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Jared Hamilton
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Tim McLain

Tim McLain Senior Marketing Manager

Exclusive Blog Posts

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Mobile marketing captures shopper spontaneity

Smartphone and tablet research “closes the loop” on traditional marketing outreach

Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users

A recent study from Google and Ipsos OTX MediaCT makes several bold predictions for mobile marketing this year:

  • 1 billion people will soon use mobile devices as their primary Internet access point
  • 1 million small businesses globally will build a mobile website
  • Smartphones will prove exceptional at driving new consumer behavior
  • Tablets take their place as the 4th screen of most consumers
  • “Mobile driven advertising spend” will emerge as a big category
  • The ROI on mobile campaigns will increase as a result of unmatched relevance of customer proximity to retailers in target markets
  • The intersection of search, display, mobile and social will spark dramatic new forms of engaging consumers


We’ve all done it: In a moment of boredom (watching TV, reading a newspaper or waiting for our kids to finish practice) we pull out our smartphone and start searching for a product or brand.

Whether we’re in the market to buy today, or just starting a new research phase, our smartphones have become our digital butlers, our personal researchers, our concierge.

Factor in ever-cheaper tablets (the iPad is no longer the sole choice of price-conscious consumers), and it’s clear that dealerships must be easily found via all device types when the mood strikes to conduct research.

New research from Google1 highlights the opportunity: Nearly 70 percent of surveyed consumers started shopping research on a smartphone, 61 percent started on a personal computer (PC), and 4 percent started on a tablet.

However, 57 percent of the time those surveyed said they were using a smartphone while using another device ­– 28 percent with a PC, and 29 percent with a TV.

The opportunity for dealers is clear: We’re living in a multi-screen world. No matter which device your customers reach for, mobile research activity “closes the loop” on all of your marketing efforts.

Today, digital marketing turns local research for your brand, models, inventory and services into emails, chats, phone calls and foot traffic in your rooftops.

Most importantly, I’ve seen mobile campaigns that deliver click through rates that are twice those of PC-targeted ads. Even better, a properly segmented and targeted campaign can deliver mobile clicks that cost about half an equivalent PC click. This is reflected in a recent Covario study released late last year.2

Are you ready to be a first mover in the mobile marketing revolution, or are you poised to be road kill on the information superhighway? Your first step in answering this question is to do a little research and plan your strategy accordingly.

Netsertive Mobile Marketing

Why should I focus on mobile marketing?

According to analyst firm BIA/Kelsey, there may soon be more local Internet searches coming from mobile devices than personal computers.2

This trend can be attributed to the rise in the total number of smartphone users, set to grow from 44% of U.S. subscribers (118 million in 2012) to 75% (225 million by 2016).

Plus, Google’s latest data shows that smartphone search volumes are growing faster than search on the PC – local search accounts for 20 percent of queries on PC’s; it’s 40 percent of all mobile queries. Talk about a sea change!

What does my site look like on a mobile phone?

If your website looks great on a PC, the chances are high that it will look fine on a tablet. Tablet users tend to be more research-oriented than their smartphone counterparts.

iPhone and Android users, however, tend to be more interested in finding and buying within hours of conducting a search for a local dealer using keywords with purchase intent.

So focus on how your website looks when its viewed on a smartphone. Reach out to your website vendor to get current visitor data (analytics) to see how many customers are using mobile devices to connect to your site today.  

This will give you the data you need to put a timeline on adapting to the new mobile reality and planning your attack strategy.

Next, use your smartphone’s Web browser to conduct searches for your store name, as well as your brands, models and other top moneymakers (fixed operations?) Examples: volvo dealer, volvo dealer dallas, ford f150, bmw, civic, camry, oil changes, auto repair, tire sale.

Are you visible, showing up on the very first visible screen in the first three to four positions?

How are your competitors showing up? Read their ads, click on competitor search results, and view their mobile websites. You’ll quickly get a feel for the competitive landscape, and uncover weak spots in your local digital footprint.

Finally, ask yourself: Is it time to reach out to an online marketing specialist who knows your business, as well as the latest search, display and mobile strategies to help you deeply penetrate your local market online? (Ask your digital marketing vendor about your “share of advertising voice” or impression share. Are you getting your fair share of Net attention?)

How do I make a mobile website?

While your website may be legible via a tablet, chances are it has not yet been optimized for smartphones. Consult with your website vendor to see if mobile templates are available, and at what cost.

You can quickly and easily create a free mobile site (no fee for one year) using Google’s partnership with Dudamobile at

With a few clicks you can convert your standard website to a clean, clear mobile version using a variety of customizable templates. Automatic site syncing ensures that changes made on your store site will be automatically updated in your mobile version.

How do I advertise to mobile customers?

If you’re advertising today with Google AdWords, the chances are good that some of your ads are showing up in mobile searches. In fact, turning on mobile device targeting can be easily accomplished inside your campaign settings.

That said, do not fall into this trap. You should not be running the same search and display ads, in the same way, and targeting both PC’s and mobile devices inside the same campaign.

A better mobile advertising strategy is to segment your campaign to specifically target “on the go” customers who are in the market to buy from you within hours of conducting a search. This means writing and designing mobile-optimized search and display ads with clear calls to action that contain a trackable phone number, and more.

Your goal should be to have a high impression share with mobile users in your target market. You also should be efficiently driving mobile customers to a mobile website at the best possible cost per conversion.

Doing your own mobile campaign will take time and expertise, but it’s worth the effort. An elite vendor partner with the most training from Google and other media partners can most effectively set up and proactively manage a campaign to deliver top results all month long.

In future posts, I’ll share my top tips for how to write and design mobile search and display ads to drive maximum results. I’ll also show you how to define conversions on all device types to boost your return on investment, and apply analytics to mine your campaign data to report on sales impact in your dealership.


1 The New Multi-Screen World - Google

2 When Will Mobile Local Searches Eclipse Mobile? - BIA/Kelsey Media Watch

3 Q4 2012 Global Paid Search Spend Analysis - Covario


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