Mobile Search: Why is the location of the user valuable for advertisers?

Location in general is valuable for advertisers because it allows them to add to their marketing efforts information that extends the traditional targeting from an approach based on who the target market is (age, sex, income, etc), to an approach linked to the physical coordinates of the business.

Location is valuable because it complements the WHO with the WHERE with regards to the target.

The real surge in targeting based on user’s location (geo-targeting) has been possible thanks to the evolution in mobile telecommunications technology and the high penetration of smartphones (mainly through GPS enabled systems that allow advertisers to pin point accurately the user’s location).

What unique specifications do mobile devices offer that make them extremely attractive for advertisers?

Mobile devices are the most intimate personal devices ever built (as well as a powerful computers).

  • They are always carried by users, and always on
  • They can collect target data and campaigns can be measured and tracked in an effective manner (increased ROI)
  • Mobile devices, through the use of social media companies that operate Location Based Services can fully utilise the social aspect of media consumption

Consumers rely heavily on their mobile devices to browse for information and search for things close by that they want or need (a restaurant, a gas station or a 24hour hair saloon). So this has become a great opportunity for advertisers who can use Search Engine Marketing to engage the mobile consumers while they search and browse content on their mobile devices (Google refers to this as “Small screen. Big opportunity”).

Advertising planned with regards to location has always been important to local businesses or local branches of global businesses. In the same manner as radio proved in the past to be a great media channel for local retailers, location-based advertising in mobile devices is also very important for local and global advertisers as it can reach the consumer near the point of sale.

So what is Mobile Search marketing?

Forrester defines mobile search marketing as the process of using mobile search engine results to increase the visibility of a company, its brands, or its products. This is done through SEO, paid search advertisements, or contextual listings. In Paid search the ads appear beside related mobile search results or across mobile content.

According to eMarketer, mobile search advertising is projected to grow almost 60 percent to $295 million by the end of 2011
In one year, the growth in mobile search ad spending as a percentage of total search ad spending has increased dramatically

And how is Mobile Search Marketing different from online (or desktop) search?

Although the overall philosophy remains the same, traditional web search is created around the popularity and relevance of a web page, rather than the popularity and relevance of a place.

There are certain things that we need to bear in mind when we adapt online search to mobile search. These things relate to the specific nature of  a) the mobile device and b) the underlying behaviour of the mobile consumer.

a)    Search Marketing with regard to the mobile device

Smaller screens means less space to show organic results and paid ads and so

Mobile Searches return fewer results and less text-per-link in the results page.

Smaller keyboards also generate shorter search queries than with traditional PC-based searches and will need to be customised for “large finger syndrome” by improving navigation on smartphones through search engines.

b) Search marketing underlying behaviour of the mobile consumer

Mobile consumers generally access the web when they need a quick answer and mostly related to things in the vicinity (As Eric Schmidt mentioned in the 2010 IFA show in Berlin:“1 in 3 queries from smartphones is about where I am). They are driven more by specific goals normally with a short-term time constraint (i.e. nearest hotel).

This means that Search for mobile needs to adapt from its online/PC origins in the following ways:

Ads should be location-specific and place extra importance on actionable keywords that are time sensitive and linked to the brand/business.

So what can advertisers use location in Mobile Search for?

 Boost Brand awareness and consideration (branding in mobile advertising outperforms online advertising branding according to Insight Express, 2010)

  • Through increased visibility
  • Through word of mouth recommendations from current customers
  • Through partnerships with local businesses

Increase preference and customer acquisitions

  • Through use of targeted promotions, discounts that can enhance loyalty
  • For the same reason radio is a Check-ins at “places,” rather than just map coordinates, makes the data valuable for targeted advertising and context-aware advertising

Improve engagement in advertising near the point of sale

  • Smartphone rich advertising formats increases user experience in relation to local advertising

Improve customer conversions (such as increasing foot traffic to the business or selling more of one particular item).

But the benefits of location-based advertising don’t affect only the advertisers.

Consumers profit from more relevant and tailored messages and as well as useful information (such as a telephone number, opening times, reviews, etc) when they search for a product or service with local implications.

Consumers benefit from more relevant and quick responses to search queries. These benefits, tied to the personal attachment that consumers have with their mobiles show a more balanced and constant use during the day and week than with the desktop counterparts

That’s all for now.

Take care amigos,


(post finished to the tune of  “78 stone Wobble” by Gomez)