mobile search marketing innovations

4 Mobile Search Marketing Innovations Retailers Should Adopt Now

The mobile revolution we’ve seen sweeping the world has had a far-reaching impact on the way we communicate, travel, shop, you name it. Year-to-date, CommerceHub clients have seen a 225% increase in year over year mobile sales on Google on an increase of 202% in spend[1]. Clearly, organic updates such as mobile friendliness, apps, and enhanced mobile pages have paved the way for consumers who are buying products on mobile devices in ever greater numbers. With the push to what Google calls a “mobile first world”, you don’t want to be the last to know about upcoming AdWords changes and the increased emphasis on certain mobile-centric programs.

Here’s everything you need to know to be prepared.

Device Modifier Bidding – Desktop and Tablet Get a Divorce

mobile search marketing innovations

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2014 was the year that mobile usage started to exceed desktop usage. Seeing that this trend has only grown since then, along with some other factors, Google now allows you to set a base bid on any device (such as mobile). You can also set bid modifiers ranging from -100% to +900% for desktop and tablet users. This means you now are able to target your bidding on the device that matters most to you, and have the ability to bid more freely and accurately based on where your customers are shopping and converting.

This also makes it easier optimize your return on ad spend on desktop, tablet, and mobile. Across our clients, we see that tablets bring in 29% lower returns than desktop sales[2].  Since desktops and tablets have been tied together with the base product group bid, we have been limited on levers to optimize our return on tablet devices. With this change, we can now set and adjust a bid modifier on tablet to increase our return.

Why this matters: With this change you will be able to more efficiently spread ad spend budgets across each device type. You’ll no longer need to balance out tablet returns by being overly efficient on the other devices to meet or exceed your goals.

Ideally, this will help even out your return across all three devices.

Expanded Text Ads – Text Ads Are Having a Growth Spurt

mobile search marketing innovations

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With their eye firmly on the mobile market, Google recently announced major changes to the most fundamental building block of PPC marketing – text ads. The new, expanded text ads will allow advertisers to provide additional details about their product offering in text ads. You now will be able to create two, 30-character headlines (up from one, 25-character headline) and one description of up to 80-characters (up from 70 with the current two lines of 35-characters each).

Quick fact: According to Google, one out of every three consumers switch the brand they buy based on the information provided in text ads the moment they search.

This means you’ll now be able to get the right message in front of your potential customers in real-time as they search for information. This will now allow you to either sell more to current customers or attract new customers who switch brands in the moment.

The other big change is that you can add two paths to the display URL instead of just one. This will allow you to create more specific, targeted ads that can lead to an increased click through rate. During Google’s early testing phase, some advertisers saw increases of up to 20% in click through rates (CTR). More recently, according to Google, CTR for Guitar Center’s non-brand campaigns have doubled and one of L’Oréal’s brands has seen a 92% increase in CTR with the new mobile ad formats.

Why this matters: More detail allows you to give consumers a better picture of your products and offerings. One thing to think about here is perceived value.

Tactics like adding calls to action, creating a sense of urgency with scarcity-oriented copy, or simply adding the right adjectives to your ad copy can all dramatically increase your perceived value and click through rate. Standard text ads require you to pick one or the other.

Furthermore, you will not be able to create or upload standard text ads starting October 26th, 2016, but they will still show online. Because of this, we strongly encourage to start experimenting with expanded text ads.  

Promoted Pins – Google Maps and Brands Had a Baby

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Recently, Google has been testing ads in Google Maps. One of the new formats Google has announced is promoted pins, which aims to bridge the gap between offline sales and online search. With this new product offering, advertisers can pay for their logo to show up on Google Maps, both on desktop and mobile searches.

Along with this change, local businesses are going to be able to upgrade their business pages using Google My Business. Consumers will be able to see any exclusive coupons being offered by the company and even glance though product inventory before entering the store.

Why this matters: There are millions of people who use Google Maps.

Having a pin with your logo show when consumers are searching for relevant products or stores near them will significantly increase your visibility and help to drive in-store traffic and sales from people on the go.

Lastly, even if some people don’t immediately come in to your store, they will know who you are and may convert into future customers. 

Local Inventory Ads – The Golden Child

Local Inventory Ads (LIAs) have been a godsend for retailers with brick-and-mortar stores. Local inventory ads bridge the online-offline gap, offering brick and click retailers the chance to go truly omni-channel. By targeting shoppers based on their location, they increase the likelihood of walk-ins and conversions in-store.  A case study done by Google found that since Sears started using LIAs last year, they saw a 122% increase in in-store visits and a 16% increase in click through rate compared to only using PLAs. Furthermore, for every dollar that was put in to LIAs, Sears made eight dollars from in-store sales.

mobile search marketing innovations


Another feature that Google is testing related to Local Inventory Ads is the ability to filter shopping results to show only those products available near the customer’s location. Consumers now have the ability to leverage Google Shopping to see which local stores have the products they are looking for.

mobile search marketing innovations



Why this matters: LIA case studies have demonstrated an increase in CTR, ROAS, and in-store traffic. Think of LIAs as enhanced PLAs. They are typically served when the item is available both online and in-store, and are highly relevant to the modern consumer who is looking for something near them and now.

With this shift, companies that do not take advantage of LIAs have a good chance of losing impression share and sales.

Go Forth and Flourish!

Consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices to shop for and purchase products. We at CommerceHub have seen mobile demand on Google grow from 11% of total demand in 2015 on 19% in spend to 31% of demand in 2016 on 37% of spend[6]. On top of this, there is an increasing desire among consumers to be “in the now”. Businesses need to be able to provide highly relevant information consumers need to evaluate a purchase the second they search for it. Being prepared and leveraging these new and existing search marketing offerings promise to increase sales (both online and offline), keep you ahead of your competitors, and show the world that you’re ready to rock.



[1] CommerceHub customer data 2016

[2] CommerceHub customer data 2016

[3] Google Shopping June 2016

[4] Google Shopping June 2016

[5] Google Shopping June 2016

[6] CommerceHub customer data 2016

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