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Mobile search: Go local to succeed globally

Mobile-webAs the web becomes more complex, so does the role of the search marketer. The explosion of the mobile web has certainly introduced a range of new challenges and considerations for marketers, especially those working internationally. With mobile usage exceeding desktop usage in many global markets, having a website and search campaigns that are mobile compatible and optimised has never been more important.

Stanislas di Vittorio, CEO of eSearchVision, will be sharing tactics for managing cross-device search on an international scale and ahead of the event he shares a few of his thoughts on international and mobile search.

What do you see as the biggest challenge currently facing international marketers?

The biggest challenge is the increasing complexity of the ways in which internet users access the web. Extra non-PC screens are in use now all over the world. In addition, the device mix varies enormously from country to country as well as the sorts of activities for which users employ these devices. But the stagnation of desktop web use is being contrasted by exponential growth in mainly mobile devices so marketers have to figure out ways to make ads work well and to measure success.

What impact has the growth in mobile search had on international campaigns?

From a purely selfish, resources-based perspective, it is adding much more work for campaign managers because you have to duplicate campaigns; one campaign may become three, four or five depending on what you are trying to do.

The other big issue is where maybe certain shortcuts like setting up mirror campaigns on numerous markets were something you could get away with, different markets have different device mixes and behaviours so you need to expand into multi-screen intelligently.

Ironically, it boils down to international campaigns having to get more “local” if they want to beat the competition.

As more and more users are searching across multiple devices, how should marketers be adapting international campaigns to avoid missing opportunities?

Clearly, we are past the point where you can have a single campaign set to “All devices” and hope to get the best out of it. Setting out duplicate campaigns (with customised bids) by device is the absolute minimum to give you both the insight and control you need. However, never be afraid to subdivide further – by operating system, by day of week or time of day. Performance can vary enormously between iOS and Android, for instance, so be prepared to cater for that for phones and tablets. Beyond that, it depends on your business and what it could benefit from – additional localised geo-targeted campaigns can reap rewards for bricks and mortar businesses, for example.

In addition, be very flexible with budgets so that each quarter or so you can expand your presence in the non-PC space, device ownership of which is growing at about 100% every six months.

Finally, change your approach to measuring activity and see the value in measuring actions that demonstrate engagement short of a “conversion” such as watch a video or downloading a PDF file or app.

Are there any markets that are particularly challenging and/or unique when it comes to mobile search/strategy?

In principle, there is no single market that is especially challenging as such, just as there is no such place as an “easy” market – or if there is I have not been told about it! Just, I think, understand that market X will almost certainly have significant differences to market Y, as I have mentioned earlier. Even if the basic marketing message in one market would work in another, you still need to customise how you implement multi-screen marketing to each market.

The European market for mobile is perhaps the most complex because it involves so many languages (not least several countries with multiple languages) and people are now crossing borders more often than anywhere else. This means that you need to follow an Italian speaker searching in Italian in Rome and six hours later is searching in Italian in Nice.

The picture internationally is so mixed that ultimately, nothing is a silver bullet other than thorough research and hard work.

The International Search Summit will take place on 26 November at the Business Design Centre in London. Speakers include State of Search founder Bas van den Beld, Andy Atkins-Krüger of Webcertain, Shahid Awan from Cheapflights and Majestic SEO’s Dixon Jones.

Passes are still available.

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Gemma Houghton

Director of Marketing at Webcertain
Gemma has worked in international search marketing for over 15 years and is Director of Marketing at Webcertain, overseeing all marketing activities for the Group. She also organises and programmes Webcertain’s International Search Summit and International Social Summit, Barcelona-based conferences focusing on international and multilingual digital marketing. Gemma holds a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Diploma in Management and Leadership from the Chartered Management Institute, and a BA joint honours degree in French and German.

2 Responses to Mobile search: Go local to succeed globally

  1. […] you’re interested in reading more, Stanislas was sharing a few insights here on the site into multi-screen strategies on a global scale ahead of his presentation at the International Search Summit in […]

  2. Matthew A. Hart says:

    Some great tips here on optimizing your mobile content for the international market. One thing I’d like to pick up on that Stanislas highlighted is the importance of localization. Like Stanislas said, clearly we are past the point where you can have a single campaign set to all devices, and it’s great to optimize your browser for multiple mobile operating systems however I would argue that one more step needs to be taken. Mobile apps are a quickly making up a large portion of how consumers interact with brands online. In fact recent studies sugest that the vast majority of mobile users said they use their apps to expose them to new things or as a personal assistant. Many even identify as being addicted to them! By creating localized apps for your target markets you allow yourself to connect more intimately with your consumer than you would from a mobile browser, this means a more productive campaign in the long run.

    If you want to learn more about global mobil localization via apps, read my blog here: http://blog.lionbridge.com/marketing/2012/09/18/the-importance-of-being-mobile/

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