Every year since 2005 has been dubbed "The Year of Mobile," and 2010 is no different. It gets you thinking about what might be different in a world where mobile devices are two times more prevalent than desktop.
What does this mean for search? Do apps replace traditional searching by segmenting the marketplace? Do apps even have a long-term shelf life as HTML5 begins to make the web more applicable to mobile? Time will tell.
But we're definitely seeing an increase in phone calls from search campaigns. This has created a larger importance for two things: unique campaign phone number call tracking and click-to-call placements.
Google has been running click-to-call for mobile specific campaigns for a while now, and recently the same beta has shown up in desktop searches.
Making a phone call becomes a more likely solution to users' conversion demands as they begin to combine devices and surf the web via their phones. This is even more important because users may have a difficult time completing purchases via shopping carts on a mobile device.
We've seen call volume increase by 96 percent from January to April for some of our advertisers. This is meaningful and shouldn't be overlooked.
Here are a couple of considerations when thinking about how call volume impacts your business.
You might think that having a phone number in your ad will hurt your quality score because the CTR will be lower if people call before they click. However, we've seen that having a phone number in the ad drives an increase in CTR and phone calls.
Consumers give credence to the phone number being in the ad. This gives some comfort to potential customers that the business is real, and any concerns could be addressed.
However, it's an online medium, and the expectation is that users will research, or convert online; therefore they still click through. We're seeing about a 10 percent increase in CTR on average.
Not all keywords, ad groups, or campaigns will drive the same amount of calls. The volume of calls isn't the same, just as the conversion rate of those calls isn't the same.
The only way you can have insight into this is by applying unique phone numbers, and tracking those calls through to resolution. There are several solutions for this available, and Google is also making numbers/tracking available through Google Voice.
Unique Number Following the Consumer
A unique number in the ad is great, but how do users respond when calling from the ad, landing page, and inside the app? It's important that you understand where the call volume is coming from during the conversion funnel.
Many consumers may not expect to call until they hit a roadblock within the conversion process. Do your paid search consumers hit the wall more frequently? Is this different with branded and generic terms?
These considerations will become increasingly important as advertisers assess the value of their paid search campaigns. Each level of data, and conversion channel you provide consumers, gives you the ability to win in a competitive marketplace.
All the other questions about what will happen with mobile will evolve over time, but phone calls have always been occurring, and are increasingly important.
Join us for SES Toronto June 9-11, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. The event will be packed with sessions covering topics such as PPC management, keyword research, SEO, social media, local, mobile, link building, duplicate content, multiple site issues, video optimization, site optimization, usability and more while offering high-level strategy, big picture, keynotes, an exhibit floor with companies that can help you grow your business, networking events, parties and more.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!