In addition to reverse-engineering Google's Local Search algorithm, we Three Deepers are always looking for more venues for expanding our reach for our local business clients, especially with Adwords.  I have been particularly intrigued of late by Google's iPhone search application and how it pertains to local search.

If you haven't read about it yet, the basic premise is that you open the iPhone app, hold it up to your mouth and say your search term.  Google recognizes what you say and automatically ties what you say to your geographic location (using either triangulation or GPS) and then returns search results based on where you are located.

While evaluating this application, I noticed that there were no advertisements on the search app results, or the Google search results on my phone.  Not having ads on the results pages was great for advertisers with strong organic search rankings (and especially those who had top 3 listing in the onebox), but it was a negative for PPC advertisers who wanted to push their way up to the top of the results.  I knew it was only a matter of time before Google would start allowing advertisers to place AdWords ads on these results pages (remember, it's AdWords revenue that made the iPhone app FREE to users in the first place).

Today, Google announced exactly that; you can now display AdWords ads on certain mobile phones.  Thankfully, they even allow advertisers the option to "opt in" to this service! (something they failed miserably with on with SearchWiki).  I am interested in testing this new option with our local search clients (and will be opting several accounts into this service tonight).

There are, however, some caveats that we must take into account when considering opting clients in to this service (or for you DIY search marketers reading this blog, things you must account for on your end).  Here is a profile for what types PPC programs should be using AdWords for mobile phones:

  • Branding Campaigns - Does the client want to be in front of people searching for certain terms on their phone?  This is a great opportunity!
  • Local Businesses - Clearly this is a key opportunity for local businesses.  Be sure to clearly list your phone number, though, because most mobile visitors will NOT fill out a contact form.  As always, make sure this phone number is unique to this campaign so that you can quantify the value of these ads.  You should never run ads without closing your CPA feedback loop.

One area where I'm not quite sure that mobile Adwords will be successful is for e-commerce sites.  I haven't read any recent studies on the topic, but I am pretty sure that a very low number of e-commerce transactions are actually conducted via a mobile phone.  This will surely change in the next few years, but I am not sure that these types of ads will bring a positive ROI in the short term (unless you can tie this out via an exit survey in your call center or online).

I'd be interested to see if any of you readers are experimenting with Mobile AdWords ads.  Please comment below if you are!