Mobile Marketing—It Ain’t Your Mother’s PPC

three black smartphones

Look anywhere in our industry and you’ll find people discussing mobile—how to market to the mobile consumer, how to display inventory on a mobile device, how to deliver coupons on a smart phone—the list goes on. Mobile activity is heating up for good reason; a 2011 Google Smartphone user study shows mobile searches

will make up 25 percent of all searches in the world this year. Perhaps an even more jaw-dropping statistic is that 60 percent of users conduct mobile searches before buying a product. Half of those who see a mobile ad take some action, with 35 percent visiting a website, and 49 percent actually making a purchase.

With all of this interest around mobile, we spoke to some of the dealer-members in our network and industry experts we rely on for answers about the difference between building search and PPC campaigns for mobile users versus desktop users. What we found is that there is a wide divide between the two. Everything, from the intent to the call-to-action, is different. Mobile users search differently than desktop users; so, search campaigns need to be built differently from the ground up.

Read on for some tips on the differences between these two highly customized ways to target and reach customers:

User intent

The intent of a mobile user is much different than traditional desktop users. Studies and usage statistics have found the mobile user is looking primarily for local company information in order to take action: driving directions, company contact information, and quick data. While desktop users are more willing to drill into content, mobile users are on the go and need access to information quickly.

  • Mobile searches show more local intent, with the average user seeking phone numbers, directions, or location information.
  • Mobile users want to find the information they’re looking for quickly—usually within two clicks or less.
  • Mobile users don’t like to scroll; if you’re not listed in one of the top three positions you have a much lower chance of being found. (This is why running a pay-per-click campaign for mobile devices can make so much sense.)
group of people

Optimization and search

When optimizing keywords for mobile search it’s important to remember that in mobile, the shorter the keywords, the better.

  • The average mobile search has 20 percent fewer words than desktop searches.
  • A typical search term is about 16 characters in length or less, making keywords much more valuable in mobile.
  • When optimizing lead generation campaigns, it’s best to keep keyword strings short versus most desktop keyword strings, where long-tail keywords can pull in relevant traffic; think brevity.

In mobile, speed often beats relevancy.

Pay-per-click campaigns

  • Mobile pay-per-click results vary a great deal from desktop pay-per-click results. For example, there are only two paid positions above the organic results and none to the right.
  • If you’re not in the first couple of results, a user may not even see your advertisement. Ad bids in mobile should be slightly higher to make up for the loss of real estate on mobile devices.
  • Keywords must be more targeted and shorter in length.


As stated before, because many mobile users are looking for contact information, the call-to-action should be specific on a mobile device. An easy way to create high conversion rates can be as simple as employing the Google “click to call” button. With this tactic, mobile users find your business and just click on the button for an instant connection. To quote Google’s Zero Moment of Truth eBook, mobile is “not ‘the wave of the future’ any more—it’s right now.” It’s clear that people conducting mobile searches overwhelmingly take some type of action, so take the time to build your mobile site and mobile PPC campaigns effectively. The result will be higher conversions for you and a better experience for your customers.

Jesse Biter is the cofounder of Dealers United, An upcoming deal offered through the company is expected to include Search Engine Marketing. To become a member of Dealers United at no cost, visit

Cody Larson


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