Mobile Searchers Are 443% More Likely To Convert Than Desktop Searchers

I’ve been testing the performance differences between the various search networks (Google Search, Mobile, Search Partners, etc…) for some time now, and have been able to pull out all sorts of interesting stats. There are stats that I simply can’t ignore, like the conversion rates between desktop searches and mobile searches. What I’ve found is that people searching on mobile devices are on average four+ times more likely to convert into a customer than those searching on desktops.

In my research, I compared several different paid search accounts in various verticals. I used their volume of clicks and conversions as the metrics for this particular test, and I noticed across all 4 accounts had very similar conversion rates for mobile vs desktop.

Paid search from desktop users accounted for 94.4% of the click volume, where as paid search from mobile users accounted for only 5.6% of the click volume. In these particular examples, the amount of paid search clicks that came through via desktop was 261,644 vs. mobile at 15,649.

When we go beyond the click and look at actual conversions, the desktop campaigns drove 7,157 transactions, good for a 2.74% conversion rate. Not too shabby considering the competitiveness of these particular categories. When we took a look at mobile campaigns, we saw that of the 15,649 clicks we drove, 1,899 of them converted into a customer, good for a 12.13% conversion rate. The mobile conversion rate is more than 4 times better than the desktop conversion rate.

Furthermore, none of the clients used in this research have mobile versions of their sites. I wanted to keep these tests are similar as possible using desktop and mobile, so I’m not including things like click-to-call volume, which would likely skew the conversion rates even more towards mobile.

In my opinion, had there been optimized mobile experiences, we would likely have seen an even higher conversion rate than the 12.13% from the non-mobile sites.

When you get some time, check out the conversion metrics for your desktop campaigns vs mobile campaigns. If you see what I see, you might want to reconsider your search network budget split.


Joseph McConellogue


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The Importance of the Bounce Rate

A bounce rate is the number of visitors that arrive on your site, and only view the one page that they land on. First, the user is referred to a site by either typing in the domain name, or clicking through from a linking site, or finding a site via search engines, etc, then, never going past the page that they landed on. Essentially they’ve landed and “bounced” off.

A bounce rate is one of the most important stats in web analytics. It can act as an immediate red flag to let you know if your landing page is effective or not. If you have a high bounce rate (50%+), chances are your landing page isn’t as effective as it could be. A lot of times, webmasters have spent so much time optimizing their websites for search engines, that they’ve lost focus on what’s happening when people arrive at their site. Sure they’re driving more traffic to their site, but without knowing what percentage of people are visiting more than one page, it’s hard to determine if you’re driving quality traffic.

Bounce rate can be measured by just about every analytics platform available. Our preference is Google Analytics (free). After logging in to Google Analytics, one of the first things you’ll see on the dashboard is your bounce rate. The reason that Google has positioned it so front and center is because they recognize its importance. They want to help webmasters build content that allows people to find exactly what they’re looking for. When someone lands on a page and leaves right away, that usually means that the content on the site is not what they’re looking for, or it isn’t laid out in a way that shows them that this is indeed what they are looking for.

So, how can you fix a high bounce rate? I recommend identifying the pages on your site that have a high bounce rate (start with 75%+), and determine how these people are getting to your site. Once you’ve found all the sources of traffic to that page, see if there are common themes in the information they’re looking for. Once you know what these users are looking for, you can begin tweaking the content/layout on your page to be more in line with what they’re looking for. Don’t stop tweaking until you’ve seen your bounce rate decrease to an acceptable level. Acceptable levels for bounce rates are below 50%, if you have a bounce rate below 30%, you’re doing exceptionally well.


Joseph McConellogue

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Stop Reporting Numbers, and Start Reporting Stories!

Every action has a reaction.

Too often in web analytics, we see simple reporting, rather than story telling. If your reports are simply telling you numbers, then you’re leaving a lot of valuable information behind. Anyone over the age of 2 can tell you numbers. What you really need to know is what action was taken to cause those numbers? What is the full story behind them?

When you get reports, they shouldn’t just include graphs and charts about decreased or increased performance, you should also be getting insight as to why there was an increase or a decrease. What changes were made to drive the performance difference? A lot of times, changes will be made to a paid search campaign, but no one will ever know because it wasn’t included in the story of the reporting. This work goes unnoticed, and will hurt everyone in the long run.

I love to see reports with pretty charts and graphs, but only if accompanied by a story that tells me what actions were taken to drive the numbers. Instead of being told the same information in a chart, then a graph, then a summary, what we need to be told is what happened that caused those numbers? Were there any bid optimizations done on our paid search campaign? Did we add/delete keywords from our campaigns? Did we pause underperforming campaigns for pacing that could have impacted our ROI?

There is always a reason for performance changes. It’s up to the people managing your accounts to tell you exactly what was changed to drive that performance increase/decrease.

Next time you get a report that says “Click Through Rate increased by 0.25%”, without an explanation of why it increased by 0.25%, ask for it. You’ll learn from it, and your team will learn from it.


Joseph McConellogue

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Why Microsoft Should Buy RIM

Interesting development in the world of Google this morning. Google has announced that it is purchasing Motorola Mobility for a whopping $12.5 billion. That’s about one third of Google’s reported cash reserves and represents a huge step in Google finally getting into the hardware market. So what does this mean for RIM? Will we see consolidation in the marketplace, like we have in the past? Last time Google made a monster purchase (DoubleClick), we saw close to a dozen acquisitions of other ad serving companies. I think RIM is a great buy for a company like Microsoft, or Apple (more likely Microsoft), here’s why:

1. RIM knows the enterprise business. They’ve built their business on just that. Companies like Microsoft or Apple have been chomping at the bit to break into this space, and RIM could provide an easy in.

2. For Microsoft, Windows Phone 7 is just not doing it. It was a great idea, but it does not (and looks like it will never) have the mass market appeal that the iPhone, Android, or Blackberry phones have.

3. RIM is still very profitable. You can’t tell me that the shareholders of a Microsoft or Apple wouldn’t want to snatch up a company that is still as profitable as BlackBerry.

4. More so for Microsoft, RIM has a tablet. Right now, Microsoft does not build hardware or software for the tablet market. It’s very strange that a company like Microsoft has sat back and watched this happen. Acquiring RIM would provide Microsoft with an instant in with the tablet market. The BlackBerry Playbook sales have been sluggish at best, but it’s a way for Microsoft to enter the marketplace protect itself from the Apple’s and Google’s of the world.

The next few weeks/months should be interesting, to say the least.


Joseph McConellogue

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Golden Rules for Creating Effective SEM Ad Copy

From my experiences with writing and testing thousands of versions of paid search ad copy, I’ve come up with a list of golden rules to follow in order to make sure your paid search creative’s are as effective as they can possible be. When building out your paid search creative, be sure to follow these rules.

Include your keyword as much as possible

Let’s face it, with paid search ad copy, space is extremely limited. We only have 130 characters available to get our message across to our audience. If you haven’t already noticed, the major search engines will bold the keywords in your ad copy, if the keyword being searched is in your ad. This is a great way to help your ad POP out compared to competing ads. If you had your keyword 2-3 times in your ad, you are increasing your relevancy, and helping your at stand out. Here is an example:

Set up Ad Groups to contain tightly themed groups of keywords

When developing your account structure, be sure to complete a thorough breakout of keywords into their respective ad groups. It’s better to have many ad groups with small amounts of keywords, than having many keywords in a small amount of ad groups. This may seem daunting and will be somewhat tedious, but the payoff is well worth it.

You’ll be able to create extremely relevant ad copy for each one of the ad groups, including the ad group theme in the ad copy several times to increase your relevancy. Remember, increased relevancy means decreased costs.

Test several versions of ads

When creating ads, be sure to create several different versions of ads in each ad group. People respond differently to various messaging, so it’s important to have different messaging to evaluate which ads are better performers. Once you have enough data compiled for each ad, you can begin pausing/deleting underperforming ads. This also gives you a great opportunity to create new ads that possess all the top performing features of your best ads. Remember, if you’re testing new ads, you always want to try and make new ads that will perform better than your current best performing ads.

Be creative with your creative

Take a look at what your competition is doing. Many times the ads on the results page will not differ much from ad to ad. This becomes a great opportunity to try something that your competitors aren’t doing. Try something different. What can you do to make your ad stand out? I recommend that you try at least one ad in each ad group that is completely different from the rest, and see how it works out. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Utilize your display URL

Because we have such a limited number characters to use, we need to use as much of the space as we possibly can. Utilizing the display or vanity URL gives us another opportunity to include our keyword in our ad. As long as the root domain is the same as your landing page, you can put basically whatever you want after the “/”. Because this piece of the ad is only a display url, the landing page won’t actually be what’s displayed, so feel free to add in your keyword after the domain. This will also increase your relevancy. Here is an example:

Include “Official Site”, ©, ™

I’ve found that a great way to increase the CTR’s on your paid search ads is by including “Official Site” in your headline. This helps add credibility to your ad. This is especially effective if run on your branded terms. Also, often times if someone is looking for a product, and you have a well recognized brand, using © ™ and Official Site will help increase the CTR of your ad. Here is an example:

paid search ad copy official site

Test Dynamic Keyword Insertion

A great way to increase CTR’s is by including dynamic keyword insertion in your ad copy. DKI will take the keyword that the user is searching, and actually place it in the ads, and bold them so your ad becomes more relevant, ands stands out. It’s important to test 1 or 2 ads your ad groups and measure the difference in DKA vs. non DKI ads. Be careful where you place your DKI ads, because you don’t want a use misspelling a keyword and then having the misspelled keyword included in your ad. Also, don’t use DKI on your branded or competitive terms. Try and keep those ad groups DKI free.

CAPITALIZE the first letter of each word in your ad

Another tried, tested and true way to increase CTR’s on your ad is to ensure that the first letter of each word is Capitalized. This is a best practice technique that typically helps your ad stand out amongst other companies. You can typically expect a slight increase in CTR’s, and you should ensure that every single ad you run always has this applied to them.

That’s essentially it for my golden rules for writing paid search ad copy. If you have any comments/questions, regarding the golden rules for writing paid search ad copy, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line @


Joseph McConellogue


Filed under For Beginners, search engine marketing

What is Social Media? A Quick Social Media 101

Recently, I was lucky enough to sit down personally with the CEO of one of the world’s top advertising enterprises to chat about his view on the role of search engine marketing. It was made very clear to me that search engine marketing although great in many ways, will not be the elephant in the room forever. Instead of focusing all of my skills on converting a customer from a search engine, or learning how to generate awareness via broadcast, I was empowered to look laterally from where I currently am as a digital marketer and explore all the areas of marketing online. I was influenced to treat online marketing not only as a combination of display and search campaigns, but as social media opportunities as well. After our chat, I began to research social media, and this is what I’ve found out (so far).

Social media is a support for the human desire to interact with others. It has enabled people to transform and blossom from content consumers into content creators. The internet is giving people the opportunity to voice their thoughts, and giving brands the opportunity to connect with those people to address those thoughts.

Companies are using mediums like blogs, forums, twitter, etc to find and listen to their customers. They’re mining for conversations around their brands and products so they can understand their customers, measure interest in their products, evaluate satisfaction levels, and the list goes on. When companies tap into these conversations, they can be proactive with customer service, learn more about the behavior of their customer base, and continuously retarget their brand to the customer.

Social media is also a great way to gather competitive intelligence. Companies can use blogs, forums, Twitter, etc to mine for conversations around other brands, just as they do for their own brand. They’re using this data to further understand their target markets views on the competition. Think about the value of knowing exactly what users like or dislike about a competitor’s product, then applying it to your product. Or imagine being able to tap directly into your competitors client base. It’s free data; all you need to do is find it.

This all boils down to expanding our minds to not only generating intent, and capturing that intent, but also continually interacting with our target market before, during, and after they’ve interacted with our brand, all without being intrusive or irrelevant.


Joseph McConellogue

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Filed under For Beginners, Internet Marketing - General, Social Media

Don’t be a Tool, Just use them! The Search Engine Query Report

In the edition of Don’t be a Tool, Just use them! we’ll be discussing the Search Engine Query Report.

It’s often difficult for search engine marketers to find time to be proactive when optimizing campaigns. Like any marketing job, it’s important to ensure that our clients’ needs are addressed and that their campaigns continue to improve. Because search is still relatively new, and most digital marketers are green to setting up search, it’s hard to find experienced staff, thus leading to more clients, campaigns, reporting, etc for each campaign manager. In this blog, I’m going to discuss a tool that allows you to be proactive in optimization, that won’t take up much of your time.

This tool is the Search Engine Query Report tool in Google AdWords. This tools primary purpose is to identify and display actual keywords that triggered your ad. This is particularly handy if you’re running a campaign with lots of broad matched keywords. Not only does this tool allow you to expand your current list of keywords, but it also allows you to build a list of negative keywords that you don’t want your ads appearing for.

The benefit of this tool is that instead of having to go into AdWords Editor, and uploading new keywords, you can simply click into the campaign of choice, select the “keywords” tab,click the  “see search terms” button, and add the keyword instantly to your ad group. You typically should select the start/end date for as long as possible to you can see as many actual queried keywords as possible.

You also can build out a strong list of negative keywords by using this tool. Because you can see actual queries that triggered your ad, you may notice that there are keywords that are irrelevant to your campaign, and a waste of your budget. You can use this tool to identify those terms and add them to your negative keyword list. Some examples could be the broad matched keywords “Shell”, or “Dell”, or “Bell”. Because this keyword is on broad match, it could be displayed if someone typed in “Sell”, or “Buy and Sell”. You can see how this would become a problem. The term “sell” is searched so often, and is so irrelevant, that it would be a complete waste to have Shell’s, Dell’s, or Bell’s ad appear. Building your list of negative keywords will increase quality score, click through rates, decrease CPC’s, and ensure your ad is only appearing for relevant searches.

Thanks for reading,

Joseph McConellogue

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Filed under Don't be a Tool, Just use them!, search engine marketing