It was a year ago, a day after May the Fourth, when Google first announced the thing that search analysts have been anticipating for years – mobile exceeded desktop in the search. It wasn’t by much, but it did happen sooner than everyone thought it would.
Two years ago, ComSource released this chart, which made the rounds in SEO circles:
This graphic shows the data that proves the inevitable rise of mobile search (with a 5% increase year-over-year). But, simply looking at this data, one would think that the changing of the guard would happen after a full calendar year instead of the two quarters it actually took.
Making Google Mobile Moves
Now, there’s some debate on whether the above data was accurate or not. Perhaps we’ll write a blog discussing how Denver SEO experts measure this kind of data and how to analyze it, but that’s for another time. For now, our focus is on how Google responded to the data after the conclusion of the analysis.
Google, like everyone else, saw what was going to happen with mobile and took deliberate steps to take advantage of the shifting landscape. This is why (in addition to mobilegeddon); the company announced a number of new product updates for AdWords across three verticals on mobile.
A strangely convenient notice, considering they first officially confirmed the mobile passing desktop search news in the same event. Makes one think about the kinds of things Google knows…
The Mobile Car Focus
Conspiracy theories aside, these product updates include ad format initiatives for the automotive, hotel, and mortgage industries. Automotive quickly became the most prolific of the three, partly because of the influence of the industry on American culture and economy. But, it’s also because 50% of car searches happen on mobile.
An average car buyer spends 15 hours online learning about the newest models, and comparing them to similar vehicles on the market. That’s a lot of time spent on the search for cars, and it’s only going to increase through the years. Google wants to capitalize on that traffic, and make the experience better for everyone involved.
When users search for anything about a car on their phones, for example, the ad will include an image carousel of the vehicle’s interior and exterior. Users can swipe through these image ads, and even tap them to see more information on the cars. The beta for this project looks like this:
Chrysler was the launch partner for this project, but now the search engine has announced that the feature has fully rolled out for all original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in the US.
The Auto Mobile Boost
So far, Toyota and Ford were the only big players that have been able to report any feedback on the effectiveness of the features. The Japanese company in particular said that their conversion rate increased to 45% because of the automotive ads.
This is big news for car manufacturers, but it’s even more significant for dealers. There’s an argument for big car makers probably not feeling much of a benefit from Google changing their search format. But, local businesses will need all the attention and potential for conversion they can get. Denver search engine marketers with automotive clients should be all over this feature, since their campaign is probably hinging on it.
Where These Ads Really Matter
The dealer automotive ads include locations, directions, and a click-to-call button right at the top of the SERPs. When a user searches for nearby dealers, they’ll see something like this:
This all sounds great, but isn’t this feature different from the automotive ads albeit related? That’s absolutely right, but Google integrated the dealer ads into the automotive ads.
If you’ll take a look at the automotive ad image above one more time, you’ll see a “dealer” button on the bottom right of the ad box. That button automatically links to the dealer feature, and displays car dealers in the user’s area.
Google has effectively cut out most of the steps users have to go through to find the car they want, and the dealers they want to buy from. Dealers can potentially double their conversation rates by using these ads, but they’ll need the help of people who know how all of it works. Fortunately for our partners, we have such a team, and they’ll be able to see results sooner than they think.