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Google offers best practices for engaging mobile shoppers

Consumers are becoming more dependent on using their smartphones as shopping tools, giving brands and retailers an unprecedented opportunity in terms of ramping up their mobile search efforts to drive more sales. 

Google claims that 79 percent of smartphone users in the United States have used their device to help with the shopping experience. A whopping 74 percent of shoppers that have used their devices as a shopping tool have made a purchase.

“This means that having a mobile strategy is key when engaging with these tech savvy, connected consumers,” said Anna Khesed, a member of the mobile ads marketing team at Google, Mountain View, CA. “And this is especially true for advertisers focused on driving online and in-store conversions.”

To help develop a mobile commerce strategy, Google has come up with the following best practices for driving smartphone users to purchase.

1. Extend online brand reputation to mobile with seller ratings
Having a great online reputation is essential to driving online conversions, per Google. With seller ratings on mobile, brands and retailers can extend their online reputation from desktop to mobile devices and leverage the power of the mobile platform to drive conversions on the Web.

The seller ratings extension lets mobile searchers to see merchants who are highly recommended by other shoppers.

By showcasing relevant and useful rating information for a business, the extension can help differentiate that brand from its competition and guide potential customers to purchase from its site.

In recent studies, campaigns with mobile seller ratings saw a 7.5 percent increase in click through rates when compared to campaigns without this extension.

Seller ratings are aggregated from merchant review sites all around the Web and the extension will only show when a merchant’s online store has a rating of four or more stars and at least 30 reviews.

2. Take customers directly to the desired conversion path with mobile ad site links
Ad site links enable direct navigation to specific pages of a Web site. Since navigating on the mobile Web can still be difficult, site links for mobile can be especially useful in taking customers directly to the desired conversion path on a site, per Google. 

For example, with site links brands can quickly guide customers to the best selling products on their site or to an online store locator.

Mobile users find this format particularly helpful and on average campaigns with mobile site links see a 30 percent increase in click through rates when compared to campaigns without site links.

Right now a maximum of two site links can appear on mobile devices with ads displaying two links across one line or stacked vertically on two lines.

One-line site links can show with the click-to-call phone extension and will display one link to the Web site alongside the brand’s phone number. One-line site links can also show with the seller ratings extension and will display the company’s online store rating as well as two links to its Web site.

The quality of a brand’s ad will determine which variation of mobile ad site links will show. Two-line site links typically show for higher quality ads.

3. Drive customers in-store with offer ads
Running an in-store promotion? Brands can get the word out and incentivize customers to visit their store by placing a coupon right into their AdWords ads.

Mobile ads with offers enable advertisers to include special deals in their mobile search ads, allowing users to store coupons via email or SMS. 

Ads also display the brand’s phone number or business location on a Google Map for Mobile so that customers have everything they need to go to the store, redeem the offer and make a purchase. 

4. Click-to-call ads for easier contact
Ensure that customers can easily connect with customer service by including a business phone number in mobile search ads.

Since users who make a call are showing interest in a brand’s product or service, they are more likely to make a purchase.

With a call costing the same as a click to an ad,  this is a very cost-effective ad format for driving quality leads and conversions for a business.

Final Take
Google’s take on mobile search