Ramp Up Your Mobile Marketing Basics from Tablets to Smartphones

To make the most of mobile users, you can’t just copy and paste your desktop-focused Web marketing strategy for mobile. You will fail and you will lose out on the massive opportunity presented by mobile marketing. There is still a low amount of competition relative to the value of the mobile market. Here are tips to make the most of your mobile marketing strategy.

Account for the different intentions of Smartphone visitors vs Tablet visitors

When doing marketing for mobile users, you will be communicating to two distinct groups of users: smartphone users and tablet users. Both are valuable, but each have separate goals in mind.

A tablet user is what you can consider a “browser”. They probably have time to read, to investigate and to learn. You should be getting your value proposition across, showing them your high-res images of whatever you might be selling, getting them engaged further into your content.

Don’t expect them to fill out any forms or perform any work that would be frustrating on a tablet.

They are similar to desktop users, but instead, use their devices in the mornings and in the evenings rather than during regular working hours. What can be challenging about tablet users is tracking them from their tablet usage to their desktop or mobile usage.

A smartphone user is one focused on completing a task. A do-er. They tend to be on the move and are pulling their phone out to accomplish something specific. They usually know what website they’re going to and if they don’t they’ll be performing a quick search. The websites they come across will have to be easy to use or they will move on. When seeking local information, clickable phone numbers and location information are key to success.

Track mobile users

Luckily, Google Analytics works for mobile device users just as it does for desktop visitors. If a mobile user has cookies disabled, which is the case for many iPhone 4 users, then that visitor will not be tracked, just as a desktop user would not be tracked if she had her cookies disabled.

The hardest part about tracking mobile users is that they tend to use different devices for different tasks. They may use a tablet to do their research and then purchase on a desktop (where they feel more comfortable doing so). Tracking that same person from one device to the other is rather difficult. Even Google Chrome’s feature that allows a user to open a tab in one device that is already open in another doesn’t carry cookies with it (I tested this in GA).

If you must use a separate mobile website design with its own URL, create a separate profile for it in GA. To get a better view of whether visitors are seeing the mobile website or not, consider placing the mobile website at a unique subfolder like /m/.

Mobile SEO - rank well locally

Although there’s a lot of talk about how mobile is “changing everything”, mobile search engine results are very similar to desktop results. Mobile results simply have more of an emphasis on localization. For example, a search for a bakery on a desktop will show you a seven-pack of bakers in your city, ranked by reviews, along with six other localized results that rank organically (that are not already in the seven-pack). On a mobile device, you’re likely to see a seven-pack of bakers within one mile of your exact location, ranked by reviews, plus the nine websites that rank organically.

On a mobile device

mobile device search results

The same search on a desktop

desktop search results

The lesson here is that to rank well locally in mobile results, you need a) to be near where people are searching b) to have your local Search Engine Optimization squared away c) to be getting lots of positive reviews.

As always, Bing and Google are looking at ways of improving user experience. That means that if mobile users appear to be more likely to click on hyper-local results, then that’s what the search engines will show. If mobile users seem to, in unison, bounce back to the search result page from one particular website, then that website will probably not rank as well in searches conducted using mobile devices. On the other hand, if some websites that typically do not rank as well in desktop searches have great user experience (based on the data search engines can gather like time on site before bouncing back to the search result page), then those sites may have a shot at ranking better in mobile search results. A marketer recently noticed that some search results showed a small phone icon next to them to indicate that the website was mobile-friendly. This was a test being conducted by Google. Such explicit identification of mobile sites could mean that having a mobile site will become even more important, even sooner than expected.

In any case, all of the same rules still apply: optimize your website, get links, and make your website easy to use. Making a responsive website thus ensures that you have all of the same content on your pages without worrying about duplication issues and have an interface that works well on varying device types. This is why Google recommends responsive websites as the way to go for mobile SEO.

Another important thing to note about mobile search results is that there is a way to browse mobile previews of websites, as crawled by Google’s mobile crawler.

Google's mobile crawler


mobile preview

Smartphone search results on Google allow the user to browse by mobile previews of websites.

Some paid search strategies

As always, you’re going to want to create separate campaigns to target tablets vs smartphones.

Tablets get used most often at 8am, while commuters are on their way to work, then starting up again at 4pm and increasing from there up until 10pm, where it peaks. Here are some tips for pay per click marketing on iPads:

  • Test whether bidding higher or lower during the peak usage times benefits you.
  • Target more keywords that have a research intent behind them than you typically would on desktops. Most tablet users are not going to make a purchase anyway. So feed their need to research.
  • Set different conversion goals for tablets than you typically would for desktop users. For example, time on site, pages per visit, # of return visits are all good indicators that your paid search is working.
  • Use ads that explicitly state that your website works great on iPads (or any other tablets).
  • Make sure the site works well on tablets (obviously).

Smartphones get used on the move, based on the 63% of smartphone Internet access conducted via mobile data networks. That means users are acting fast, and need utility. Some smartphone tips:

  • Bid high. If your ad is not in the top 2 positions, then forget about it.
  • Use sitelinks religiously as mobile users are looking to get to the right info quickly. Don’t give them fluff either. Provide them with what someone who is about to take action would be looking for.
  • Use phone numbers and address info in ads.

Do you have any additional mobile marketing tips? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us @BFMweb


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Comments on this post

  1. This is a great article, very informative. The mobile search results topic is not something that is covered enough. Thank You

  2. i’ve always been under the impression that mobile phones never had ads untill i read it here.. I’ve been looking at them and thinking they were on position one when infact they were adwords ads.
    Silly me

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