By Rob Weatherhead, Head of SME Operations, Latitude Group

Research carried out by Latitude Digital Marketing has unearthed some interesting trends within the mobile search marketplace. When reviewing data for Q2 we were confident that the PPC traffic through mobile on Google would surpass Bing PPC traffic and in Q3 we saw that materialise. At Latitude we’re seeing Google PPC traffic now at around 4% of PPC traffic, almost double Bing. Not the kind of stats that Microsoft will want to see ahead of the search alliance in the UK with Yahoo next year. This makes mobile search something anybody involved in search engine marketing should be considering. And with much of the search volumes from mobile devices coming from localised queries SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) should be looking to maximise this opportunity and lead the way in a world traditionally dominated by large budget.

Historically SME’s have focussed their time and efforts on Google and often ignored bing and Yahoo as they are time poor working and the volumes of business available didn’t merit the additional time commitment. Now Google’s mobile search volumes have eclipsed those available through bing this is a trend which is likely to continue but as mobile rises, and given the local nature of many SMEs, this channel will become one which their time will be well spent on.

The nature of mobile search leads to a much higher proportion of search queries being focussed on the user’s immediate locality which plays into the hands of the SME business owner. A mobile searcher is far more likely to be searching for a florist in their immediate vicinity than for financial products and services which are the traditional high spending PPC markets. Many mobile searches are also often for emergency type services such as garages or breakdown services, again the domain of the local SME.

With click-through rates better on average through mobile (1.32%) when compared to online searches (1.1%) mobile is certainly a channel that SME businesses should be maximising as part of their search marketing activity. And with the new mobile ad formats of “click to call” and expandable map ads SMEs are able to play on the benefits of their locality and generate calls directly into their business rather than relying on web enquiries.

There is a long list of best practices that must be considered when setting up and optimising for mobile, ranging from mobile website builds to relevant & targeted mobile ad copy and this will represent a challenge for the average SME. But given the growth rates and rapidly expanding smart phone market the effort should be more than justified by the returns generated.

To find out more about the growth of mobile search take a look at Latitude’s Q3 Mobile PPC Report.

Join us on