Searchers shift to smartphones; advertisers follow

iProspect’s first quarter, year-over-year (2014/2015) Google AdWords data showed strong growth for smartphones in terms of both impressions and clicks. More and more brands are beginning to see the value in mobile investment, and are therefore willing to bid more frequently and aggressively. Consistent growth across all key metrics for smartphones indicates that searchers have made the shift to mobile—and advertisers are following their audience.

When combined, smartphones and tablets now make up 30% of overall impressions and  46% of clicks. In categories like retail, consumer electronics and travel, performance on computers and tablets is down year-over-year, while smartphone performance is skyrocketing.

Driving much of this activity and shift is Google’s focus on mobile.  Their latest algorithm updatewidely dubbed “mobilegeddon”, went into effect April 22, 2015 and impacts all mobile searches in all languages.  Essentially, it means businesses need to ensure a seamless experience and easy access to information on their website, regardless of the device the visitor is on.

But ultimately, advertising success comes from focusing on people and understanding their behaviors versus focusing only on device targeting. In today’s complex search landscape, we need to understand why people are searching as much as how they are searching. Understanding the context helps predict the exact moment a consumer will have a need your brand can fulfill, so that you be there to meet them.

Here are some things advertisers should do now to maximize second quarter performance and prepare for a strong finish in 2015:

  • Bid actively in search auctions to attract new customers.
  • Focus on a mobile-first strategy, especially if your customers are Millenials or younger.
  • Run test campaigns in other performance-based environments such as Amazon, Pinterest, and Twitter, and measure incrementally.
  • Use quieter months to run tests in your core channels so you can make data-driven decisions for peak season campaigns.
  • Explore how you might use new ad types, extensions, and channels to gain access to new audiences.
  • Test reengagement campaigns using remarket- ing lists for search ads (RLSAs).
  • Review your feed data structure to ensure the requisite compatibility that allows search engines to deliver the most up-to-date information to your audience.
  • Review last year’s performance, analyzing the data to get a solid understanding of what worked, what didn’t, and why.

In iProspect’s 2015 Q1 Paid Search Trends Report, we dig into the data and analyze what it means for advertisers today.