mobile advertising in combination with a physical store:

  • People searching on a mobile device in your store or a competitor’s to find the best price
  • Consumers searching whilst walking the high street to find somewhere to buy a particular product

The immediacy and urgent nature of these two categories of searchers makes them of a higher propensity to convert, meaning they’re high-value customers to advertisers.

How Can Advertisers Capitalise On This?

An effective paid search mobile strategy starts by separating out mobile and tablet from desktop-targeted campaigns. This results in two significant advantages. First, ad position is far more critical on mobile devices where real estate is limited. To increase mobile traffic and conversions during the festive period, leverage position-based bidding to ensure that ads are delivered within the top three positions. Second, include location ad extensions to quickly point on-the-go mobile shoppers to your nearest store location. Furthermore, consider the use of voucher codes in mobile ads during this period to draw more attention to your ads and promote engagement. In-store voucher redemption will enable you to track the effectiveness of your mobile advertising in driving offline conversions.

Read more about the state of mobile search advertising in the UK and how the emergence of smartphones and tablets changes paid search, here.