While it’s ironic that my first guest post on Search Engine Journal would be due on the eve of one of the most highly anticipated product release press conferences of the year, it’s the other rumors coming from this company that excite me the most. Today, it is rumored, that Apple is releasing their iTablet / Slate / Dinner Plate portable computing device at their Press Event (watch it live on Engadget starting at 10 a.m. PST). Yeah, I’m excited about the possibilities that an Apple Tablet bring in the form of making me an even lazier marketer and the ability to consume even more information on a daily basis. But until this form of computing is adopted by the masses, I don’t think this single device will dramatically affect the conversions of most marketer’s landing pages or PPC campaigns.
However, there are two tiny other rumors that might dramatically impact how PPC spenders may get business done in the next year. Recently rumors of Apple’s recent rifts with their technology partners Google and AT&T have been causing lots of speculation within the technology industry. While it will not happen tomorrow, it is almost expected that Apple will announce sometime this year that their exclusivity contract with AT&T is up and the iPhone will be made available on Verizon’s network. This would open up the smart phone, and the App store, to Verizon’s established user base of 90.2 MILLION current subscribers. This is a HUGE opportunity for Apple, and one would be a fool to think they aren’t thinking about inking a deal with Verizon.
It is also rumored that they are having marital issues with Google, which isn’t too hard to believe seeing that Google has released a product directly aimed at stealing some of Apple’s market share. What is interesting is the speculation of the possible aftermath to happen if the separation becomes final: will they release their own search technology or will they partner with their once mortal enemy Microsoft? The next moves will be interesting for sure.
What does this mean for PPC?
Whatever happens with the giant mobile manufacturer and its relationships, one thing is for sure: the future of PPC is in mobile advertising. If you are a PPC buyer, or even thinking of starting in the PPC game, you need to have mobile ads on your mind in a big way. Here’s a short checklist to get your mobile PPC game plan ready.
1 – Start With The User
Create a landing page specifically for mobile users. Plain and simple. If you have never experienced your landing page on a smart phone browser, borrow someones phone and take a look at it. As an alternative you can also test your lander on a mobile emulator such as Opera Mini’s Simulator and TestiPhone.com. How was the user experience? Did you feel prompted to take the call to action you created for your user or did you just want to GTFO? Was the page rendered for native viewing on the device, or was it a case of multi-touch zoom and scroll that nightmares are made of? Was it easy to enter all data required, or did your form of 50 required fields suddenly seem a lot more tedious than it does on a desktop workstation? These are some pretty heavy questions that can make or break a PPC campaign for a mobile device. If if you aren’t buying mobile PPC yet, take a look at the types of browsers being used in your analytics tool or weblog analyzer and you may be surprised at how many mobile users are already visiting your pages. Get a mobile version of your site ready as soon as possible.
2 – Extend Current Media Buys
If you already have a history with Google Adwords or Microsoft Advertising, leverage that relationship to get started with mobile advertising. The reps of both companies have been working hard at preparing tools and resources for mobile advertisers knowing this was the future of marketing. Contact your rep, let them know you are interested in mobile advertising and ask for some direction. The materials and advice they give you directly are worthwhile and can potentially save you time and money in preparing a campaign and testing. With their help you’ll be able to create new PPC campaigns exclusively for mobile traffic within your existing accounts.
3 – Advertise Within Apps
Recently Google acquired AdMob, a PPC and display based advertising network within mobile apps and mobile pages. Eventually it is expected that AdMob will be integrated into the AdWords platform, but in the meantime you can still create an account and get started within their network. Ironically, Apple also acquired a mobile ad network: Quattro Wireless. While it’s still undetermined whether or not Apple will combine their new advertising company with their app developer community, any advertiser can still get in and create an account. There are several other advertising networks out there, some focus specifically on certain smart phone platforms than others, but if you get up and running with AdMob and Quattro, you’re reach will extend into the majority of the mobile user base.
4 – End With The User
After all your campaigns are setup and running, test and test again. Test different ads and optimize your conversion page. See Rule Number 1.
As a PPC marketer, it’s easy to dismiss mobile ad buys. I know, I did it. But with margins beginning to shave and click costs still on the rise in the current PPC ecosystem, it would be very smart for marketers to prepare and adapt in advance of the upcoming shift in PPC user behavior, instead of waiting until the last minute and trying to play catch-up to those who already evolved. Traditional PPC will always be around, but the mobile space will be the larger play in PPC marketing within the next 5 years. Bank on it.
Jason Murphy is the Director of Search Marketing at LeadFlash.com, an Inc. 500 company that specializes in finance and education lead generation. You can also follow Jason on Twitter and Facebook or his blog.